McGill and Concordia are well recognized to the world as two of the top Canadian universities. Both of them are famous English universities in Montreal, a French-speaking city in the province of Quebec. Under the Charter of the French Language passed in 1977’s, children of Canadian citizens, especially those who lived in the province of Quebec, were mandatory to attend publicly funded French school in the past. Even so, due to increasing popularity and demand in English language, more and more new generations of Quebecois, residents from other provinces and international students are attracted to either McGill or Concordia. Obviously, it is hard to make a choice between two great universities in the same city; in fact, McGill and Concordia have their own strengths and weaknesses respectively in the different subsets: McGill has a richer historical background, whereas Concordia has much more energy and development potential; also, both of them have specific areas of expertise and educational practices.
Concordia University, located in the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Montreal, is one of Canada’s most innovative and diverse universities of which English is the primary language of instruction. The main downtown campus of Concordia, called Williams campus, is composed of six separate buildings on different streets, which resembling commercial office buildings from the outside. The Molson building (MB) is the newest building, and is the dynamic green centre of Concordia University. The architecture is incorporating with bright atrium, modern classrooms and several networking spaces and was built in with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Requirement. Even though there are no beautiful nature views out of the windows, I can feel a power pushing me to work hard when I study in such an environment. Apart from this, downtown concordia also has several tunnels, which links its neighborhood buildings to the metro. Thanks to Concordia University, it is very convenient for students to walk through underground tunnels without any hazard during the winter season. As a newly developed university, Concordia has a shorter history when compared to McGill. However, the growth of Concordia, which might still be unknown toward outsiders, is rapidly changing in recent years. Concordia University is now rated as one of the top 10 Canadian comprehensive universities. Furthermore, John Molson School of Business, the business faculty of Concordia, is one of the leading business schools in the world. According to the Corporate Knights School Ranking in 2009’s, Concordia MBA program ranked third in Canada and was ranking first in Quebec. The Economist on the other hand has ranked JMSB MBA program in the top 100 worldwide and the top 50 in North America in 2010’s.
Unlike Concordia, McGill has a notably history and cultural story, and the style of downtown campus is more traditional and ancient. If McGill is like a senior full of knowledge and wisdom, Concordia is like a youth that full of innovation and passion. McGill, which is one of the oldest universities in Canada, was founded in 1821. Its main campus stands at the foot of Mount Royal. Seen from a distance, the urban campus looks like a magnificent castle. Even I, a Concordia student cannot stop my feet from walking through this campus and enjoy its unique atmosphere. McGill not only has a beautiful study environment but also has had top ranking. As early as the fifties, McGill University, University of Toronto and Queen’s University were called the Canadian Ivy league. However, in the past few years, the rankings of McGill have been unstable. Despite the unstable ranking, McGill medicine faculty is still considered one of the best and is well recognized by many nations. For example, Andrew victor Schally and David Hubel are two of the many great graduated medics from McGill. Even today, McGill University still has a leading position in the cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and AIDS research fields at a world-class level. Royal Victoria Hospital, which is the affiliated hospital of McGill, is one of the largest Canadian general hospitals. Doctor Norman Bethune once worked in this hospital. In addition, McGill law and HEC business faculties also have high rankings.
There is no absolute standard to define which school is better. In short, Concordia fulfills with passion and innovation, whereas McGill demonstrates a sense of elegance and sophistication. Personally, I think one good university is where students not only acquire professional skills, but also allow one to growth from within.