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Toronto's Outstanding Schools

An Introduction to Toronto’s Outstanding Schools

Mar 6, 2024 | Toronto

There are many reasons families, professionals, and newcomers to Canada choose Toronto as the place to put down roots. With incredible recreational activities, safe neighbourhoods, and endless career options, it is the ultimate family-friendly community. 

However, the foundation of all of this is an excellent education system, which may be the biggest draw of all to the great City of Toronto. Whether you choose a public option or a private alternative, you can rest assured that you are setting your children up for success from a very young age. Let’s explore Toronto’s outstanding schools in more detail. 

Toronto Schools: An Overview

Toronto’s education system is guided by four separate school boards. Toronto District School Board and Conseil scolaire Viamonde oversee the public secular schools throughout the city. The Catholic system falls under the Toronto Catholic District School Board for English speaking students and Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir for French based education.

Visiting the websites of the various school boards can help you see what options lie within your catchment area as well as determine their core values and what types of extra support or activities they offer. In addition, a knowledgeable real estate agent can guide you to the neighbourhood schools when you are relocating to the city.  

Want to know even more about what the City of Toronto has to offer? Here is some related reading you may enjoy:

How to Evaluate Possible Schools

Each Toronto neighbourhood may have multiple schools within its catchment area. If you expand your search to private alternatives, you have even more options to choose from. How can you decide what is best for your child?

Tools such as the Fraser Institute and EQAO (Education Quality Accountability Office) can help you evaluate public schools.

The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute is an independent registered charity with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto that evaluates schools through the results of standardized tests. Compareschoolrankings.org is an excellent starting point to begin researching potential schools. It does, however, have some limits. 

  • Some smaller schools may be excellent, but do not receive a rating from the Fraser Institute.
  • Some students perform well in their day to day classes but not as well in standardized tests. As a result, an otherwise excellent school may receive a less than stellar rating.


The EQAO is a provincial agency that monitors the development of reading, writing and math skills in Ontario students. Though the organization also relies on standardized tests, they do take a more holistic approach to evaluating schools. They don’t just determine whether students get high grades, they also analyze whether children enjoy learning and believe they have potential in these subjects.

Like the Fraser Institute, there are limitations and you don’t want to rely exclusively on data produced by the EQAO. For example, your child may be a gifted athlete or possess outstanding musical or artistic abilities. However, schools that produce exemplary results in these subjects are not even on the radar of the Fraser Institute or the EQAO.

To go deeper, you may want to visit a school you are considering in person. Talking to the faculty and other parents can give you excellent insights you may not find anywhere else. This step is particularly important when evaluating private schools that are not under the jurisdiction of any of the official school boards. By performing deep research, you can ensure a superb education for your child. 

Though Toronto boasts many excellent schools, some have consistently delivered above-average results and earned high rankings, both from the Fraser Institute and by parents.

Public Elementary Schools

Whitney Junior Public School: Located in the heart of the prestigious Rosedale neighbourhood, Whitney Junior Public School serves students from JK to Grade 6. Their primary core value is a strong emphasis on leadership skills, with children in Grade 6 acting as peer mentors.  

Rosedale Junior Public School: Also in Rosedale, Rosedale Junior Public School has been serving the neighbourhood for well over a century, with an equal focus on a high level of academics and artistic enrichment. The school welcomes all neighbourhood children from JK through to Grade 6.

Cottingham Junior Public School: For many parents in Summerhill, Cottingham Junior Public School is the highlight of the neighbourhood. The school is dedicated to creating an enhanced learning environment while focusing on the arts, technology and sports.

Blythwood Junior Public School: Lawrence Park is one Toronto’s most sought after neighbourhoods for affluent families, partly due to quality schools like Blythwood Junior Public School which serves students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6.  

Forest Hill Junior and Senior Public School: Children need extensive preparation and education to succeed in our fast moving world today, and Forest Hill Junior and Senior Public School is rising to the challenge. The emphasis is on fostering an enriched environment in academics and the arts for students from JK to Grade 8. Needless to say, this highly rated school is located in the Forest Hill neighbourhood.

