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Getting ready to travel to Canada – Winter 2021

If you are just starting a grad studies program here at Mac Campus in January, you might also be planning to physically be here.

Since October 20th, the Canadian government is allowing new students to enter Canada, if the school they are attending is on the official list of Designated Learning Institutions with an approved COVID readiness plan (HINT: McGill is on that list). If you are starting a grad studies program here at Mac Campus in January, you might also be planning to physically be here. Symptom-free persons, upon arrival to Canada/Quebec/Montreal, will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Here are some vital information and points to keep in mind when arriving in Montreal, or Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue (the town where Macdonald Campus is located). All links and sources referenced in the blog will also be compiled into one list at the end of this post.

Arriving in Canada


You will only be permitted to enter if your application for Study Permit has been approved. When you meet with border services officer, they will ask you for these documents:

  • a valid passport or travel document
  • the letter of introduction the visa office sent you when they approved your study permit
    • This letter has your permit reference number, which we use to issue your study permit
  • a copy of a valid letter of acceptance from your school (the Offer of Admission Letter that you receive via uApply)
  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Canada
  • letters of reference or any other documents the visa office told you to bring and
  • either a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or visitor visa (temporary resident visa)
    • If you have a valid eTA, it’ll be linked to the passport you used to apply for your study permit

Quarantine plan

All people arriving in Canada are ordered to self-isolate for 14 days, immediately upon arrival. Please consult McGill University’s Self-Quarantine Resource page for instruction.

AS OF NOVEMBER 21 all people arriving in Canada must download the ArriveCAN app, and use it to enter contact info, submit your quarantine plan, and enter COVID-19 self-assessments.

Where to Spend your Quarantine Period:

McGill University has special deals with a few hotels in the downtown area, where people would be able to stay for this 14-day period. The Student Housing and Hospitability Services website has options. There is a list available in the “Quarantine Options” portion of the FAQ (choose: “I am an incoming graduate student…”).

It may also be possible to spend your quarantine period in a McGill Residence where you could then stay for a longer-term rental period. Please contact the McGill Residences to inquire about this possibility (see next section).

If you have or are planning to rent an apartment with roommates (either downtown or in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue), or lodge in someone’s home, please note that it is not recommended that you self-isolate in that location.

Longer-term Housing

There are several options available to you.

  1. Mac Campus residences: Open to graduate students, please email residences.macdonald [at] to inquire about space in January.
  2. McGill Residences (downtown): LIMITED SPACE available, please email housingofficer [at] to inquire about space in January.
  3. Places4Students: Listings of available apartments, or space within an apartment with roommates. Mostly downtown.
  4. Facebook Marketplace: search for rental listings for “Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue”. (You will also get results for downtown Montreal and other boroughs here, so pay attention to the map, so you are aware).


No matter where you are quarantining, you’re going to need to eat! Many grocery stores and supermarkets have online apps and offer contactless delivery, for a fee. TIP: You will need a credit card, as you won’t be able to set up a Canadian bank account yet since you are isolating.

Shops in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and surrounding towns, who offer grocery delivery:

  1. Marché Richelieu: Located centrally in the village of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. A smaller shop, but all necessities are here. Price range: $$
  2. IGA: Located in the town of Île-Perrot (pronounced Eel-perRO). A large supermarket offering a wide range of products. Price range: $$
  3. Maxi Pincourt: Located just off-island in the town of Pincourt (pronounced Pain’-cour). A large supermarket offering a wide range of products. Price range: $$
  4. Metro Plus: Located just off-island in the town of Pincourt (pronounced Pain’-cour). A large supermarket offering a wide range of products. Price range: $$

No matter where you live on or off the island of Montreal, large chain grocery stores such as Provigo, Metro or IGA will have locations nearby who will deliver.

Other Helpful Resources

  • Pre-Arrival Webinars: McGill’s International Student Services are offering webinars to help new students before arriving to Canada.
  • McGill app: keep up to date with current events at McGill and Macdonald Campus, stay organized with timetabling, connect with fellow students.
  • International Buddy Program: this program pairs you with an in-program international student who has “been there, done that” and can offer a friendly face, a helping hand, and give you LOTS of practical advice about life in Montreal, and navigating McGill University.
  • Acceuil Plus: an agency that, under normal circumstances, meets with incoming international students at the Montreal (Pierre Elliot Trudeau) airport. Due to COVID, they have provided this helpful website.

To all students who are planning to arrive sometime in the new year for the Winter 2021 semester (whether you’ve already got a semester of online learning under your belt, or whether you are starting this from scratch), we wish you a safe and uneventful journey. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your coordinator (Christiane Trudeau, Erin Minnett, Laura Wittebol, or Simone Clamann) or email anyone at gradstudies.macdonald [at] at any point in your journey, if you need help with anything. We can put you in touch with the right resources.

Links referenced in this post:

Government of Canada – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Government of Canada – Public Health Services

McGill University

Marché Richelieu: Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue:

IGA Île-Perrot:

Maxi Pincourt:

Metro Plus Pincourt:

Acceuil Plus:

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