The animation industry is one of the most rapidly growing areas of the entertainment industry, and many prominent entertainment companies now produce some form of animated content. As a result, demand for highly-qualified animators is rising across the world.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for special effects artists and animators is projected to grow 5% by 2031.
If you are considering pursuing a career in animation, then consider getting a degree in animation first.
There are many benefits to attending an excellent animation school, such as the incredible intellectual and artistic growth and enrichment that rigorous academic programs provide.
It is also worth noting that the typical level of education for entry-level jobs in animation is a bachelor’s degree, so going to animation school will more than likely open up many more career opportunities for you.
The career outlook for animators may indicate that there are many jobs, but there is also a lot of competition.
It can be stressful deciding consequential to your future as to which animation school to attend, especially since there are so many different factors to take into consideration.
On the bright side, there are many fantastic options out there, some of which are located in Canada. There are many reasons students choose to attend animation school in Canada, and the country has a great selection of prestigious universities that offer stellar animation programs.
The following list is intended for those interested in learning more about what the Great White North offers prospective animation students.
Here are our picks for 10 of the best animation schools in Canada.
Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art, and Design (Toronto, ON)
Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art, and Design is an entertainment arts university that specializes in preparing students for creative careers.
Since the school began in 1996, it has established itself a strong reputation in the Toronto area for producing exceptionally capable professional animators, artists, and other creative professionals.
The school offers a four-year animation diploma program.
Over the course of the program, students learn the fundamentals of both classical and computer-based animation, as well as production.
Upon completion of the program, students in Max College’s animation diploma program are masters of not just the practical skills involved in animation, but also the professional skills that securing a job in this field requires.
These include learning to write a strong resume and cover letter, creating an online profile page, and building a substantial portfolio.
Emily Carr University of Art & Design (Vancouver, BC)
The Emily Carr University of Art and Design is the only university in British Columbia dedicated exclusively to the arts, media, and design, offering a wide array of programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and certificate levels.
Intended to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of creativity, animation, and production, the 2D and experimental animation program trains students in both traditional and digital animation.
It boasts a unique approach that blends hands-on, experiential learning opportunities with critical academic study.
Designed to prepare students for innovative careers in animation using emerging technologies, ECU’s 3D animation program consists of extensive training in animation techniques such as lighting and rendering.
The 3D and computer animation program is the only bachelor’s program of its kind in British Columbia, making ECU the ideal choice of art school for students interested in this area of animation.
Ontario College of Art & Design (Toronto, ON)
Established in 1876, the Ontario College of Art and Design University — more commonly known as OCAD U — is the largest school for studying media, design, and the arts in Canada. It is also the third-largest professional school for art and design in the entire continent of North America.
Since its founding, OCAD has become a highly-esteemed school for the arts, graduating numerous notable alumni who have led prominent careers in the animation industry.
One of these is George Dunning, filmmaker, and animator best known for directing the Beatles-inspired 1968 film Yellow Submarine.
There is also Richard Wiliams, a celebrated animator and voice actor who received two Academy Awards for his role as an animation director on Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
OCAD U’s undergraduate program offerings include the bachelor of fine arts in experimental animation.
Sheridan College (Oakville, ON)
One of Sheridan’s faculties is the Faculty of Animation, Arts, and Design (FAAD), the largest school for the arts in Canada.
FAAD has an excellent reputation among art schools in Canada.
In fact, the school’s alumni have received an impressive 75 Emmy nominations and 19 Oscar nominations.
Many of the school’s graduates have gone on to work on major films such as How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Toy Story 4.
The school’s animation offerings include one-year graduate certificate programs in four different areas. These are visual effects, game level design, digital creature animation — technical direction, and computer animation.
Vancouver Institute of Visual Arts (Vancouver, BC)
The Vancouver Institute of Visual Arts — also known as VanArts — is consistently ranked among the top 10 schools for animation in the country.
In fact, in 2022, VanArts was named the second-best university in Canada regarding the best animation training programs by Animation Career Review.
Animation programs at VanArts include the one-year diploma program in 2D and 3D character animation.
The program is divided into four terms, the first of which primarily covers the history of animation and fundamentals of the craft, such as life drawing skills, physics, timing, and spacing.
Another animation-related program VanArts offers is the game art and design program. Students in this program learn all the necessary skills to produce an authentic, fully functional game, from character design to computer programs and more.
University of Laval (Quebec City, QC)
Established by a royal charter by Queen Elizabeth in 1852, the University of Laval is a public research university with an extensive history of excellence in the arts.
It is also the oldest French-language university in all of North America.
The school offers over 550 different academic programs, including several solid choices for prospective animation students.
One of these is the bachelor’s program in animation art and science, which heavily emphasizes the technology side of animation.
In addition to its focus on innovative new techniques in the industry, the animation art and science program also allows students to develop their artistic talents across various areas of study, with a curriculum covering aspects of video game production, filmmaking, 3D virtual environments, and so much more.
York University (Toronto, ON)
For students seeking undergraduate animation programs, York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design offers a bachelor of arts in digital media.
Offered through collaboration with the Lassonde School of Engineering, the digital media program prepares students for careers in digital media, mobile application development, game design, and any other emerging occupations popping up at the intersection between technology and the arts.
Students in York U’s digital media program learn how to use computer programming and coding as creative implements, gaining highly marketable, interdisciplinary skills along the way.
York University also offers students the opportunity to gain real-world professional experience in the digital media industry through its Technology Internship Program.
Capilano University (North Vancouver, BC)
Founded in 1968, Capilano University is a public university specializing in teaching.
Animation program offerings at the college include 2D animation and visual development diploma, a two-year program offered by Capilano’s School of Motion Picture Arts.
The School of Motion Picture Arts at Capilano U also offers a two-year diploma program in 3D animation for film and games.
Both of these programs are designed to prepare students for careers in the modern animation industry by providing extensive training in the latest technologies.
The 2D animation program, however, more heavily emphasizes traditional animation and related artistic skills, such as drawing.
The 3D animation program, on the other hand, focuses on visual effects, character animation, 3D modeling, rendering, and the other technical skills required in film and game production.
Seneca College (Toronto, ON)
Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology is a public college with two campuses, one of which is located in the Greater Toronto Area and the other in Peterborough, ON.
The college is home to the highly-esteemed School of Creative Arts and Animation, which offers various undergraduate, graduate, diploma, and certificate programs with different full- and part-time options.
For animation students, Seneca College offers an advanced diploma in animation. Students in this three-year program study both 2D and 3D animation.
The program’s curriculum was developed through an innovative approach the school calls the Seneca Animation Model, which emphasizes interdisciplinary studies.
University of Toronto (Toronto, ON)
Established in 1827, the University of Toronto is one of the world’s leading public research universities, with a total enrollment of nearly 62,000 students across its three campuses in St. George, Scarborough, and Mississauga.
The Department of Arts, Culture, and Media at the University of Toronto has a studio art program, which can be taken as a major, minor, or specialist program.
Intended to get students prepared to work a wide range of different careers in the arts, the studio art program helps students develop both their creative and technical skills.
In addition to animation classes, students in the studio art program take courses across many areas of art. These range from traditional forms of art such as painting, drawing, sculpture, to modern mediums like photography, videography, and new media.