When looking for the right school, there are many aspects to consider.
You need to look at the reputation a school has developed, as you’ll be carrying that college’s name into your career and personal life.
You’ll need to consider the alumni who have graduated from a school, as they’ll be the leaders whose paths you follow as you make your way.
And, of course, you’ll need to examine the school teachers, who will give you the skills and knowledge in your chosen subject.
But a crucial, if often ignored, element is the fun factor. Going to college is hard work, so your school must have plenty of ways for you to blow off steam.
To keep your mind operating at a maximum level and keep your intellectual curiosity sharp, you’ll need to find a school that takes fun as seriously as academics.
Fortunately, most schools recognize this truth and thus fund a student life department. Students can organize clubs, host events, and bring speakers or artists to campus through the student life department.
To help you find the right fit, this list covers the ten best party schools in Canada. The ranking comes from the self-reported weekly partying hours reported by MacLeans.
10. University of New Brunswick (Fredericton, NB)
With over 120 clubs on campus to serve its 10,000+ students, Fredericton’s University of New Brunswick has plenty of fun things to do.
For the more creative types, there is the ArtZone, designed to encourage members’ artistic skills. Through the ArtZone, members take classes, present workshops, and attend showings, all to encourage one another.
Part of the largest student-led health and development organization, Fredericton Global Brigades helps members do good on a global scale. Students spend their summers volunteering through the brigades and finding sustainable solutions to important problems.
Computer whizzes can participate in the school’s Capture the Flag club. Taking its inspiration from the classic children’s game, the Capture the Flag club makes a game of finding cybersecurity solutions. Students use their hacking skills to find flags placed throughout UNB systems, increasing their skills while having a good time.
9. Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS)
With over two centuries of history, it’s no surprise that Dalhousie University has developed several clubs and activities for its students.
Clubs on-campus run the gamut from Cinema Politica, a collective devoted to analyzing the political aspect of films, to the Equestrian Club, where horse lovers can share their passion. If Dalhousie doesn’t already have a club that meets your needs, you can start your own.
Outside these clubs, the school hosts regular events, including sporting events and celebrations like the Winter Carnival.
In fact, Dalhousie takes fun so seriously that they encourage students to host Dal After Dark Events.
Through the Health and Wellness Center, students can receive up to $750 in funding from the university. Events that meet university requirements will be given promotion and space, allowing students to create their good time events.
Tied-7. McGill University (Montreal, QC)
To most people, McGill University is home to Canada’s finest intellects. But that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to blow off steam.
Rather than run away from Montreal’s chilly weather, the annual Igloofest embraces it. Presented in late January or early February of each year, Igloofest brings in some of the biggest musical acts to play in the snow.
The festival also holds a “one-piece” contest, where judges determine the best ski suit worn by concert-goers who want to look cool while keeping warm.
For those looking for something more peaceful, McGill features many parks, including the Morgan Arboretum. The 245-hectare forest reserve is located on Sante-Anne-de-Bellevue Island. Depending on the weather, visitors can walk the Arboretum’s hiking trails or go cross-country skiing.
Tied-7. Mount Allison University (Sackville, NB)
Sackville, New Brunswick may not sound like the world’s most happening town, but students at Mount Allison University never get bored, thanks to the school’s vibrant social life.
One of the most important campus events is the Shinerama Campaign. Presented throughout the summer of each year, the Shinerama Campaign is a fundraising event to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis. The event leads up to Shine Day, during which 500 volunteers collect donations.
Off-campus, but still nearby, Mount Allison students can participate in Winterfest. Held in mid-February every year, Winterfest shows off the best of outdoor activities.
Students and locals can take a snowshoe walk in the moonlight, visit the farmer’s market, or participate in a city-wide scavenger hunt.
6. Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, ON)
In addition to the many events on campus, students at Wilfrid Laurier University can take advantage of the vibrant life in nearby Waterloo.
