The Globe and Mail's Canadian University Report's profiles of more than 70 universities across the country give snapshots on many factors, from educational experience to the feel of the campus.
Sault Ste. Marie, Brampton, Timmins
Originally affiliated with Laurentian University, Algoma gained its independence in 2008.
Since then, 1,825 students have graduated from this university.
So far, 88.5 per cent of Algoma graduates have found employment within six months.
The maximum size of any class is capped at 75 students, even in first year. As a result, professors strive to get to know their students on a first-name basis and students enjoy ample one-on-one interactions with faculty.
Algoma University devotes less money to financial aid than any other school in Ontario, and there is a 21-per-cent student-loan default rate among graduates, which is significantly higher than the provincial average and is the second-highest in Canada.
St. Catharines (main), Hamilton
In 1964, Brock University held its first classes at a local church and a former refrigerator factory.
More than 85,000 students have since graduated from Brock, which now offers extensive on-campus housing – seven residences and 2,500 beds – and flexible meal plans. Brock has seven academic faculties, including education, humanities, business, mathematics and science.
The institution advertises an experience that goes beyond the classroom by providing students with a sense of community.
They can participate in clubs and intramurals, for example.
First-year students can also opt to take advantage of the Smart Start program to help them learn about the university and campus life and to simplify registration.
This year, Sheila O'Keefe-McCarthy, a professor of nursing at Brock who has been conducting research on cardiovascular disease, found that women are more likely than men to experience certain early signs of a heart attack. She has received a $74,938 grant from Women's Xchange, a research centre based at the Women's College Research Institute, which will foster awareness of the results of her work and, hopefully, save lives.
Located in the country's capital, Carleton University is in close proximity to Canada's Parliament Buildings, the popular ByWard Market and scenic Gatineau Park.
Students new to Ottawa can get to know the city by visiting the National Gallery of Canada, the National Arts Centre, the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization) and the Canadian Tire Centre to watch hometown hockey team, the Ottawa Senators, play at the Canadian Tire Centre sports arena.
Carleton University appeals to a wide range of interests by offering numerous programs, such as industrial design, journalism and migration and diaspora studies.
Students who are still unsure of what to focus on may begin their arts or science degrees as undeclared students – which allows them time to explore their options.
Examples of newly adopted programs at Carleton include human-computer interaction, political management, biomedical engineering and non-profit leadership, all of which are geared to respond to Canada's constantly evolving society.
UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH
Guelph (main), Ridgetown
For students looking to gain valuable research experience and mentorship, the University of Guelph offers the Undergraduate Research Assistantship competitive program, which provides undergraduate students with paid summer research opportunities. Priority is given to those who demonstrate financial need.
Known for its agricultural and veterinary science programs, Guelph also offers a range of arts and science and business programs, with co-op options available in many cases. Research projects at the university range from growing crops in space to developing new cancer tests.
Recently, the school was awarded $1.4-million for a research lab dedicated to studying Lyme disease treatments.
Thunder Bay, Orillia
Lakehead University offers a broad range of degree and diploma options in each of its 10 faculties.
Although students tend to graduate from Lakehead University with above-average levels of student debt, the student loan default rate among Lakehead graduates sits below the provincial average.
Electrical engineering students Bradley Momberg and Kyle Rodrigues pioneered the development of Lakehead's first inventbuild-play Makerspace, a.k.a. Wolf Labs, which houses a laser cutter, three 3-D printers and a smart board. Camera tripods, drones and several robots have come to life in this innovative space geared to engineering projects.
More than 50,000 students have graduated from Lakehead University since its inception in 1965.
Sudbury (main), Barrie
A bilingual university, Laurentian also promotes Indigenous education and research. Its new 7,500-squarefoot Indigenous Learning and Sharing Centre, which opened this year, features a multipurpose room that acts as a classroom and common area for students of all backgrounds. Strong in miningrelated studies and boasting a 1:18 faculty-student ratio, the university also offers distance learning.
To gain admission to Laurentian, students typically require an average of 82.5 per cent in secondary school. Seventy-two per cent of students graduate from Laurentian within seven years, compared to most Ontario universities, where about 75 per cent of students graduate within the same period of time.
Hamilton, Burlington, Waterloo, St. Catharines
As one of Canada's 15 universities known for intensive research, McMaster boasts more than 70 research centres and institutes and the second-highest number of research chairs in Ontario. It is also the only Canadian host site for the United Nations University, a global postgraduate teaching organization that bridges the academic communities of United Nations member states through the Institute for Water, Environment and Health.
Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster, made headlines with his latest research on high-intensity workouts.
