What is Mensa?

Mensa, also known as the International High-IQ Society is an organization for people who score in the top 2% in intelligence tests.

Mensa was founded in England in 1946 by Roland Berrill, a barrister, and by Dr Lance Ware, a scientist and lawyer. They had the idea of forming a society for bright people, the only qualification for membership being a high IQ. The original aims were to create a society that is non-political and free from all racial or religious distinctions. The word “Mensa” is simply Latin for “table”, the idea being we are a round-table society where all members regardless of age, sex, race, beliefs or income are considered equals.

The Mensa Canada Society welcomes people from every walk of life whose IQ is in the top 2% of the population. The objective of membership is to enjoy each other’s company and to participate in a wide range of social and cultural activities.

The word mensa (/ˈmɛnsə/, Latin: [ˈmensa]) is Latin for 'table'.

What Does Mensa Do?

Mensa has three purposes:

  • To identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity;
  • To encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence;
  • To provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members.

But that’s not all… We party, discuss, invent, learn, teach, play music, fall in love, climb mountains, cry on each other’s shoulders, laugh a lot and practice the most appalling puns. Some members say they do so much together because they feel “at home” with one another.

For those who like to travel, there is an international network of volunteer hosts for visiting Mensans.

Year round, Mensans gather for regional and national conventions to meet old friends and to make new ones.

Mensans who travel within Canada will find most Canadian cities have local groups. These local groups hold regular get-togethers to play games, share wine and stories, discuss issues, sail homemade rafts, and more.

What Is Mensa Like?

Intellectual Stimulation

Mensa is a society where no two people think alike. But they do think a lot. Share your knowledge with others by joining a Special Interest Group. Attend the convention of any Mensa group in any country to hear stimulating speakers on a wide variety of topics. Participate in local events where, regardless of the setting, lively conversation on every topic imaginable is the norm.

Social Interaction

Introverts and extroverts alike enjoy attending many local activities. Here you can be active or passive, speak or just listen… the choice is yours. Typical events include speaker nights, a book club, pub nights, restaurant outings, games nights, museum trips, discussion groups, movie nights, historical tours and more. Don’t see an event that interests you? You’re welcome to start a new one – all of our events are hosted by members.


Mensa members often refer to the organization as their “second family”. The bond can be immediate and life-long. In Mensa, you are free to voice your opinions and share your ideas on anything under the sun. Your ideas will be respected – but don’t expect everyone to agree with you! Mensa members are definitely individuals, so you can be sure of lively good-humoured discussion wherever Mensans gather.