The Best Public Schools in the City of Toronto

The Best Public Schools in the City of Toronto

Deciding where you want to live can be incredibly challenging since there are so many things to consider. Choosing where to live becomes more complex if you have children or are hoping to have children soon.

In this situation, when choosing where to live you are not only thinking about your wants and needs, you also have to think of your children’s needs. Education and kids’ experiences at schools can make a huge difference in a child’s development and trajectory as they get older.

Given the importance of schooling and education, it’s no wonder that families are looking to find the area or neighbourhood with the schools which offer the best education for their children. However, a great education does not have to be expensive.

While there are people who are willing to spend large sums of money to send children to private schools, your child/children can get a great education at a public school. Given how expensive private schools can be, sending kids to private schools might be unattainable for many families. Therefore, it’s no wonder why parents are looking to send their children to public schools.

All things considered, this list includes a list of some of the best public schools for students in Junior Kindergarten (JK) through 12th grade in the City of Toronto. Each school listing includes basic information on the school, such as the grades of the students enrolled, what neighbourhood the school is located in, whether or not it is co-ed or single-gender (male, female, etc.), etc.

It is important to note that this article includes information on some public schools that are considered to be the best in the City of Toronto. This list does not constitute a ranking of public schools in the City of Toronto. All of the schools described in this article are listed in no particular order. In other words, where one school is listed in relation to another school is not meant to imply that one school is better than another school if it is ranked somewhere else on this list.

When you are looking for a school for your child, you should be looking to find a school that is the best match for your student, their unique needs, interests, and abilities. Everyone is different therefore each person’s needs, abilities, talents, interests, goals, and paths are unique and different. While one school might be a great fit for one student, it might not be an ideal fit for another student.

The article is broken up into multiple sections. The first section deals with the best public schools in the City of Toronto, and the best Catholic high schools in the City of Toronto.

Finally, you must check to see whether or not your child or children will need to apply to attend some of these public and Catholic schools. Enrollment at some of these public schools is based on admissions, and other factors such as your child’s provincial report card for grades 7 and 8, their feeder schools, and where you live, among other factors.

Related article: The Best High Schools in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

The Best Public Schools in the City of Toronto 

The best public elementary schools in the City of Toronto

Avondale Elementary Alternative School

For almost 40 years, Avondale has offered an alternate vision of public education for students throughout the City of Toronto. Although Avondale is temporarily located at Bayview Middle School, it is a small, intimate, family-like school community.

Students at Avondale learn in a rigorous academic setting where they learn to develop and cultivate close working relationships with teachers and staff. Avondale’s vision is “to create a safe and nurturing learning and teaching environment that supports optimal development and excellence across all domains.”

Important Information

  • Grades: Junior Kindergarten (JK)/kindergarten-8th, public, co-ed
  • Operated by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB)

Avondale Elementary Alternative School

171 Avondale Avenue, North York, ON, M2N 2V4, +1 (416) 395-3130 (Phone) 

Temporary Location: Bayview Middle School

25 Bunty Lane, North York, ON, M2K 1W4, +1 (416) 395-2050

St. Michael’s Choir School

St. Michael’s Choir School is a semi-private, Catholic, boys’ school, located in the Garden District, in Downtown Toronto. St. Michael’s is operated by The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, and the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Enrollment at St. Michael’s is by application and audition, in contrast to other public schools on this list, there is a tuition requirement for the choral program. St. Michael’s aims to help boys become men, in their pursuit of knowledge and the service of sacred music.

