Rural, Suburban, and Urban Living in Ontario

Home | Living in Ontario | Rural, Suburban, and Urban Living in Ontario

Ontario is a vast province in area and traverses many different landscapes and different types of communities. Internationals students can choose to live in the rural countryside, a village or town, a suburb on the outskirts of a major population center, or in the downtown area of large city. Please consult the interactive map to view the location of particular school boards to determine the types of communities located within a specific school board.

It is important to decide which type of community you wish to live in, and many school boards include the possibility of living in any of either an urban, suburban or rural area. Other school boards will offer only urban, suburban or rural communities in proximity to a particular school.

Rural Community

In a rural homestay, proximity to nature is usually just outside the door.  Rural areas tend to have a relaxed pace of life and a strong “community” feel where everyone knows everyone else.  There is a sense of spaciousness and lots of fresh air, as well as quiet and solitude. There is a wide variety of living arrangements in a rural homestay from living on a farm to living in an older house in a village.  Even though schools in rural areas tend to have a smaller student population than suburban and urban schools, the standard of education is equal to the more populated areas. The rural homestay may not be in the immediate neighbourhood of the school and less likely to be within walking distance to school, so bus transportation in the “traditional” yellow school bus is common.

Suburban Community

Suburban homestay accommodations are usually close to nature with many parklands located within the local community. Though the pace of life in a suburban area is moderate, large shopping centres tend to be located in the vicinity. Suburban schools tend to have either a medium or large student population, anywhere from 400-1600 students, depending on the location. Students may be able to walk to school; alternatively, these students will travel to and from school on a designated school bus or on public transit. Many homestay students in a suburban area would live in a standalone detached home.

Urban Community

Urban areas are more densely populated and offer differences from the rural and suburban homestay locations. In most cases the pace of life is faster and more of the amenities of a city are readily accessible, including a wide variety of cultural and sports facilities in close proximity. Living arrangements could range from a student living in a detached house to living in a high-rise apartment. Urban schools tend to have a large student population up to 2,000 students. The school is often within walking distance to school, or there is public transportation available.