At the Sanderson Center in nearby Bradford, major acts from all over the world come to play. Recent shows range from tribute bands to legendary groups such as Queen and the Bee Gees to classical ensembles of every genre.
Comedians such as Paul Reiser have performed at Sanderson, and the center hosts various dance competitions.
Hockey and ice skating enthusiasts can enjoy the several outdoor rinks in Waterloo. Over twenty rinks can be found around Wilfrid Laurier, ensuring that they’ll always be a place to stretch your legs and enjoy the cool winter air.
5. Western University (London, ON)
With a combination of nightlife, athletic events, and cultural performances, London, Ontario promises to keep Western University students busy.
One of the most popular places for Western University students is Escapology.
At any one time, Escapology has four to seven escape rooms running, each with varying levels of difficulty. Beginners can get started with the Antidote room, in which they play as biologists looking for a cure, while those ready for a challenge can play the submarine-based room, Under Pressure.
Western University students who like to live on the edge can participate in the London Backyard Axe-Throwing League.
Whether you want to compete against other ax-throwing experts or get your friends together for a unique party experience, the BATL features plenty of rooms and safety equipment to guarantee cutting-edge fun.
4. Acadia University (Wolfville, NS)
At Acadia University, students associate good times with intellectual endeavors and cultural enrichment.
One of the most vibrant groups on campus is the Fundy Film Society. Established in 2001 as a non-profit dedicated to supporting independent Canadian film, the Fundy Film Society has grown into a Canadian cultural powerhouse.
Taking advantage of the Al Whittle Theater in Wolfsville, the Fundy Film Society hosts regular screenings and works closely with the world-renowned Toronto International Film Festival.
Acadia students who wish to serve the greater good can join up with Enactus Acadia. The local chapter of the global organization, Enactus Acadia connects students with business leaders to provide support for those in need. These projects empower students to look beyond themselves and find real solutions to pressing social problems.
3. Queen’s University (Kingston, ON)
Dubbed “the Limestone City,” Kingston, Ontario has a long history of academic and historical features to be explored by Queen’s University students.
For nearly 200 years, the Queen’s Observatory has been studying the skies. Today, members of the Queen’s University Astronomy Research Group, as well as Queen’s students and faculty in astronomy, continue to operate the Observatory.
Students can visit to enjoy regular tours or participate in one of the many events hosted at the Observatory.
If you love to feel the salty wind whipping up from the sea, then the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour is a must-see.
Built for the 1976 Olympics, the harbour features a park for picnicking and several waterside walkways.
In addition to regular community events, the harbour continues to be a training site for Canadian Olympic hopefuls.
2. Bishop’s University (Sherbrooke, QC)
Bishop’s University prides itself on the unique mix of rural and urban spaces provided by its hometown Sherbrooke and nearby Lennoxville.
Between these two cities, students at Bishop’s have access to everything they need to have a good time.
At the Uplands Cultural Center, the historical Eastern Townships are alive and well today. The Cultural Center features regular art exhibitions and shows of various artifacts.
For a more immersive experience, participants can enjoy an English tea service, complete with authentic treats.
One of the most popular sites in the area is the Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook. At the Parc, visitors can find something interesting all year round, from camping and hiking to spelunking.
Sites at the Parc range from a hydroelectric power station and a covered bridge to numerous ponds and waterfalls.
1. St. Francis Xavier University (Antigonish, NS)
Topping out this list is St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
One glimpse at the school’s many offerings, and it’s easy to see why. Students will find everything they need to take a break from their studies.
The People’s Place Library is more than a local collection of books. The award-winning library is a true cultural center, hosting everything from knitting circles to powerful lectures about the latest exciting ideas.
Antigonish is the home to two theatre groups, ensuring live entertainment throughout the year.
During the warmer months, the Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre brings in comedies and musicals, as well as the latest in experimental works.
Theatre Antigonish fills in the calendar the rest of the year, performing one-acts and full productions every month.