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OCAD's unique exterior | © Margonaut / Flickr
OCAD's unique exterior | © Margonaut / Flickr

The Best Art & Design Schools in Canada

Picture of Hayley Simpson
Updated: 29 March 2017

Throughout Canada, there are many colleges specifically for art and design students. But there are also excellent art departments within some of the country’s best universities. Check out these nine top-ranking art and design schools in Canada.

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

In 2015, Emily Carr was the only art and design school in Canada listed in the QS World University Rankings, which is based on academics, employer reputation, and research impact. The Vancouver-based university will move to a new state-of-the-art campus in the summer of 2017. Founded in 1925, Emily Carr offers 10 undergraduate degrees, three graduate degrees, and year-round certificates. It’s British Columbia’s only post-secondary institution that focuses solely on education and research in the creative sector.

Emily Carr University of Art + Design, 1399 Johnston Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, +1 604 844 3800

NSCAD University

Nova Scotia’s College of Art and Design University is housed in a beautiful Victorian building in downtown Halifax. It’s one of Canada’s oldest cultural institutions and is all about blending the old with the new when it comes to design. NSCAD University has a unique program, as each student has an experimental foundation year. They then decide which area to specialize in, including art, craft, design, or historical and critical studies.

NSCAD University, 5163 Duke Street, Halifax, NS, Canada, +1 902 444 9600

Ontario College of Art and Design University

Canada’s largest and oldest institution for art and design, OCAD University offers the country’s largest variety of visual arts and design programs. The two undergraduate degrees it offers are a Bachelor of Fine Art and a Bachelor of Design. Majors include printmaking, integrated media, material art and design, advertising, illustration, and environmental design. The university is also home to a Professional Gallery, which exhibits work from both national and international artists.

OCAD University, 100 McCaul St, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 977 5311

The Art Institute of Vancouver

Enroll at The Art Institute of Vancouver and be educated in a wide variety of creative fields, including animation, electronic music, event management, game design, fashion, graphic design, and culinary arts. The school has a small student base and excellent connections with Vancouver’s film and animation industry, with many studios within walking distance. Their website says, “Since 2002, Art Institute of Vancouver graduates have worked on an astounding 66 Oscar-nominated films, including eight of the ten top-grossing films of all time.”

The Art Institute of Vancouver, 2665 Renfrew Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, +1 866 717 8080

Centre for Arts and Technology

The Centre for Arts and Technology has campuses across Canada, in Kelowna, Fredericton, and Halifax. They have a variety of programs on offer, including animation, filmmaking, photography, music production, events management, fashion design, graphic and web design, network security, application developer, and interior design.

Visual College of Art & Design

The Visual College of Art & Design’s Vancouver campus is known for providing its students with a well-rounded arts education. The school offers diplomas in a wide range of creative applied art industries, including fashion design and marketing, graphic and web design, interior design, game development, and animation. Its campus is conveniently located in downtown Vancouver as well.

Visual College of Art & Design — Vancouver Campus, 626 Pender Street W #500, Vancouver, BC, Canada, +1 800 356 8497

Sheridan College

Sheridan College has four campuses across three Ontario cities: Oakville, Brampton, and Mississauga. It’s a large college, with 18,000 full-time students. It offers courses in areas such as animation, illustration, film, design, music theater, community studies, and applied computing. According to Universities, Colleges and Schools, the animation program at Sheridan College is world-renowned. It was known as the “Harvard of animation schools” in the mid-90s.

Sheridan College, 1430 Trafalgar Road, Oakville, ON, Canada, +1 905 845 9430

George Brown College

Located in one of North America’s four top centers for design, George Brown College’s School of Design focuses on “developing programs and projects that foster excellence in design thinking, design culture and design business.” Some of the careers the school can equip you for include web designer, graphic designer, production artist, advertising copywriter, and marketing coordinator. The School of Design is perfectly positioned in downtown Toronto too.

George Brown College, 160 Kendal Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 415 2000

Alberta College of Art and Design

“ACAD is the home of artists, entrepreneurs, designers and makers. It’s for people with big ideas, ingenuity and unique perspectives.” Located in CalgaryACAD is the only art, craft, and design college in Alberta. With a student to faculty ratio of 16:1, spacious studios, affordable tuition, study abroad opportunities, and a visiting artist program, ACAD has a lot of positive aspects.

Alberta College of Art and Design, 1407 14 Avenue NW, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 284 7600