Over 30 Canadian universities ranked by their mottos from worst to best

8. University of British Columbia File Cherihan Hassun

A university’s motto can say a lot about the school. It’s a mission statement created at the inception of the institution that is meant to to guide the school’s journey through the ages. Some strike you with their deep religious origin or historical significance, and others don’t make any sense. This is our non-comprehensive list of universities ranked by their motto. After having read this list, you will be able to find the perfect university to send your child to if mottos are all you care about. This list leaves a few universities out, as we couldn’t find a consistent motto for every single post-secondary school. We are also demonstrably unbiased because we didn’t make UBC number one.

31. University of Calgary

Mo Shùile Togam Suas” (Gaelic)

Translation: I will lift up my eyes

Cool, if it was a Mumford and Sons (MaS) lyrics. Get with it Calgary, everyone thinks MaS sucks now.

30. University of Toronto

“Velut arbor ævo” (Latin)

Translation: As a tree through the ages

Lamest Walt Whitman poem ever. I Loafe and invite your soul to think of a better motto.

29. Dalhousie

Ora et Labora” (Latin)

Translation: Pray and work

Like a how-to-guide on how to live in the 1700’s. What else are you going to tell me to do spend my entire day dodging dysentery?

28. Vancouver Island University

“Matter here” (English)

Is this a physics thing? Because last we checked, matter was everywhere.

27. University of Regina

“As one who serves” (English)

;) ;) ;)

26. Laval University

“Deo favente haud pluribus impar” (Latin)

Translation: By the grace of God, to no one equal

This one is very confusing. God is making us … unequal? Darn.

25. University of Saskatchewan

“Deo et Patriæ” (Latin)

Translation: For God and Country

Is it wrong to say this sounds like a prairie stereotype? We’re going to say it. This sounds like a prairie stereotype.

24. University of Alberta

“Quaecumque vera” (Latin)

Translation: Whatsoever things are true

Pardon? What does this mean? Is this a riddle? Uhhhhhhh, the doctor was his mother.

23. Ryerson University

“Mente et Artificio” (Latin)

Translation: With mind and skill

That’s actually how most things are done, yes. Try a bit harder.

22. Mount Royal University

Quam Bene Non Quantum” (Latin)

Translation: How well, not how much.

MRU’s tuition seems to be at least $1,000 more than UBC’s, soooooo cool I guess.

21. McGill University

“Grandescunt Aucta Labore” (Latin)

Translation: By work, all things increase and grow

Did we mention facts make bad mottos? This seems like a pretty no-brainer statement. It’s also very similar to Ryerson’s but ranked slightly higher because someone who goes to McGill could probably kick my ass.

20. Université de Moncton

“Surge illuminare” (Latin)

Translation: Arise, Shine

This one is kind of like an instant coffee ad, but it makes me sleepy.

19. Mount Allison

“Litterae, Religio, Scientia” (Latin)

Translation: Writing, Divinity, Knowledge

One of these things is not like the other.

18. Western University

“Veritas et Utilitas” (Latin)

Translation: Truth and usefulness

That’s really all we can hope for from a university education and like, learning how to smoke a joint without coughing a lot.

17. University of Victoria

“יְהִי אוֹר‬” (Hebrew)

“Multitudo sapientium sanitas orbis” (Latin)

Translations: “Let there be light” and “A multitude of the wise is the health of the world”

Two mottos??? Pick one! A multitude of the wise?? That’s going to be hard to find at any university let alone UVic.

16. Queens University

“Sapientia et Doctrina Stabilitas” (Latin)

Translation: Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times

HA! Ahaah hhahha [cries for a million years]. This also seems like something a milquetoast president would say.

15. Saint Mary’s University

Age Quod Agis” (Latin)

Translation: What You Do, Do Well

While the idea behind this motto is good, it seems like something that your dad would tell you after sharing your first beer with him. This is why it is firmly “meh.”

14. Simon Fraser University

“Nous sommes prêts” (French)

Translation: We are ready

Ready for what SFU? For playing second fiddle? For being on a mountain? BE SPECIFIC!

13. Emily Carr University of Art and Design

“Eye, Mind, and Hand” (English)

Fitting for an art school, where all three of those things are utilized to create what the common man calls “art,” but seems to be lacking creativity.

12. Wilfrid Laurier University

Veritas Omnia Vincit” (Latin)

Translation: Truth conquers all

While a strong stance for a university, what happens when truth loses Laurier? It seems it’s forgetting that sometimes bad things happen to good people.

11. University of New Brunswick

“Sapere Aude” (Latin)

Translation: Dare to be Wise

“I dare you. I dare your lame ass to be wise.” We love the confrontation inherent in this motto, but it does make you feel like you’re being verbally accosted.

10. University of Winnipeg

“Lux et Veritas Floreant” (Latin)

Translation: Let Light and Truth Flourish

Really kicking it up a notch here U of W. Who could disagree with this? I know who and I dare not speak his name.

9. York University

Tentanda via” (Latin)

Translation: The way must be tried

Using a variation of the word “try” is dicey territory, but York sticks the landing. It loses points for reminding the reader of Fastball’s song “The Way.”

8. University of British Columbia

“Tuum Est” (Latin)

Translation: It is yours

Abstract, thought provoking and slightly unclear. Although the “it” could potentially be referring to the crushing amounts of student debt.

7. Carleton University

“Ours the Task Eternal” (English)

In terms of scale and gravitas, this motto is very successful. The eternal task of living in Ottawa is definitely worth the mention.

6. University of Manitoba

“Floreat” (Latin)

Translation: Flourish

SIMPLE. So simple. It’s great. Just flourish in Manitoba like all the insects that flourish in the many lakes.

5. St. Thomas University

“Doce Bonitatem Scientiam et Disciplinam” (Latin)

Translation: Teach me Goodness and Knowledge and Discipline

This is just an instruction manual for university, but again, lacks pretences. It really lets the people know what they’re getting into.

4. Cape Breton University

“Theid Díchioll Air Thoiseach” (Scottish Gaelic)

Translation: Perseverance Will Triumph

A simple statement, but made cooler because the fact that it’s in Scottish Gaelic is, like, sick

3. Brandon University

“ἀληθεύοντες δὲ ἐν ἀγάπῃ” (Greek)

Translation: Speaking the truth in love

Excuse me, Shakespeare, You’re done. This is the new best piece of poetry in any language on the planet and it’s describing a university in Manitoba.

2. University of Ottawa

“Deus scientiarum Dominus est” (Latin)

Translation: God is the Master of Sciences

Like, super hardcore. A simple statement of God’s power over the sciences is awe inspiring, weirdly obvious and hilarious. There should be a mandatory policy at the UOO where you need this tattooed on your arm.

1. Memorial University of Newfoundland

“Provehito in Altum” (Latin)

Translation: Launch forth into the deep

What is the deep? Why should we launch forth into it? It doesn’t matter, as this call to action would stir us to follow this little known university and launch forth into the deepest of deeps no matter what. Obscure, specific, universal and thought-provoking. The deep can be understood as so much, the pain of life, the horrors of post-secondary education or living in St. John’s Newfoundland. And we aren’t just walking into it, or even journeying into it — we are implore to launch forth into a web of unknowns. The motto doesn’t even suggest that we’ll be successful — we probably won’t be — and we appreciate that honesty.

Honourable mention


I could not confirm the university’s motto with them, so they have no official to rank.

On the French language Wikipedia page, it lists "Small planet, big thinking" as the motto. So, if this is the official motto, it seems more appropriate for some shadowy globalization-y corporation. Also it makes me think of Little Big Planet and sackboy gave me nightmares.