Important Information: 

  • Grades 3-12, Semi-Private, Roman Catholic Boys School
  • Operated jointly by The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, and the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
  • Neighbourhood: Garden District of Downtown Toronto

St. Michael’s Choir School

66 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1X2, Canada, +1 (416) 393-5518

St. Sebastian Catholic School

St. Sebastian Catholic School is a co-ed Catholic public school for children from kindergarten to 8th grade. St. Sebastian aims to create a school community grounded in Catholic beliefs and traditions, to educate students, helping them reach their full potential by providing:

  • “Leadership in the shared responsibility for education that exists among school, students, families, parishes, and community
  • A safe and welcoming learning environment that is an example of a Christian community
  • Role models of Gospel values and Catholic doctrines, teaching and beliefs
  • Guidance in what students need to learn
  • Instruction in the learning process itself
  • Religious, academic, and technological instruction
  • Integration of Catholic, Christian beliefs into the total learning experience”

Important Information

  • Grades: Kindergarten-8th grade, co-ed, Catholic public school
  • Toronto Catholic District School Board

St. Sebastian Catholic School

717 Brock Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6H 3P1, Canada, +1 416-393-5354

***Please note for Catholic public elementary schools in the City of Toronto, that non-Catholic children of non-Catholic parents who are not enrolled in the R.C.I.A./R.C.I.C. programme to convert to Catholicism, will not be eligible for admittance to Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) elementary schools.***

The Best Public Middle Schools in the City of Toronto

Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts 

Cardinal Carter Academy for the arts is a hybrid, co-ed middle and secondary, public Catholic school for students grades 7-12. Cardinal Carter Academy is located in North York, admission is by audition only. They primarily accept students in grades 7 and 9. But, students can be admitted whenever it makes sense academically throughout the year if there is space available in their desired art.

Important Information

  • Grades 7-12, co-ed, Catholic public, arts-focused school
  • Toronto Catholic District School Board
  • Neighbourhood: North York

Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts

36 Greenfield Avenue, Willowdale, ON, M2N 3C8, +1 (416) 393-5556

St. Michael’s Choir School

  • Grades 3-12, Semi-Private, Roman Catholic Boys School
  • Operated jointly by The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, and the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
  • Neighbourhood: Garden District of Downtown Toronto

St. Michael’s Choir School

66 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1X2, Canada, +1 (416) 393-5518

St. Sebastian Catholic School

  • Grades: Kindergarten-8th grade, co-ed, Catholic public school
  • Toronto Catholic District School Board

St. Sebastian Catholic School

717 Brock Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6H 3P1, Canada, +1 416-393-5354

Ursula Franklin Academy

Ursula Franklin Academy (UFA) is a public high school located in the High Park neighbourhood of Midtown Toronto. It is important to note that enrollment at Ursula Franklin Academy is by admission and your student must be accepted in order to enroll here. Admission is competitive given that UFA is known as a well-regarded school and enrollment is capped at 500 students per year.

Ursula Franklin Academy is unique in that in contrast to the majority of schools that are a part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), there is no requirement that you have to live in the neighbourhood to attend this school. In other words, you can attend UFA no matter where you live in the City of Toronto.

Ursula Franklin Academy as an institution prides itself on being a small community of learners, it is known for a school where science and technology are part of its liberal arts-focused curriculum. Teachers at Ursula Franklin use a rigorous curriculum and prioritize teaching students how to be independent learners.

Ursula Franklin, the founder’s work focused on helping students become individuals that are a part of diverse movements that support the advancement of democracy, social justice, and economic justice.

Important Information: 

  • Grades 9-12, co-ed, non-semester, Public High School
  • Toronto District School Board
  • Neighbourhood: High Park, Midtown Toronto

Ursula Franklin Academy

146 Glendonwynne Rd, Toronto, ON M6P 3J7, Canada, +1 (416) 393-0430

Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute

The Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute is a public, co-ed, high school located in Lytton Park, in North Toronto, in what used to be the former suburb of Old Toronto. The school’s motto is “Amor Doctrinae Floreat” (Let the love of learning flourish).

Since Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute’s founding, students, families, teachers, and staff have worked in tandem to create and maintain a community and an environment of academic excellence. In particular, Lawrence Park as a school is committed to providing students with rich and varied academic offerings. A wide variety of academic offerings is intended to help students get involved in extracurricular opportunities that will provide students with many opportunities to develop and cultivate leadership skills.

