Come for the culture, stay for the opportunity to change the world. No matter what field students are interested in, there is a place for any student in Toronto.
There is plenty to do in this bustling environment. Students can enjoy international cuisine, sports arenas, landmarks, history, various types of architecture, and events like the Toronto International Film Festival.
Colleges in Toronto frequent the top-ranked school lists for all of Canada, the North American continent, and even the globe.
Many of the schools in Toronto are well-known for their commitment to sustainability, research, and innovative technology. Those interested in film, culinary arts, education, and the arts will also find a home in this creative city.
The colleges lists here are attended not only by Canadian pupils, but also by thousands of international students. This list represents not just Toronto’s finest, but some of the very best colleges in all of North America.
Here are the best colleges in Toronto.
8. Centennial College
Established in 1965, Centennial is Toronto’s first community college and the oldest publicly-funded college in Ontario.
Centennial offers a diverse environment, with over 100 ethnic groups represented and more than 80 languages spoken on campus. Scholarship opportunities are plentiful, with $3 million available to Centennial students.
The President Emeritus – Ann Buller – recently received the Order of Canada in early 2022 for her proposed Signature Learning Experience (SLE), which embeds equity, social justice, and global citizenship into Centennial’s curriculum. The incorporation of the SLE has helped to raise the concept of a community college education to new heights.
In 2015, Centennial received a nearly $2 million grant to design the WIMTACH: Wearable, Interactive, and Mobile Technologies Access Centre in Healthcare. Through WIMTACH and many other innovative programs, Centennial supports graduates and businesses to commercialize their ideas.
7. Humber College
Humber is the largest polytechnic college in Canada, and they follow through on their major commitment to sustainability. For six consecutive years, the school has been recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers.
Some of their most successful initiatives include donating or repurposing several thousand textbooks, operating several car-share vehicles, caring for 14 beehives, and offering 20 electric vehicle charging stations.
The majority of programs at Humber involve experiential learning components, such as internships or field placements. One group of students, in particular, became the first group to contact an astronaut orbiting in space using a self-designed and operated communications device.
In 2019, Humber’s Media & Creative Arts storyLAB and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting collaborated to create the first-ever storyLAB Data Journalism Grant, designed to support independent journalism.
It is the most extensive grant that has ever been committed to data-driven journalism in Canada. The first recipient of the funding – Jimmy Thompson – is overseeing a project to explore how native guardians have taken care of their homeland over time.
Humber students and alumni have gone on to experience great success.
They are the first program to win 500 medals within the Ontario College Athletic Association, and alumna Francine Villeneuve was the first female Canadian thoroughbred horse jockey to win 1,000 races and achieve the title of being the all-time winningest female jockey from Canada.
6. Seneca College
Originally founded in 1967, Seneca College now enrolls over 10,000 international students from over 120 different countries each year.
Their English Language Institute helps prepare students for collegiate-level study through a 2- to 12-month language training program.
In 2019, Seneca College opened the Center for Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (CITE), which houses expansive tech labs specializing in mechatronics and robotics courses.
Seneca Au Large (meaning “To the Horizon”) was launched at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and includes plans for renewing the college. The plan establishes an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee to eliminate systemic racism from the institution and creates a permanent Office of Sustainability.
Additionally, Seneca Au Large integrates more virtual approaches/options in programs, courses, teaching, faculty development, advising, and immersive learning.
Seneca has contributed to the success of several noteworthy alumni, including Marc Caira (former President and CEO of Tim Horton’s, Inc.), Senator Vivienne Poy, and Angela James – one of the first two women to be inducted into Canada’s Hockey Hall of Fame.
5. George Brown College
The singular college located in downtown Toronto, George Brown was also the first college to initiate a distance learning system. They are also highly committed to providing experiential opportunities for students, which include:
The Simulation Center is one such innovation, and it is the only college nursing school, or simulation center in Canada to receive accreditation from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH).
George Brown also offers The Chef’s House for culinary students, the Young Center for Performing Arts, and the WAVE – a center for wellness, applied research, and visionary education.
George Brown takes pride in many of their notable graduates, including comedian/actress/writer/TV host Samantha Bee, and DeAille Tam, a graduate of the Chef School who was named Asia’s Top Female Chef in 2021.
The 2021 Award of Excellence for Outstanding Post-Secondary Education was awarded by the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication to George Brown faculty member Michael John Long for helping to orchestrate a student-led ‘Sustainability Squad.’
4. OCAD University
Originally founded in 1876, OCAD (the Ontario College of Art & Design) received university status in 2002. It is the oldest, largest, and most expansive design, media, and art university in Canada, and the 3rd largest of 40 art and design universities in all of North America.
OCAD is best known for its studio-based courses and commitment to research and experiential education.
In 2018/19, OCAD created the OCAD U CO executive training studio; there, they use a creative and collaborative problem-solving approach to drive innovation in various major industries.
Alumnus Barry Blitt received a Pulitzer in 2020 for the editorial-cartooning category. He has designed many covers for the New Yorker magazines featuring caricatures of former US President Donald Trump.
3. York University
York is currently Canada’s fourth-largest university, and students who obtain their degrees from York University can expect to be hired soon after graduation.
In fact, 94% of graduates are employed within two years.
York boasts a wealth of accolades – they are ranked 1st in Canada by Corporate Knights, Forbes, and CNN; 1st in all of Ontario for global collaborative research publications; and 1st in Canada for COVID-19 publications and mathematical modeling.
The Times Higher Education Global Impact Ranking considers them 11th best in Canada and 67th best throughout the entire globe.
In 2023, York will open their Markham Campus, which will be designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among various programs and faculty members.
Six York alumnae were recently named to Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women List. Actress Rachel McAdams and astronaut Steve MacLean were also students at York University before they reached their current level of acclaim.
2. Ryerson University
More students apply to Ryerson than any other university in Ontario, based upon available space.
They are the first university in Ontario to receive the Eagle Staff, which recognizes schools’ efforts to provide support for indigenous students. In 2014, they ranked as the best academic institution for undergraduate research in Canada.
Ryerson boasts a long list of successful students and alumni from diverse fields. Runner Marissa Papconstantinou, a sports media student, is currently preparing to compete in the Paris 2024 Paralympics.
Other noteworthy figures include Isadore Sharp (founder and chairperson of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts company) and actresses Nina Dobrev and Nia Vardalos.
Frauke Zeller of Ryerson helped create the hitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot. It successfully hitchhiked across Canada, as well as Germany and the Netherlands. It was designed to answer if robots could trust human beings.
Ryerson continues to innovate across different realms of campus. In the fall of 2022, they will launch a Black Studies minor, as well as a satellite campus in Cairo, Egypt.
1. University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is the first higher learning institution in Upper Canada and is renowned as one of the world’s best research universities. Overall, they have awarded $1.37 billion in research funds and contributed $15.7 billion to Canada’s economy.
The school has created more than 500 start-up companies in the last ten years, and from their alumni, they have produced five Canadian prime ministers, 17 Canadian Supreme Court justices, 12 Nobel Prize winners, and 94 Rhodes Scholars.
Research conducted at the University of Toronto has made major contributions to various fields of study.
Insulin and stem cell research originated at the University of Toronto. It is the site of the creation of the first pacemaker, first lung transplant, and first nerve transplant.
Students created the first electron microscope at the University of Toronto and identified the first-ever Black Hole.
Recently, Professor Sajeev John – theoretical physicist – won the 2021 Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for researching photons, microchips, optical communications, solar-energy harvesting, and clinical medicine.