Toronto named top city for students, despite accessibility issues

(Photo: Creative Commons/Yu-Chan Chen) (Photo: Creative Commons/Yu-Chan Chen)

Shannon MacDonald
Senior Reporter

Toronto is one of the most desirable places in the world for students, despite challenges like affordability and transportation.

A yearly survey published by TopUniversities.com compiled a list of the best cities in the world for university students. The survey is complicated, basing lists and scores from multiple sources and angles.

Canada often has at least three cities in the top 20 overall rankings, out of the 116 cities worldwide that make the list.

Toronto and Vancouver tied for 13th place in the overall ranking. But there is another Canadian city that breached the top ten in overall satisfaction: Montreal is seventh.

Toronto did crack the top five in the desirability list. Right behind Sydney, Australia, Toronto is the second most popular place for people to go internationally for school.

Other categories in which Toronto places lower included affordability, employer activity and student mix.

Claudia De Bourg, a second year visual arts student at Humber College, said one of the main reasons students aren’t as happy as they could be is transportation.

“I live outside the main city so I don’t just take the TTC and the schedules for the different bus lines rarely add up, so you have to wait for who knows how long.”

De Bourg isn’t the only one who immediately thought of transit problems hindering students. Humber marketing student Chris Williams knows it will take time, but wants more options.

“There are several things the TTC could do to make our lives easier. There needs to be more lines on the subway. They should also finish integrating the Presto pass system with the entirety of the TTC. It just doesn’t make sense to not use it.”

Billie Peterson, a second year design student, said transit isn’t the only thing this city needs to work on to be more comfortable for students.

“This city is so expensive,” Peterson said. “I come from a smaller city and rent here is ridiculous. You can’t survive on OSAP here at all, and it’s so hard to get a job here when you are juggling a full class load and you don’t know anyone.”

Risa Handler, a counselor at Humber, said things are always more difficult when you cannot concentrate.

“It would be hard to get anything done when you are struggling to pay rent and buy food,” she said.

“If you have to get OSAP to get an education then by all means, do what you need to,” she said. “But we do want students to know that OSAP is not a bountiful amount of money and (they will) often need to seek part time employment, though that’s not always the easiest thing to do.”

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