Swansea Junior and Senior Public School: Located in the exclusive Swansea neighbourhood, Swansea Junior and Senior Public School is one of Toronto’s top rated schools. A diverse and respectful community strives to inspire students to both academic excellence and cooperative participation in school life. 

John Wanless Junior Public School: John Wanless Junior Public School is located in the prestigious Bedford Park neighbourhood, and is well known for its caring environment and collaborative approach to learning. 

Runnymede Junior and Senior Public School: Once a one-room schoolhouse in Bloor West Village, Runnymede Junior and Senior Public School is now one of the highest rated schools in Toronto.

Public Secondary Schools

William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute: William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute is one of the staples of the Bathurst Manor neighbourhood. The official school motto is “Sua Praemia Laudi,” which translates to “Merit has its own reward.” Staff members and parents work collaboratively to ensure a high standard of excellence, making this one of the top secondary schools in the city.

North Toronto Collegiate Institute: With more than 1200 students, North Toronto Collegiate Institute is dedicated to fostering creativity and critical thinking skills. Though located in the Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood, the school is also popular with parents of teens throughout Midtown Toronto.  

Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts: As the name implies, this Catholic secondary school is highly focused on artistic excellence in disciplines such as dance, music. vocals, drama, and visual arts. Acceptance is granted to students from Grade 7 to 12 based on audition results. 

Leaside High School: Leaside High School is dedicated to helping students develop lifelong skills to prepare them for a changing society. Extensive support is available to help students thrive. An enhanced curriculum includes subjects like languages, digital photography, forensics, and technology. 

Ursula Franklin Academy: Though located in High Park, Ursula Franklin Academy is open to all Toronto secondary students regardless of catchment area. The focus is on advanced liberal arts and science programs to prepare students for the post-secondary level. Ursula Franklin Academy is best known for the success of the Wednesday Program where students can earn credits over and above the standard eight credits per year. Courses include Robotics, Debating, Literary Reviews, and more.

Earl Haig Secondary School: Earl Haig Secondary School is by far the largest secondary school, with over 2000 students each year. Its diversity and lively school spirit helps to promote a cooperative learning environment. Earl Haig is known for its two distinct programs: one for academic programming and the other for artistic development in dance, drama, music, and visual arts. 

Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School and Regional Arts Centre: With an impressive arts program, small class sizes, and advanced placement program, it’s no wonder that Father John Redmond is sought after by Toronto residents whether Catholic or not. This Mimico school takes a “Triple A” approach to education, with a focus on academics, art, and athletics. 

Thinking about buying a new home in Toronto? The resources below can help:

Private Schools

Branksome Hall: Branksome Hall is an independent International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for girls. Though located in Rosedale, admission is open to all students from Junior Kindergarten right through to Grade 12. A focus on advanced problem solving and critical thinking skills is designed to help your daughter prepare for university while thriving in all aspects of life. 

Upper Canada College: Now, let’s talk about one of the leading IB schools for boys. Upper Canada College is located in the premier Forest Hill neighbourhood and provides an exceptional learning experience for students from JK to Grade 12. Parents can choose between a day or boarding school, and alumni include leaders in politics, finance, arts, athletics, media, and more.  

Bishop Strachan School: Also located in Forest Hill, Bishop Strachan School is Toronto’s oldest independent day and boarding school exclusively for girls. Students develop lifelong skills through exploration and discovery. Most impressively, virtually all graduates are offered placement at top-tier universities and colleges around the world.

Fieldstone School: As a Cambridge School, Fieldstone School offers a curriculum that helps students from JK to Grade 8 develop a passion for lifelong learning. 

Havergal College: Named after composer and humanitarian Frances Ridley Havergal, Havergal College in Lawrence Park is devoted to instilling confidence, knowledge, and resilience in young women.

St Michael’s Choir School: St Michael’s Choir School is a semi-private Catholic school for boys from Grade 3 to Grade 12. In addition to an outstanding musical curriculum, the school also offers an enriched academic program that includes extensive instruction in the French language. The success of its graduates makes this a premier choice for parents of all faiths.

Do you want to know more about catchment areas or living in Toronto? We are here to help with anything you need. Reach out to us at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 to connect with us today.