Unique Canadian scholarships are as valuable and important to Canadian students as college application planning or college interview prep. These scholarships may seem strange or weird only at first glance, but they are just as legitimate and helpful as scholarships offered by well-known foundations and universities. These scholarships can be considered “weird” or “unique” because they come from an unusual source or offer awards other than cash, or if they have specific eligibility, application or use requirements, or some other unique feature not often found in a scholarship – but that does not mean that they are less valuable! Many unique Canadian scholarships are sponsored by real Canadian universities or colleges and have valid academic purposes. Others are offered by private companies that want to contribute resources to education, expand awareness of their company or encourage students to enter its particular industry. This article will list some of these weird Canadian scholarships and give you more details to see whether you are eligible or not.

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12 min read

The BeMo® Diversity Advocacy Scholarship Bayer Crop Science Opportunity Scholarship Junior Citizen of the Year Award The Louise Joanne Twerdy Leadership Bursary The National Essay Contest TransCanada Energy Scholarships OTIP Bursary Program The Fred Upshaw Scholarship Instant Record Check Scholarship Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s AbbVie IBD Scholarship Program The David Ellis Scholarship Conclusion FAQs

1. The BeMo® Diversity Advocacy Scholarship

What makes this scholarship unique is the fact that you get to use your award to make sure that you get your dream education. Not only does the scholarship promote diversity and inclusion, but it also encourages creativity and connection! You can use your own social media channels to win $10,000 in BeMo credits that will go to your medical school or residency application prep, CASPer test prep, interview prep, and more! Do you often get to use your social media channels to positively affect your studies? We didn't think so! With our scholarship application process you have this unique opportunity!

Eligibility Requirements

You must be applying to medical school or residency within a maximum of 12 months in order to be a eligible scholarship candidate.

How to Apply 

You need to record a short video of 1 to 5 minutes long that details how you plan to help promote diversity in medical education and medical practice and how our scholarship will help you attain this goal! Your video should be shared via social media channels like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and others. Make sure to check out more details on our scholarship page.

Prize/Award Amount

The scholarship offers 10,000 in BeMo credits for the use of BeMo services, such as medical or residency application help, interview prep, CASPer test prep, and more!

Check out our past scholarship winner!

2. Bayer Crop Science Opportunity Scholarship

This scholarship is sponsored by the German conglomerate Bayer and its Canadian subsidiary, Bayer CropScience Inc. The scholarship is intended to support students interested in agricultural or food science or culinary arts. The prize is overseen by Scholarship Partners Canada, which also reviews the applications and decides on the winners. There are only a few eligibility requirements and there are 32 prizes available each year. 

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants to the Bayer Crop Science Scholarship must:

  • Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  •  Must be planning to enter a post-secondary institution for a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Choose a major from either agricultural or food science, or culinary arts program 

How to Apply 

The SPC has an online application form that all applicants must complete and submit electronically. The only supporting documents that applicants must submit are two letters of reference, one from someone who knows the applicant well (instructor, mentor or other professional), and one letter from a farmer or someone in the food industry who also knows you well.

Prize/Award Amount

The scholarship awards up to 32 selected individuals with $3000 each.

3. Junior Citizen of the Year Award 

This scholarship is aimed strictly at the youth of Saskatchewan as only candidates between the ages of 8 and 18 are able to be nominated. But, the annual prize of a $3000 bursary, is available to the winning candidate for whatever they want to use it for and has no usage requirements or any other stipulations. The prize is sponsored by the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association, SaskPower, and the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan.

Eligibility Requirements

Aside from the age eligibility requirements, all nominated candidates (candidates cannot nominate themselves, but friends, family members and community members can) must reside in Saskatchewan. The other requirements are more intangible and speak to the qualities the nominee must have, such as:

  • Have had the ability to overcome life’s challenges
  • Have a positive lifestyle
  • Are dedicated to community and school
  • Have a strong sense of caring and responsibility
  • Inspire others 

How to Apply

The organization has an online nominating form where anyone can nominate a member of their community. The nominator must give the nominee’s name, and describe how the nominee has fulfilled the requirements of the bursary, such as contributing to their community, and how they have overcome obstacles.

