If you are considering studying in Canada, luxury student residences, safety, and the Canadian lifestyle are most likely on the top of your mind. Many studies have consistently ranked Canada as one of the best places to live. According to the US News & World Report, Canada emerged 2nd runner-up as the best country in the world in 2018 and 2019. The major reasons for the high ranking are high life expectancy, access to quality education, and low crime and violence rates, among others.

Lifestyle in Canada

Population

Canada has a large land mass (the second largest country in the world by land mass) that comfortably accommodates a population of about 36.7 million. So, who are Canadians? Given the country’s colonial history, it follows that most people who live in Canada have European descent (French and British). There is also a sizable population of Canadians of Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Asian, Caribbean, and African descent, making the country truly multi-ethnic. Canada is also home to First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and Inuit aboriginals. There are over 260 ethnic groupings of people living in Canada, meaning wherever you come from, you will most likely find someone who looks and talks like you.

Canadian Values

Given the over 260 different ethnic groupings of people in Canada, it follows that Canadian ways and religious beliefs vary from one person to the other and one region to the other. However, the people in Canada do have some important shared values. The most notable of these are a belief in diversity and equality, respect for all, and pride in the country. These values are what make Canada known as peace-loving, secure, and friendly.

Quality, Affordable Education

Canada’s education is recognized as one of the world’s best, from elementary to post-secondary levels. The educators are highly trained and bring diverse perspectives to their classrooms. At universities, 2 of every 5 academics have at least an international degree. 11 of the top 250 universities in the world are in Canada. Canada has some of the lowest university tuition fees in the developed world. Whatever your budget is, there will be something for you. The cooperative work system gives you real-world skills. The typical co-op is about 4 months in your field of study each year. In addition to the co-op system, students are also allowed to work about 20 hours per week, either on campus or outside. You can also apply for up to 3 years Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PWPP).

A Welcoming Community

Canadian life is “warm and friendly”, mostly because of the diverse population and cultures. You will feel right at home in Canada, from small towns to urban centers. You can participate in different festivals to broaden your worldview, from Diwali to Christmas and from Holi to the Chinese New Year. Studying in Canada increases your chances of immigration success.

Canada Living Standards

Canada has a high standard of living. In 2014, the country’s GDP per capita was about 52,000 U.S. dollars, one of the highest in the world, and the GDP growth rate was 2.2%. It also has a high life expectancy with an average age of 81.2 years, making it among the top 20 countries in the world. Canada has a low unemployment rate which stood at 6.6% in 2018. Some of the leading industries are mineral, wood and paper products, food products, chemicals, and oil, with the country’s oil reserves being third after those of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Vibrant Campus Life

Campus life in Canada is very vibrant. Universities organize different events, parties and festivals for students. Universities also offer various extracurricular activities, from sports to club activities.

Tech Wave

Studying and living in Canada allows you to ride the country’s tech wave. The digital media, telecoms, video game, aeronautical, and biotech engineering industries are strong in Canada. All schools and libraries are linked to the internet through the SchoolNet program, and about 90% of all Canadian households are connected to the internet. According to Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) statistics, Canada ranks second when it comes to the average time spent online per user (41.3 hours per month).

Government

Canada has a federal parliamentary form of government. It is a constitutional monarchy under Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen is represented by the Governor General of Canada, but the day-to-day running of the government is done under a Prime Minister. The country is only third after Norway and Denmark regarding political stability. It is also one of the least corrupt countries in the world. Canada is one of the founding members of NATO, the United Nations, the G20, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Trade Organization.

The Provinces

Canada is made up of 3 territories and ten provinces. The territories are Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon. The 10 provinces, from east to west, are Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. With a population of less than 40 million and such a large land mass, the population density is 3.9 people per square kilometre, one of the lowest in the world. The most populous cities as of 2018 were Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary. Most Colleges and Universities are in these cities.

Geography

Canada is located in the Northern Hemisphere, in the upper half of the North American continent bordering the United States. Given its proximity to the North Pole, most of the population lives along the southern border, which has more favourable weather. Canada is as picturesque as a country can be. It has vast mountain ranges such as the Rocky Mountains, Torngats, and the Appalachians, over 2 million lakes, and much more. The 3,058 KM long St. Lawrence River is the most important River in Canada, providing a seaway for ships from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. With Canada’s geographical diversity, it follows that there are many outdoor activities to engage in whenever you want to take time off from school. Notable attractions include Prince Edward Island’s pristine beaches, fjords in Quebec, Niagra Falls in Ontario, mountains, national parks, prairies, and forests.