Dr. Gibala recently found that sedentary people who engage in a 10-minute interval workout that involves only one minute of hard exercise reap the same benefits as someone who exercises for 50 minutes and follows a traditional and continuous exercise routine.
North Bay (main), Bracebridge, Brantford
In an effort to safeguard student success, Nipissing University provides enhanced services such as transition support, academic counselling and tutoring. According to NSSE results, students at Nipissing rate their time at the school positively.
In addition to offering standard on-campus programs, the university has developed flexible study options, allowing students to earn their degrees even when they cannot travel to the campus. The School of Nursing, for example, has partnerships with Ontario healthcare centres that enable students to complete the theoretical portion of their schooling online, while gaining hands-on experience at any one of Nipissing's partnering centres.
Students interested in research should note that Nipissing University receives far fewer research grants than other Ontario universities and has only four research chairs, which is significantly less than the provincial average.
OCAD University, formerly known as the Ontario College of Art and Design, opened its doors in 1876. It didn't become a degreegranting institution until 2002.
Undergraduate students can opt to enroll in any one of the school's 17 programs, which include advertising, graphic design, Indigenous visual culture, and criticism and curatorial practice.
At OCAD U, students should check out the Inclusive Design Institute (IDI), Canada's first research hub focused on digital inclusivity. The applied research conducted at the IDI addresses the challenges associated with designing information and communication systems for a widely diverse range of users, including those with disabilities and specific cultural preferences.
The first telephone on a university campus in Canada was at Queen's University, where Alexander Graham Bell's father was a lecturer.
A successful experiment with the telephone was made at the termination of Prof. Bell's lectures before the Christmas vacation. The wire connected a room in Principal Grant's residence with the classical classroom. Prof. Bell's rendering of the Cavalry Charge at Balaklava sounded beautifully through the telephone. SOURCE: Queen's Journal
UNIVERSITY OF ONTARIO INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
UOIT charges more for tuition than any other school in Ontario, which ultimately translates to students incurring more debt. But with the student loan default rate at UOIT sitting below average, it appears that graduates have an easier time paying off their loans compared with other students in the province.
The university focuses on instilling skills that meet marketdriven requirements of future employers. As a result, students can expect to find practical, technology-rich teaching methods in the classroom.
Mohamad Vedut, who graduated in the spring of 2017 with an engineering degree, is a co-founder of startup company EMAGIN Clean Technologies Inc., a Kitchener, Ont.-based company that creates solutions for water management through the application of artificial intelligence. It took EMAGIN only one year to attract international attention.
UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA
Francophone and anglophone students can pursue degree opportunities in both English and French here. The University of Ottawa also boasts an employment rate of 97 per cent for its graduates and offers close to $60-million a year in scholarships and bursaries.
Provincial and federal funds have allowed the construction of new buildings – the STEM Complex and the Learning Centre.
For instance, the STEM Complex aims to combine interdisciplinary teaching, research and entrepreneurship opportunities in science, math, engineering and technology, while the Learning Centre will promote interdisciplinary exchanges.
About 95 per cent of students attending this mid-sized, researchintensive university come from outside of Kingston, with 90 per cent of first-year students residing on campus. Students passionate about research will find numerous options to choose from at Queen's, including globalization studies, mental health and social issues such as surveillance, poverty and bullying.
In summertime, the DuninDeshpande Queen's Innovation Centre holds a 17-week program that encourages students to start their own businesses, as well as compete for seed funding. Students explore relevant business issues such as marketing, patenting, regulation and strategy.
The university typically admits students with a high-school average of 88.8 per cent.
Ryerson University offers students more than 100 program options, including a foundation year for international students looking to safeguard entrance into specific undergraduate degree programs.
The foundation year aims to provide students new to Canada with academic readiness and a smooth transition into Canadian society.
The Biomedical Zone is a business incubator that links Ryerson's senior-year technology and engineering students with health-care providers working at St. Michael's Hospital in downtown Toronto. The lab gives students the chance to apply their knowledge in the real world, while clinicians and patients are the recipients of technology tailored to their needs.
Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Ryerson's nearby attractions include Kensington Market, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Eaton Centre.
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
Toronto (main), Mississauga, Scarborough
The University of Toronto, which is ranked by QS World University Rankings as the world's 31 st best university, is known for its research-intensive approach. U of T holds 255 research-chair positions and benefits from more than $200-million worth of research funding. QS 2018 rankings rate U of T as Canada's top university.
Students have the option here to join more than 1,000 clubs and student-run organizations, whether they are looking to expand academic or cultural interests or sports activities.
This year, U of T hosted Canada's first graduation ceremony devoted solely to black students. The event honoured students who self-identify as black, recognizing the postsecondary success they attained while overcoming academic obstacles.