Prize/Award Amount

Four awards of $3000 each are handed out every year to successful nominees.

4. The Louise Joanne Twerdy Leadership Bursary 

Born from tragedy and seeking to help those who have experienced personal loss because of impaired driving, this bursary sponsored by the Canadian chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is aimed at students who have been physically, mentally and financially impacted by a drunk-driving accident. Students whose family members have been impacted by impaired driving accidents are also eligible.

Eligibility Requirements 

The bursary has strict eligibility requirements to which applicants must adhere to be considered. MADD asks that all applicants provide official medical and police reports confirming that their accident was caused by an impaired driver. If the accident occurred to a family member (only immediate family members, such as parents or a sibling, will be accepted), the applicant must also provide documentation explaining the extent of their injuries, or, if they were killed, provide a coroner’s report or other proof that their death was caused by drunk driving.

Applicants must also submit transcripts and a short essay (maximum 2 pages) describing the ways in which this accident, injury or death has adversely impacted the student’s life and academic pursuits. But MADD also choose winners based on factors such as leadership qualities, compassion and dedication to improving the lives of others.

How to Apply

MADD has an online application form that applicants can also download and complete by hand.

Prize/Award Money

MADD awards a single $10,000 to the winning applicant, but also disburses $5000 prizes to runners-up.

5. The National Essay Contest

The National Essay Contest is directed at students who speak French either as a second or first language, and intend to major in French at any one of several partner universities around Canada with Francophonie programs from universities in Manitoba to the University of Alberta and the University of Winnipeg and the University of Calgary. Students must write an essay in French based on a specific prompt (the prompt changes every year), and list their three preferred post-secondary institutions on their application form.

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants must currently be in their last year of high school and fit into one of two categories set forth by French for the Future, the non-profit that sponsors the contest. Students must either indicate their French language level as French as a Second Language (FSL), or French as a First Language (FFL). Applicants must accurately describe their level of French, as the contest judges may request a written test or interview to verify their stated fluency.

If the contest judges find that an applicant belongs in the FFL category, despite listing their fluency as FSL, or vice-versa, they will be disqualified. The essay portion of the application is limited to only 750 words. The essay question for the past contest was:

“What is the impact of social media on the music industry and the musical creative process?”

But the essay is also scored according to the applicant’s adherence, or not, to the 750-word limit. Students who submit an essay less than 700 words or more than 800 are disqualified. Students who manage to write an essay between 725 and 755 words are awarded two points. One point is awarded to an essay that does not go over or under the word limit but are longer than 755 and shorter than 725.

How to Apply

The contest has an online application form where applicants can both list their three preferred institutions and upload their essay.

Prize/Award Amount

The scholarships are distributed by the partnering universities and winners receive scholarships offered by their preferred institution. For example, York University offers winners either a $20,000 or $12,000 scholarship if they chose to attend the Glendon campus, which is where the school’s French language program is located. Every partner school has different amounts and all applicants must also meet the eligibility requirements of each program to be considered for the scholarship.

6. TransCanada Energy Scholarships

This energy company offers students around North America a chance to win scholarships in three different categories:

  • STEM Scholarship
  • Indigenous Legacy Scholarship
  • Trades Scholarship

The company awards up to 750 scholarships to qualified students every year totaling over $2 million dollars.

Eligibility Requirements

The requirements for each of the TC Enegry scholarships includes one weird requirement, in that all applicants must live near an outpost or TC Energy facility in Canada. Along with that requirement, the only other criteria are:

  • Being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Be enrolled in a post-secondary institution for the following year
  • Demonstrate financial need

How to Apply

The company has a short pre-screening application on its website where applicants can see if they qualify for any of the three scholarships. They must indicate their citizenship status, where they live, and whether they are planning to attend a post-secondary institution in the upcoming year. Applicants are then sent more application information if they qualify.

7. OTIP Bursary Program

This program is sponsored by the Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan (OTIP) and has few eligibility requirements, which make it a very unique bursary. Up to 20 students every year are awarded a bursary in the amount of $1500 to support their post-secondary education in whatever subject or area and regardless of the institution they are attending.

