University of Toronto

Office of the

Origins of First-Year Undergraduates

September 11, 2012

A Global University for a Multicultural Metropolis

This is an energizing season when we welcome thousands of new and returning students to another academic year.

Only a handful of universities in the world can rival the variety of the University of Toronto’s academic programs, and the array of outstanding scholars, staff, and facilities that support them. However, our greatest and most enduring strength remains the quality of our students.

Here’s one measure: Few if any universities in the world can match the cultural diversity of our student population. The array of traditions, customs, histories, and perspectives represented on our three campuses is exhilarating.

This year, our first-year undergraduate students come from 111 countries and over 900 municipalities from around the globe. (And that’s not counting the heritage of students from the Toronto metropolitan region, the world’s most multicultural metropolis.)

To get a sense of this remarkable breadth, the team in my office has geocoded and plotted on a Google Map the hometowns of U of T’s first-year, full-time, undergraduate class. One red bubble per municipality. As you will see, the globe is dotted red. The size of each bubble is proportionate to the number of students from the relevant municipality. (For ease of plotting, and to accommodate the large range in sizes, each bubble is proportionate to the square root of the number of students from the municipality.)

Incidentally, we used to say that the University of Toronto was a local / global institution, better known perhaps in London or Singapore than in Calgary or Halifax. One glance at the map shows that’s no longer true: this year, first-year undergraduate students hail from nearly 300 cities and towns from across Canada.

Below is a static view of North America. Click on the map to link to the full, interactive Google Map – drag the map to tour the globe and see where U of T’s new undergrads come from. (Note: the Google Map is a large file (2MB) and is best viewed with a fast internet connection.)

Map of First-Year Undergrad Origins