There is no shortage of opportunities for students looking to stay active at Trent, which has 24 varsity teams. The school offers a wide range of intramural sports, including ultimate Frisbee, squash and soccer. A membership to the Trent Athletics Centre is included in the tuition fee.
Students can look forward to two new programs at Trent this year. Offered in the faculty of arts and science, the new medical professional stream will better prepare undergraduates aspiring to enroll in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy or veterinary programs.
The new six-year joint law and arts program will allow students to complete a bachelor of arts degree at Trent and a law degree at Swansea University in Britain.
Trent University's new student centre features two high-tech classrooms and a 250-seat tiered theatre and will be a hub for students and student groups to connect and learn.
The Peterborough campus straddles the Otonabee River and is a convenient 90 minutes away from Toronto.
UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO
Waterloo (main), Cambridge, Kitchener, Stratford
When the University of Waterloo first opened its doors, in 1957, its focus was on engineering and co-op education and there were 74 students enrolled at the time. Today, the 1,000-acre main campus, along with the university's satellite campuses, hosts almost 40,000 students and offers courses in six faculties.
The University of Waterloo advertises the biggest co-op program in the world, with nearly 20,000 students enrolled in more than 120 programs and thousands of employers participating. Students will gain up to two years of paid work experience if they opt to take advantage of the co-op program.
In 2015 the school accepted an invitation to participate in the IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative launched by the HeForShe solidarity campaign of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, a.k.a.
UN Women. Commitments include boosting female participation in traditionally male-dominated disciplines, improving female faculty representation and advancing women into senior academic leadership positions. The university has seen encouraging spikes in female enrolment in the field of computer science.
The University of Waterloo devotes a larger fraction of its operating budget to financial aid than any other Ontario-based university.
UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO
Western, whose campus spans more than 1,670 hectares of land, is comprised primarily of undergraduate students. During the 2015-16 school year, 82 per cent of students were enrolled in one of the many undergraduate programs offered.
The institution has a high retention rate, with about 93 per cent of students choosing to remain after their first year.
Eric Arts, chair of the microbiology and immunology department, is a world-renowned researcher leading efforts in the development of HIV vaccines. Dr. Arts is currently working on preventive HIV vaccines, as well as vaccines that would cure people already living with the virus. Graduate student Colin Venner has helped Dr. Arts develop a deeper understanding of the most common strain of HIV, while exploring options for improved treatment of the disease.
WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY
Waterloo (main) Brantford, Kitchener, Toronto
This mid-sized school offers more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and diploma programs dispersed across its four campuses. Students can choose to take degreeenhancing minor options, such as Muslim studies at the Waterloo campus and media studies at the Brantford campus.
In response to student demand and work-force trends, Wilfrid Laurier University prioritizes experiential learning through co-op programs, entrepreneurship courses, internships, lab experience and management options for arts, science and music students.
LaunchPad – Laurier's incubator entrepreneurship program – provides mentorship and resources such as finance, marketing, accounting and technology to startups founded by students, alumni and community members.
Laurier students recently teamed up with BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis in researching how startups can evolve into sustainable world-class companies. Mr. Lazaridis also donated $20-million to establish the Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises, with the goal of supplementing Canadian tech entrepreneurs with knowledge and expertise in order to build and scale successful startups.
UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR
UWindsor's main campus overlooks the waterfront along the Detroit River, but the school's expansion extends the university's presence to the downtown core of Windsor.
The newest building, which opened in September 2015, accommodates the School of Social Work and the Centre for Executive and Professional Education. A second downtown building is currently under construction and will house the School of Creative Arts.
Students interested in athletics will find plenty to do at UWindsor, where the St. Denis Centre boasts a slew of sports amenities that include indoor and outdoor tracks, a new football and soccer stadium with a FIFA-approved artificial turf surface and a swimming pool.
Toronto (main), Glendon Campus (French)
York University – Ontario's secondlargest and Canada's third-largest university – offers more than 5,000 courses at 11 faculties, so incoming students will find plenty of program options. For students looking to spend time abroad, York has exchange programs with more than 120 schools in 43 countries.
Las Nubes – an initiative that combines research, environmental education and community engagement – takes York students and faculty to the Costa Rican rainforest.
This summer, students participating in the Semester Abroad program of Las Nubes took courses in environmental arts, ecosystem and health, conservation and development, Indigenous studies and the management of parks and protected areas.
Closer to home, York University participates in projects such as the Community & Legal Aid Services Programme, which is run out of the Osgoode Hall Law School and offers free legal services to those who cannot afford to hire lawyers.
* Most recent available figure
** From website and not verified by university
*** Trimester system
Interested in profiles of other Canadian universities? View the rest of the profiles here.