Located in downtown Montreal, Quebec, McGill University is one of the most highly recognized and respected English-speaking universities worldwide.

Founded in 1821, the park-like campus consists of over 64 buildings sprawled across 79 acres. As such, McGill is actually a university village, and in 2012, Travel + Leisure rated McGill’s campus as one of the 17 most beautiful university campuses in the world.

Like the vibrant, French Canadian and cosmopolitan city that surrounds it, McGill has a uniquely international flavor with visible European influences and architecture with Ivy League stature.

McGill University – Quick Facts:


  • #1 in Canada among medical-doctoral universities for nine consecutive years (Maclean’s University Rankings 2014)
  • Ranked 21st among the world’s top 25 universities globally, as per QS World University Rankings 2013
  • 35th in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013)


Two (2) campuses. The main campus is at the foot of Mount Royal in Downtown Montreal. The second campus, (MacDonald Campus) houses the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and many research centres. It is situated 30 kilometers west (18 miles) of the downtown campus on the Montreal Island in the suburb of in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec.

Percentage of international students: First-year: 17% Graduate: 34%


11 faculties, 300 programs of study, 37,500 students. The University also partners with four affiliated teaching hospitals to graduate over 1,000 health care professionals each year.

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Ideal Montreal Neighbourhoods for Students

Most McGill students live in 3 key neighborhoods or boroughs (arrondissements) on and around the campus within 10 km, each offering its own unique personality:

Milton Parc

Named after the neighbourhood’s two main streets, Milton Street and Parc, Milton Parc is a charming neighbourhood which lays east of campus, roughly from Rue St. Urbain (“Rue” means Street) between des Rue des Pins and Rue Sherbrooke and is in the borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal.

The area is the most popular among McGill students since it is closest to campus and there are many small businesses that cater to the local McGill community including The Word Bookstore, Café Lola Rosa, several small convenience stores, as well as many cafes and places for students to gather.

Consisting mainly of historic townhouses built in the late 19th century, the neighbourhood housed affluent businessmen and their families and was a wealthy area throughout the early half of the 20th century. Eventually, many of the affluent residents of the area moved to other boroughs such as Westmount or to the suburbs.

While the area is often referred to as the “McGill Ghetto,” the name is misleading and is used in reference to the original definition of the word “ghetto,” meaning a socioeconomically homogeneous area. There is a movement against using the term “ghetto” to describe the area, as it suggests it is completely inhabited by students while in reality it is a historically significant district that is home to many families, working professionals and long-term residents.5

It also suggests that the area is shabby when it actually isn’t. This picturesque, bustling neighbourhood has a lot of character and is a favorite of McGill students.

West of Campus (downtown Montreal)

Just west of campus lies a very affluent urban area, west of Rue Peel to Rue Atwater, with condos, old homes and modern high-rises. There are many options for suitable for students in the corridor between McGill and Concordia Universities.

As part of the downtown core, the neighbourhood to the west of campus has a cosmopolitan feel and offers all the amenities of city living. A short 15-20 minute walk away from campus or a quick bus or Metro (subway) ride to and from McGill, the area contains everything a student would ever need, from shopping and dining to unlimited entertainment.

Remembering that Montreal is a city at the foot of Mount Royal itself, the largest expanse of green space in the city, living downtown is a great option as there is always nature close by to escape into for a stroll or an afternoon picnic.

The jewel of Montreal’s city parks, Mount Royal Park is an historic, 494-acre (200-hectare) park with a large hill topped by a lit cross, plus trails, a lovely lake (Beaver Lake and pavilion) & a breath-taking lookout.

Lower Plateau of Plateau-Mont-Royal

A 20-30 minute walk or 15 minutes by bus to McGill, Le Plateau is arguably the “hippest” neighbourhood in Montreal, centrally located just adjacent to the downtown core.

Bordered on both sides by large parks — Parc du Mont-Royal and the adjacent Parc Jeanne-Mance on the west and Parc Lafontaine on the east — the area offers lots of green space to enjoy.

As a working-class-turned-yuppie neighbourhood, it boasts a multitude of bars, cafes, boutiques, art galleries, gourmet shops, pubs and restaurants, including a very good selection of inexpensive ethnic ones. The area is populated by an eclectic mix of artists, students, professionals and young families, spiced with a healthy dose of other cultures and languages to raise the diversity. 7

Before becoming the hippest neighbourhood in town, Le Plateau was actually more of an enclave for newly-arrived immigrants. Nowadays, most (new) residents are professionals and students in their 20’s and early 30’s, although plenty of older people and families remain. 6

The area consists of mostly of charismatic walk-up duplexes and triplexes, but you will find many home options in The Plateau, from high rise condos along Sherbrooke Street to two- or three-storey houses on lovely tree-lined streets, with wrought-iron staircases, stone masonry and old-world charm.