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Topping the polls
Maclean's might have ranked McGill as only the fourth best medical/doctoral university in the country in its most recent issue on universities, but Canadians in general seem to have a much higher opinion of us. For the eighth year in a row, McGill has earned the top spot amongst the country's universities in a recent nationwide poll conducted by Gallup Canada.
Launched in 1991, the poll was created to obtain a sense of which university Canadians perceive as the best in the country. This year's poll was a close call.
McGill garnered 11 percent of the votes, ranking just two percentage points ahead of the University of Toronto. Four universities tied for third place: the Université de Montréal, the University of British Columbia, the University of Western Ontario and Queen's University.
"Being ranked the number one university across Canada -- for the eighth consecutive year -- is an honour that illustrates how important the quality of a McGill education is to Canadians," says Principal Bernard Shapiro. "Since its founding 178 years ago, McGill has always strived to offer a top-notch learning environment. It's heartening to know that daily effort is clearly appreciated by Canadians."
"Recognition of this sort," adds Vice-Principal (Development and Alumni Relations) Derek Drummond, "emphasizes how McGill projects a positive and dynamic image throughout the country.
"Being named the best university among Canadians," Drummond continues, "offers not only our graduates a sense of pride, but our current students, too, since everyone wants the university they attend to be at the top."
Clara Peron, vice-president (university affairs) for the Students' Society of McGill University, concurs. "Receiving a degree from the university that's recognized as the best makes a McGill diploma so much more valuable than if it was obtained from any other university.
"Being rated as the best university is very positive for McGill," she adds. "It encourages the University to continue to innovate and lead the way in order to remain at the top -- not just now -- but into the future."
Gallup, which issues polls on a variety of social and political matters, conducted its university survey among a cross-section of 1,011
Canadians, aged 18 and over, via phone between August 14 and 21.
According to Gallup research analyst Josephine Mazzuca, the folks being polled weren't steered towards any particular universities.
"It was an open-ended question," she says, where the majority of those surveyed immediately nominated McGill as Canada's foremost university. "It shows McGill has a good reputation among Canadians."
Twenty-eight percent of Quebecers named McGill the best university, as did 10 percent of British Columbians, six percent of Prairie residents and four percent of Atlantic Canadians. Ontarians were least likely to vote McGill the best -- only three percent did so.
Twenty-one percent of Ontarians rooted for the home team, selecting U of T as the top institution. Dalhousie University was the first pick of Atlantic Canadians (12 percent), the University of Alberta was the premier choice in the Prairie provinces (16 percent) and a whopping 35 percent of British Columbians believe that UBC is the best in the land.