Eligibility Requirements

The only two eligibility requirements for this bursary are:

  • Planning to enroll, or already enrolled in, a post-secondary institution
  • Be covered themselves or have a family member covered by a OTIP insurance plan

How to Apply

There is a short application form on the OTIP website that applicants can complete and submit. There are no essays or written materials that applicants must submit. They must only give information about where and what they plan to study and the number of the insurance plan they are covered by.

8. The Fred Upshaw Scholarship

Named after the first Black President of a Canadian union, this scholarship offered by the Ontario Public Sector Employee’s Union is intended for a unique candidate who must meet several eligibility requirements specific to this program. Applicants must be related to OPSEU members who are themselves racial or ethnic minorities.

Eligibility Requirements

Aside from those requirements, applicants must also be interested in pursuing a post-secondary degree at a public university or college. Applicants must also be pursuing a degree in one of three subject areas:

  • Labor relations
  • Social justice
  • Human rights

In addition to these requirements, applicants must also complete a maximum 1500-word essay in response to one of the following questions:

  1. How does tackling and eliminating anti-Black racism in existing structures benefit everyone in our society? What work have you done to dismantle systems in order to create spaces that are fairer and just?
  2. Why is worker activism and union involvement important to make meaningful health and safety improvements in the workplace?

However, applicants can forgo the essay and respond with an original artwork, written work or other creative piece, which addresses the issues raised by the question. Applicants must also include a short summary of their volunteer, union or community service work and demonstrate a commitment to bettering their communities and raising awareness of worker’s health and safety.

How to Apply

There is an online application form that applicants can fill and submit online, as well.

Prize/Award Amount

The scholarship program awards $1000 to the winning applicant.

9. Instant Record Check Scholarship

This privately sponsored scholarship is intended for any Canadian high school student who is planning to attend a post-secondary institution in the upcoming year. The sponsor, Instant Record Check, processes background checks for people entering professions that require them (law enforcement, medical students, etc.) and asks all applicants to submit essays covering several topics.

Eligibility Requirements

The company asks all applicants to be:

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • Older than 18
  • Planning on enrolling, or already enrolled, in a recognized post-secondary institution in Canada

The only other requirement is that applicants write and submit an original, 300-word essay in response to one of the following prompts:

  • The relationship between a person’s criminal history and their credibility
  • The convenience and threats technology has posed to one’s personal information
  • Your stand on employers doing criminal background checks on applicants
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic affected employment chances and the hiring process

How to Apply

Interested applicants should email their completed essay as a Word attachment to the company, along with contact information and the name of their school. Winners are notified by the company after the application process closes and have one week to accept the prize; if not, another candidate will be selected.

Prize/Award Amount

The total prize money is $500 for the winning applicant. 

10. Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s AbbVie IBD Scholarship Program

This scholarship has a noble motivation and its inclusion here is no way a judgement on those with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease. However, its eligibility requirements are unique and specific because this scholarship is intended to give people living with any type of inflammatory bowel disease the support they need to succeed academically.

Eligibility Requirements

This scholarship is open only to those with a diagnosed case of Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease; proof of diagnosis is established by a Proof of Diagnosis form completed by the applicant’s family doctor. Aside from this requirement, applicants must also:

  • Be Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • Seeking a degree (undergraduate, graduate, associate) from an accredited Canadian university or college
  • Demonstrate their dedication to their own health and wellness 

How to Apply

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, the sponsor of the scholarship, asks all applicants to write a maximum 500-word essay addressing the following questions in their responses

  • Why do you strive for academic success?
  • How do you strive to sustain an optimal level of wellness?
  • What are our personal and academic goals?
  • How do you inspire others through community and school involvement?
  • How would you benefit from the scholarship financially and psychologically?

But students can also address questions such as “why this school?”, “what would you contribute to your future college campus community?” and “tell me about yourself”. Applicants must also obtain two college letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, doctors or employers who can speak to the candidate’s suitability for the scholarship.

