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Named for a renowned explorer and North West Company fur trader, Simon Fraser University (SFU) is a public research university located in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. This institution, founded in 1965, unites innovation in education with the highest quality research.

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SFU’s main campus rests on Burnaby Mountain, 20 kilometers (or 12 miles) east of Vancouver. This hub services over 30,000 students and boasts just about 950 faculty members, fostering a common mentality of adaptability to change. This multifaceted approach integrates environmental, economic, social and cultural outreach programs with internationalization into the university’s grand Strategic Vision.

SFU was founded in 1963, following a formal vote held by the British Columbia Legislature on March 1. In May of that same year, Dr. Gordon M. Shrum became its first Chancellor. Today, vibrant campuses bring to life Burnaby, Surrey and Vancouver. Shrum was the one to advocate the summit of Burnaby Mountain as the ideal spot for SFU’s first campus, where it now sits at approximately 365 meters (or about 1,198 feet) above sea level.

Rated the top comprehensive university in Canada by Maclean’s news magazine more than ten times in a little over two decades, SFU is ranked 24th among the world’s youngest institutions of higher learning by the 2014 Times Higher Education 100 Under 50.

In the late 18th Century, Simon Fraser was a key figure in charting much of British Columbia. Therefore, it is quite fitting that SFU, his namesake, continues to explore, chart and conquer new realms of academia.

SFU University Quick Facts

Maclean’s Ranking
#1 (2018)
Postgraduate Students
International Students

Website Link
Burnaby, B.C.

SFU Rankings:

SFU Percentage of International Students
At SFU, 16.9% of the total undergraduate population is comprised of international students, 56.8% of whom come from China. 2014 saw a 39.3% increase over 2013 in undergraduate students from Nigeria. 1,233 graduate international students registered in Fall 2014, an increase of 8.2% over Fall 2013. 28.3% of the total graduate population at SFU is made up of international students.

Source: https://www.sfu.ca/irp/news/international_student_report.html
SFU Locations
SFU has three campuses in all. (SFU Burnaby, SFU Surrey, SFU Vancouver). The first is the main campus which crowns Burnaby Mountain within the City of Burnaby, British Columbia. This is SFU’s original campus, consisting of over eight faculties and three dozen buildings.

The Downtown Vancouver campus encompasses multiple facilities which lie at the heart of the city. In 2009, the Vancouver Sun called SFU’s Downtown Vancouver campus “the intellectual heart of the city.” SFU’s Surrey campus, on the other hand, finds itself within the centre of one of Canada’s most lively cities. Though the latter is fast-growing, this campus does offer fewer academic programs. However, SFU students are welcomed to enroll in class at any of the three campuses.


SFU Ideal Vancouver Neighborhoods

Once you have registered for classes and have all of your furniture picked out, it’s time to find the perfect place to live. Here are a few of the neighbourhoods most popular for student living:

East Vancouver

Affectionately dubbed “East Van” by the locals, this neighbourhood encompasses the area stretching east of Main Street and is conveniently located between SFU’s Burnaby campus and its campus in Downtown Vancouver. Head a little bit past East Hasting and Downtown Eastside to find yourself in colorful, unique areas where the rent is more than reasonable. East Van is endowed with a certain earthy, unassuming energy. There, young couples, the working class, budding families and university students all mingle. With so many mixing flavours, East Van is bound to have something for everyone. And, because of the eclectic nature of the population, the price scale can be quite attractive to incoming freshmen.

Two of the most popular areas within this vibrant slice of British Columbia are:

Main Street

Reaching from Gastown in the south and through Chinatown to Downtown Eastside, Main Street is home to the best boutiques. You could not throw a single stone without hitting art galleries, fashion shows and shops, quaint cafes, great restaurants and convenient grocery stores. For those looking for an authentic feel, Main Street has it all. Pick up some handmade accessories and artworks made by artisans from all over the world and then round off the evening with a bite to eat from one of the neighbourhood’s many longstanding, family-run restaurants. Or, if the night calls for a more upscale outing, you will find high-class, fine-dining establishments all around you.

Commercial Drive

This neighborhood’s nickname is “The Drive,” and nestles up against Downtown. Great public transportation gets you in and out quick, while an air of community will make you want to stay. Many musicians, painters, poets and writers call The Drive home. This multicultural neighbourhood perfectly marries the residential with the commercial in the form of ethnic and vegetarian restaurants sitting right alongside local, national and international businesses, as well as the homes and apartments on sale or for rent. Immigrants from all over the world have been coming to The Drive for generations, thus this area has thriving Asian, Latin American, African, East Indian and Italian communities. This neighbourhood is the place to go for those students looking to rent a room or two, or even half a house, while completing their studies at SFU.