Important Information:

  • Co-ed public high school, Grades 9-12, Non-semester
  • Toronto District School Board
  • Neighbourhood: Lytton Park, North Toronto, (formerly Old Toronto)

Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute 

125 Chatsworth Dr, Toronto, ON, M4R 1S1, Canada, +1 (416) 393-9500

North Toronto Collegiate Institute

Founded in 1912, the North Toronto Collegiate Institute is a public co-ed high school located in North Toronto. The North Toronto Collegiate Institute is unique is that when the school reopened in 2010, it occupies a five-storey building that shares space and land with two large, high-rise condo towers. The agreement the school has with the community allows for residents of the condo towers and the community at large to use public spaces for this school when classes are not in session.

Furthermore, the North Toronto Collegiate Institute is known for being a well-regarded school with an excellent academic reputation. This institution purports to be committed to creating a diverse community of learners while helping students develop and cultivate their creativity and critical thinking skills.

The North Toronto Collegiate Institute’s enrollment boasts over 1,200 students. However, enrollment is by admission.

Important Information:

  • Public, co-ed, grades 9-12, non-semester
  • Toronto District School Board
  • Enrollment: over 1,200 students
  • Neighbourhood: Yonge-Eglinton, North York, Toronto

North Toronto Collegiate Institute 

17 Broadway Ave, Toronto ON M4P 1T7, Canada, +1 (416) 393-9180

Leaside High School

Leaside High School is another excellent co-ed high school located in the neighbourhood of Leaside in Central-East Toronto, which is known as an excellent school for students interested in languages.

Important Information:

  • Grades 9-12, Co-Ed, Public
  • Enrollment: approximately 900-1000 students
  • Toronto District School Board
  • Neighbourhood: Leaside, Central-East Toronto 

Leaside High School

200 Hanna Rd, East York, Toronto, ON M4G 3N8, Canada, +1 (416) 396-2380

Malvern Collegiate Institute 

The Malvern Collegiate Institute shares the same name as the neighbourhood of Malvern located in Scarborough, the school is located in the area known as the Beaches in the East End of Toronto.

The Malvern Collegiate Institute is a public, co-ed high school that prides itself on its long history promoting academic and extracurricular achievement and excellence, through clubs, sports, and leadership programs. Additionally, they pride themselves on maintaining a close connection to the Beaches community and helping students develop their whole selves.

The Malvern Collegiate Institute offers both an Extended and Immersion French programme, in addition to a wide variety of programming in the arts, including music and drama, business, technology, modern languages, English, geography, science, math, and more.

Important Information:

  • Grades 9-12, co-ed, public
  • Toronto District School Board
  • Neighbourhood: The Beaches, East End of Toronto

Malvern Collegiate Institute 

55 Malvern Ave, Toronto, ON M4E 3E4, Canada, +1 (416) 393-1480

Forest Hill Collegiate Institute

The Forest Hill Collegiate Institute is another well-regarded public high school. It is located in Toronto’ toney, Forest Hill neighbourhood. The Forest Hill Collegiate Institute prides themselves on providing a safe and welcoming educational community to support the needs of their dynamic and diverse students.

The Forest Hill Collegiate Institute prides itself on having an environment that promotes academic excellence as well as having teachers and staff that truly care about students. Their teachers help students develop a love of learning and enjoy ‘Falcon Pride’.

One of their most famous students is Aubrey Graham (Drake), who also owns a house in Forest Hill. Enrollment at Forest Hill is based on admission so your student or students will need to apply if they wish to attend Forest Hill.

Important Information: 

  • Grades 9-12, co-ed, public school, semester, enrollment  
  • Enrollment: approximately 950 students and 55 teachers
  • Toronto District School Board
  • Neighbourhood: Forest Hill

Forest Hill Collegiate Institute

730 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON, M5N 1B9, Canada

Rosedale Heights School of the Arts

The Rosedale Heights School of the Arts is an arts-focused high school located in Downtown Toronto. It has been recognized as being one of Canada’s best specialty-focused high schools because of its excellent artistic programmes.

They accept students not only from the City of Toronto as well as the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). They are the only arts-focused high school that is part of the Toronto District School Board that does not require students to audition as part of their application process. 

It is the only arts high school in Toronto that encourages students to explore the arts in an interdisciplinary manner. They do not expect students to choose a “major” in one specific art during their first two years of high school. 