Want some tips for answering the question "tell me about yourself"? Check this out:

Prize/Award Amount

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada awards 15 winning applicants with scholarships in the amount of $5000 each. Additionally, one of these candidates may be selected to win the Clinton Shard Memorial Scholarship, as determined by Clinton Shard’s family members, based on their course of study (arts, sustainability, and environmental sciences students are preferred) and community service involvement. 

11. The David Ellis Scholarship

This scholarship was started to honor the memory of David Ellis, who was only 18 when he was killed on the job on his second day. The prize is sponsored by the United Steelworkers union and is primarily for the benefit of the children and grandchildren of USW members. Applicants must be in high school and but there are no other educational requirements, such as planning on attending university, college or a trade school.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must be either the child or grandchild of USW members in good standing (no outstanding debts; dues fully paid), be in high school and submit either a written or video essay responding to one of two prompts, which are:

  • How I would make high school students aware of their risks and their rights in the workplace?
  • How to be a workplace survivor: My personal experience with health and safety on the job.

If they choose to write an essay, it must be between 750-1000 words, in English or French, and must have a cover page where the applicant lists their personal and contact information. If they decide to record a video essay, the completed video must be between three to five minutes in length and uploaded to YouTube. Applicants must then send the link to the video to the selection committe.

How to Apply

All application materials must be sent via email to the United Steelworkers.

Prize/Award Amount

The three regional districts of the United Steelworkers in Canada each award a winner with a $500 prize.


These weird Canadian scholarships may have unique eligibility requirements and be offered by unconventional sponsors but the benefit they provide to the winners is undeniable. Whether it is for applicants who are the children of teachers, steelworkers and union members to those who have suffered unimaginable loss or struggle with their health, these weird Canadian scholarships are still useful to help Canadian students pay for their education at any of the best Canadian schools according to Canadian universities rankings.


1. How can I apply for weird Canadian scholarships?

Each of these scholarships has its own application requirements and process so you should follow the instructions set forth by each scholarship program. 

2. How do I know if I am eligible for a weird Canadian scholarship?

You must check the eligibility requirements carefully to determine whether you are eligible. Some of these scholarships are intended for specific demographics (people with inflammatory bowel disease, children of steelworkers, drunk-driving victims) so you may not be eligible based on those factors. 

3. How are weird Canadian scholarships different?

Weird Canadian scholarships are only weird when compared to more distinguished and well-known scholarships such as the Rhodes Foundation Scholarship or the Schulich Scholarships. They may be directed at young people who are not in post-secondary school but nevertheless contribute positively to their communities or those living near energy production facilities, as with the TC Energy scholarships. 

4. What can I use these weird Canadian scholarships for?

While a majority of these weird Canadian scholarships are for academic pursuits, some of intended for other reasons. They may help with financial resources but also show you how to apply to Canadian universities. The Junior Citizen of the Year scholarship and the David Ellis Scholarship are only for high school students but the prize money can be used in any way. The other scholarships are only intended for academic purposes, and some scholarships send the money directly to the institution selected.

5. Do I need a weird Canadian scholarship?

Whether you need financial assistance to attend post-secondary schools in Canada or are not sure how to get accepted to Canadian universities, depends on you. The award amounts for some of these scholarships may not be enough to fund your entire education so you should look for other funding sources – private or public – if you need to find a way to pay for college or university.

6. What are the amounts for weird Canadian scholarships?

The amounts vary between the scholarships and can start as small as $500 and go as high as $20,000, especially if the prize is offered or sponsored by a university or college. 

7. What do I need to get a weird Canadian scholarship?

You must first check the eligibility requirements to see whether you are eligible, or not. If you are, then you may have to prove your eligibility or submit documentation (written or video essay; art or creative work) that responds to a specific question or prompt. But the supporting documentation must be written by you, so do not use any college essay review services. Depending on the scholarship, you may need to fit other criteria, such as being related to someone in the sponsoring organization, which, in other instances, may disqualify you being eligible. 

8. Should I apply for a weird Canadian scholarship?

Whether you apply or not depends on whether you are eligible to receive the scholarship according to its criteria. If you are eligible, then you should take advantage of the opportunity to help offset the costs of attending a university, especially if you are thinking about how to get into university in Ontario, how to get into university in 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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