Welcome to Toronto!

As a student at OCAD U, you are among nearly 500,000 international students studying in Canada!

Canada is the second largest country in the world, occupying 6 time zones from east to west. The country is divided into 10 provinces and 3 territories, each with its own elected government, responsible for such services as health care and education. OCAD U is located in the city of Toronto, in the province of Ontario.

Canada is a multicultural country. Canadians believe in tolerance and equality among people. Men and women are treated with equal respect, and there are strict laws against prejudice or discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, or marital or social status.

As students in Canada, you and your dependents have the same rights and are protected under the same laws as Canadian citizens. You and your dependents have the right to freedom from sexual harassment, discrimination, racism, and prejudice. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that anyone residing in Canada has:

  • Freedom of conscience and religion,
  • Freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression,
  • Freedom of peaceful assembly, and
  • Freedom of association.

Your new city

Toronto, Canada is one of the most multicultural places you can imagine. Home to more than 100 distinct ethnic groups, Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods and cultural communities, many of which take their identity from the immigrants who settled there: Chinatown, Little Italy, Koreatown, Greektown, and Portugal Village, to name just a few.

Toronto represents the centre of arts, design, culture, communications, and commerce in Canada. As the largest city in the country, with a population of nearly 3 million, and 6 million in the Greater Toronto Area, Toronto attracts more visitors and immigrants than any other Canadian city. 

English is the primary language spoken, but a multitude of other languages can be found as well - French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Tamil, Punjabi, Tagalog, Hindu, and Urdu, to name just a few.

You may experience some adjustments, depending on where you are coming from, or there may be little change at all. No matter where you may come from, we know you'll feel at home in Toronto, a welcoming and tolerant place to live, learn, create, work or play in any way you desire.

(Adapted from online sources at Humber College and Seneca College)

Housing and Living

OCAD University is a 100% commuter campus, which means that students have to find off-campus housing. You can share an apartment or house with other students looking for roommates, rent an apartment or try to find a homestay. Furthermore, there are different co-op houses, residences and dorm-style accommodations in Toronto. You can find more detailed information and different listed homes and housing options here.

Things to see and do

A good way to settle into your new surroundings is to look at the city of Toronto map and get out and explore the city that will be your home for the next few years. There is no shortage of activities to satisfy your interests in the world-class city of Toronto.

You can get around by foot, bike or by Toronto’s public transit system (the TTC), which includes subway, streetcar and bus routes, and carries an average of 2.3 million riders daily.

The city’s parks and recreation areas are wonderful spaces to enjoy and explore, as are the many city attractions, shopping destinations and annual events listed on the official City of Toronto website.

Make sure to visit one of the 99 branches of the Toronto Public Library, the largest public library system in Canada, with 11 million items to borrow or use in the library. Several libraries are located within walking distance of OCAD.

Cultural Adjustment

When you arrive in Canada, you may find that things may be quite different than they are in your home country. It may take time to adjust and below are some strategies that have helped other international students make their transition to OCAD as smooth as possible:

  • Give yourself lots of time to accomplish the things you need to do. Be patient, it may take longer to do things because they are new to you.
  • Make sure to get enough sleep. Depending on where you are coming from, “jet lag” or fatigue may make you feel tired.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends to avoid feeling homesick.
  • Find food from your home country. Toronto is home to a multitude of international food options, and the Village by the Grange food court is a great place to start.
  • If you are unsure about something, ask someone. Canadians are generally very willing to help and will try their best to answer you questions, which will make things easier for you.

Statutory holidays

Canada recognizes and celebrates a number of statutory holidays. On these days, most places of business (banks, post offices, grocery stores) are closed, including universities and colleges.


Toronto’s weather is considered to be moderate, as it is located on a parallel with other cities such as Barcelona, Venice, Sapporo and Boston.


Updated weather forecasts and information can be found on Canada's weather network.

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