Important Information:

  • Grades 9-12, public, co-ed, non-semester
  • Toronto District School Board
  • Neighbourhood: Downtown Toronto

Rosedale Heights School of the Arts

711 Bloor St E, Toronto, ON M4W 1J4, Canada

Humberside Collegiate Institute

Established in 1892, the Humberside Collegiate Institute is a public, co-ed high school, located in the High Park neighbourhood of Toronto. The Humberside Collegiate Institute serves students that are ambitious and academically inclined living in High Park, as well as students living in the Bloor West Village, Baby Point, High Park North, and Junction neighbourhoods. They are known for having an excellent academic programme, a strong music programme, Extended and French immersion programmes.

Important Information

  • Grades 9-12, public, co-ed, non-semester
  • Toronto District School Board
  • Neighbourhood: High Park 

Humberside Collegiate Institute

280 Quebec Avenue, Toronto, ON, M6P 2V3, +1 (416) 393-8122

Riverdale Collegiate Institute

Founded in 1907, the Riverdale Collegiate Institute is a co-ed public high school located in the East York section of Toronto. They are known for having strong academic offerings, Extended French, and French Immersion programs. Notably, during the 2019-2020 school year, they are beginning to offer an eight-week exchange program for select 9th grade and 10th-grade students with the Nara Women’s University Secondary School in Nara, Japan.

Important Information: 

  • Grades 9-12, public, co-ed, high school, non-semester
  • Toronto District School Board
  • Neighbourhood: East York 

Riverdale Collegiate Institute

1094 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M 2A1, Canada, +1 (416) 393-9820

The Best Catholic Public High Schools in the City of Toronto

St. Mary Catholic Academy

St. Mary Catholic Academy is a co-ed Catholic public school in the Dufferin Grove neighbourhood, in the western section of the City of Toronto. St. Mary is known for having a student body that has varied interests and needs. It is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, which helps them to accommodate their students’ varied interests. Additionally, they offer a variety of different classes and programmes that provide students with the ability to explore their interests.

Students at St. Mary are lucky to have the opportunity to complete their core courses while having the chance to explore the arts, modern languages, and technology. Enrollment at St. Mary’s is based on admission so interested students will need to apply to this and be accepted in order to attend.

Important Information:

  • Co-ed, Catholic public high school, grades 9-12
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) World School
  • Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCSB)
  • Neighbourhood: Dufferin Grove, West Toronto

St. Mary Catholic Academy

66 Dufferin Park Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 1J6, Canada

Notre Dame High School

Located in the Upper Beaches area, Notre Dame High School is an all-girls Catholic high school. Notre Dame High School is known for its film productions, department for dramatic arts, and strengths in math and sciences.

Important Information:

  • Grades 9-12, all-girls Catholic public school, 
  • Enrollment: between 600-700 students
  • Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCSB)
  • Neighbourhood: Upper Beaches

Notre Dame Catholic School

12 Malvern Avenue, Toronto, ON, M4E 3E1, Canada, +1 416-222-8282

Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts 

  • Grades 7-12, co-ed, Catholic public, arts-focused school
  • Toronto Catholic District School Board
  • Neighbourhood: North York
  • 36 Greenfield Avenue, Willowdale, ON, M2N 3C8
  • +1 (416) 393-5556

St. Michael’s Choir School

Important Information: 

  • Grades 3-12, Semi-Private, Roman Catholic Boys School
  • Operated jointly by The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, and the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
  • Neighbourhood: Garden District of Downtown Toronto

St. Michael’s Choir School

66 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1X2, Canada, +1 (416) 393-551

Conclusion 

Ideally, reading this guide to the best public schools in the City of Toronto will help you to make a more informed choice about where to live in Toronto. Deciding where to live if you have a family or want to have a family can be a complex decision. The best public schools in the City of Toronto and the GTA are spread out across the city of Toronto and the surrounding area.

In a city as big as the City of Toronto, with such a large metropolitan area there should be a school that is right for every child and every family. However, finding the right school for your family might take some time so you should be patient and flexible during this process.

Related article: The Best Neighbourhoods in the City of Toronto

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