Climate

The climate in Canada is as diverse as its population. The North has a harsh arctic climate, but it is mostly uninhabited. The southern part of the country, which has most of the population, has four distinct seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Most of the Universities and Colleges are located here. Southern summers are usually longer than Northern summers and are characterized by temperatures averaging 20ºC from mid-June through mid-September, high humidity, and light to moderate rainfall. Southern winters are moderate due to the effects of the Great Lakes, but temperatures of -25ºC and heavy snowfall in some places are not uncommon. Spring temperatures are moderate.

Language

English and French are the official languages in Canada. About 59% of the population speaks English as the first language, compared to 23% who speak French as the first language. About 18% of the population has at least 2 mother tongues or a mother tongue that is neither English nor French. The other commonly spoken languages in Canada are Chinese, Spanish, Punjabi, Tagalog, and Arabic. The most common Aboriginal languages are Inuktitut, Cree, and Innu/Montagnais. The Federal Government, through the Official Languages Act, has several programs aimed at supporting the development of the 2 official languages.

Safety

Is Canada safe? Safety is one of the biggest concerns for students studying overseas as well as their families. Canada is one of the safest countries in the world. However, this is not to say you should not follow common sense safety precautions. You have primary responsibility when it comes to your safety in Canada.

Crime Statistics

So, how safe is Canada? The crime rate in Canada has come down since 2000. The 2020 crime rate was 30% lower than the 2003 peak, while violent and property crime rates also dropped by 23% and 39%, respectively, during the same time period. According to the CSI (Crime Severity Index), the seriousness or severity of crime has also gone down. Recreational marijuana was recently legalized in Canada, which is expected to decrease drug-related crime. The homicide rates in Canada are low at 1.95 homicides per 100,000 residents, compared to 5 homicides per 100,000 residents in the United States. However, Canada’s rates of car theft and burglaries have been higher than those of the U.S., but even these are on a decline and currently stand at 205.64 and 361.83, respectively, mostly due to the deployment of more advanced anti-theft technology and the general decline in crime rates.

What to do in an emergency

Should you witness a crime, a fire, or an accident, call 911. This is the central number to get all emergency services in Canada (the police, the fire department, and ambulance services). If you do not speak English or French, an interpreter will be provided for you. If you find yourself in a robbery, do not fight or argue and if you are assaulted, try to raise the alarm. If an attacker asks for your wallet or purse, throw it and run away in the opposite direction. Report all crimes to the police, no matter how small.

Transportation Safety

Whenever you are travelling around Canada by bus, familiarize yourself with the routes and schedules. Switch seats if you are uncomfortable or if someone is harassing you. At night, alight as near your destination as possible to reduce the distance you have to walk. Taxis are also a popular way of travelling around Canada, especially when it is getting dark. Taxis in Canada have running meters that will show you the cost of the ride. When using a taxi, ensure you have the name and telephone number of the taxi company. Some of the popular taxi companies in Canada are Uber, Poparide, Kangaride, Carma Carpooling, and Lyft.

Safety while walking

Avoid the current trend of walking with headphones or earphones on, as this may distract you from hearing what is going on in your surroundings. You should always walk in busy, well-lit areas. Avoid walking in isolated areas like alleys and parks. If you are not comfortable walking alone, find someone to walk with. Most Canadian universities and colleges have “safety escorts” and other services to assist students who are walking around the campus at night – take advantage of these services.

Safety while drinking and partying

Different provinces have different legal drinking ages – confirm your province’s age before you indulge. You will need a passport or an ID to enter a club or bar. It is advisable to go into bars and clubs with friends. Avoid driving when you are drinking and accepting rides from strangers – take a taxi or ensure there is a designated driver with you. Do not take or be in possession of drugs as these may land you in jail in Canada.

Apartment Safety

As few people as possible should know where you live, whether you are living in a dorm room or an apartment building. Refer all inquiries to the building manager unless it is maintenance or a delivery. Always lock the windows and doors, even when you are in the room. Always peek through a peephole before you open the door for someone. Take the initiative to know your neighbours as they may help in case of an emergency.

The ARC student housing community offers convenience due to its proximity to campuses, community, world-class amenities, and much more.