Choosing a School in Toronto

When relocating to Toronto, choosing the most appropriate education option for your child or children is important to your peace of mind. When choosing a school in Toronto, you have quite a few options, from secular or religious public school, to a variety of private school options. We at can help you understand what makes each option special.


Public School in Toronto:

Public school in Ontario is free and compulsory for children age from six years to 18 years old (unless they graduate earlier). The system is composed of four different types of school districts. Within each district there is elementary and secondary school. Some school districts also have middle schools, which are usually grades seven and eight, and serve as a bridge between elementary and secondary school. The public systems for school in Toronto are English Public, English Catholic, French Public and French Catholic.

The French schools are fewer, and they are reserved for students who are “French-Language Rights Holders,” but if your child does not qualify and you would like him/her to be educated in French, there are great French immersion programs in some English Schools. Public Catholic Schools exist because it is written in the Canadian constitution.

Typically, children enroll in the public school that is closest to where they live (their district). You cannot usually choose the school system for your child, but in certain cases, you can contact another school board and ask for your children to enroll there instead.

To enroll your child: 

  • Contact the school board for the district in which you live.
  • Make an appointment, and provide proof of his/her birth, proof of address, proof of health and immunization, and proof of guardianship if the child does not live with his/her parents.

The school calendar: 

  • School is five days a week, from Monday to Friday. The school day typically lasts from 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. to between 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
  • The “school year” runs from Labour Day (early September) to late June.
  • There are national holidays and “per days” during which students don’t attend school
  • There are also longer vacation holidays including two weeks at the end of December and one week at the end of March.

Private School in Toronto:

Private schools in Toronto are a popular alternative, and some believe they produce stronger academic results. However, because they are tuition-based, you can except fro pay anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to $50,000 for all-inclusive boarding schools per year. A private school might be a better option for your child if he or she has special needs or is gifted in academics, sports, the arts, or another area. There are also options available for those who desire different forms of curriculum, for instance one that does not assess with letter grades.

If you are interested in private school for your child, you can start by using this search engine to browse options. It’s important to begin the process of applying early. Go directly to the schools’ websites for admission requirements, and be sure to visit the schools during one of their open houses. In most cases, children are required to take an exam that assesses their math and language schools, and in some cases there is also an interview process or required portfolio submissions of work. It’s a good idea to apply to multiple schools, in case your child is not admitted to some, or is placed on waiting lists.

No option for school in Toronto is necessarily better than another, it all depends on your personal needs! From, good luck with your decision. 


Find out all about the educational options in Toronto for your children or yourself! Sign up for and check out ‘The Guide.” Its “Education” and “Studying” chapters, are packed full of useful information. Use the “Find a neighborhood” tool on to find neighborhoods with strong school districts.


Further reading about school in Canada:


(Photos: Espace pour la vie Montreal and Mosieur J. via  Flickr, cc)


About Catherine

It’s always been easy for me to have lots of love for Canada. As a native Canadian, I enjoy a both the vibrant cities full of excitement for young people, and the many opportunities to explore more remote parts of the country too. In my day-to-day life, it’s important for me to live an eco-friendly and health-conscious lifestyle. I like to take my kids on outings to the apple orchard in fall, a sugar shack in the spring, and to the many city parks during winter for ice skating, cross country skiing and snowman building. What better way for me to show my thanks to Canada then to help others with their journies of relocating to the country? I hope that I, and the rest of the team, can help ease your mind during your transition. Il n’a jamais été difficile pour moi d’aimer le Canada. En tant que Canadien d’origine, je profite d’une ville dynamique, riche en activités pour les jeunes mais aussi de possibilités pour explorer d’autres endroits du pays. Dans ma vie quotidienne, il est important pour moi de vivre en respectant l’environnement et la santé. J’aime amener mes enfants dans les pommeraies l’automne, dans une cabane à sucre au printemps et dans les nombreux parcs de la ville pour patiner en hiver, faire du ski de fond et des bonhommes de neige. Aider les autres dans leur relocalisation dans ce pays est une des meilleures façon de remercier le Canada. J’espère que l’équipe de et moi pourrons vous soulager dans votre période de transition. //