Have you ever wondered what the best-performing public high schools in Toronto are and what neighbourhoods you must consider to send your child to one of those schools? If so, you have come to the right place! Toronto has a lot to offer when it comes to academics. As a parent of a high school student, you have a lot of options available to you. You can consider public schooling, private schools, catholic schools, or schools with a certain focus on academics, sports, or arts.
In this post, I will talk only about the best-performing public high schools, whose scores are in the range of 8 to 10 points, and what neighbourhood they are located in.
Malvern Collegiate Institute
Malvern Collegiate Institute has a ranking of 8 out of 10, and is one of Toronto’s oldest high schools. The school offers a wide range of regular programs, including a French Immersion program and extensive extra-curricular programs in visual arts, drama, music, equity & social justice, and athletics. The Malvern Collegiate Institute serves the Beaches neighbourhood of Toronto, which is known for its beautiful parks, beaches, and bustling shopping and dining scene.
The Beaches is a safe and welcoming community that students and parents alike can feel good about. It is famous for a lot of green space, numerous local stores and coffee shops, low crime rates, and a family-friendly environment. The average income here is around $150K, the average age of the residents is 42 years old and 47% of the households are occupied by families with kids. Typical residents are young professionals planning or raising a family.
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York Mills Collegiate Institute
The next school on my list is York Mills Collegiate Institute with a ranking of 8.1. There is a strong emphasis on academic achievement, student success, and post-secondary preparation. The school has a long history of excellence in academics, performing and visual arts, athletics, and community involvement.
The students and staff of York Mills are proud of their school and their culturally diverse backgrounds, where everyone works together to create a safe learning environment, nurturing, positive and respectful. York Mills Collegiate serves the York Mills, Windfields, and the Bridle Path neighbourhoods. Those are the most expensive areas in Toronto, where you’ll find large homes on very generous lots. Some of these residences are original, and some are renovated.
Recently, developers changed the appearance of this part of Toronto bringing a lot of award-winning designer projects with high-end finishes and ultra-luxury features. Naturally, the housing market here showed a significant price increase. Residents are enjoying their huge lots, wide streets with mature trees, and proximity to highways. However, these areas are quite remote from amenities, which makes its residents very much car-dependent.
North Toronto Collegiate Institute
The next high school is North Toronto Collegiate Institute with a ranking of 8.2 out of 10. It is located near Yonge and Eglinton and covers five neighbourhoods, Allenby, Sherwood Park, Davisville Village, Chaplin Estates, and Moore Park. This school has a well-established reputation as a very strong academic institution. Over 90% of its graduates gain admission to some of the finest and most competitive university programs in the world.
The school is small enough so that its staff truly knows the students, yet large enough to offer a wide variety of academic courses designed to prepare students for post-secondary education.
What kind of lifestyle can you enjoy within the boundaries of these neighbourhoods? All five communities have similar vibes, demographics, features, and lifestyles. They have quite high walk scores because they are located close to major streets.
For example, Sherwood Park is steps away from the Yonge Street facilities. Davisville Village and Chaplin Estates’ residents are enjoying all that Yonge and Eglinton can offer including community centers, local stores, services, restaurants, and a big entertainment mall. The residents of Allenby usually shop, dine and socialize on Eglinton Avenue West. Allenby, Sherwood Park, Davisville Village, Chaplin Estates, and Moore Park are some of the best neighbourhoods in Midtown Toronto.
William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute
The next school on my list is William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute. It is ranked 8.5 out of 10. It offers a longstanding tradition of academic excellence, co-curricular activity, and community involvement, along with a focus on student success. Vibrant student, athletic, music, and leadership councils ensure that a variety of activities provide opportunities for student involvement and leadership.
Their MaCS Program offers Enriched courses in Mathematics, Science, Computer Technology, English, and Geography. So what is it like to live in Bathurst Manor which is within the boundaries of this high school?
Bathurst Manor is a quiet neighbourhood filled with families and a strong sense of community. Parks, playgrounds, and community centers are busy and there are many schools in the area. Sheppard Plaza and other shopping areas are busy in the daytime, but the neighbourhood is fairly quiet at night. Bathurst Manor is a young and family-oriented neighbourhood, with 45% of households occupied by families with children.
It is also a culturally diverse area, with 33% of residents speaking a home language that is neither English nor French and a large Jewish population. The residents of Bathurst Manor tend to be well-educated, with 73% having a postsecondary education. The only downside is that residents are rather car-dependent as city amenities are concentrated closer to Yonge Street.
Earl Haig Secondary School
Earl Haig Secondary School is next on the list with a score of 8.6 out of 10. This facility serves a diverse population and is recognized for its academic focus, enthusiasm for learning, lively school spirit, and commitment to the arts. Even though Earl Haig has a large student population, the safety and well-being of each student are their highest priority. It also ensures a wide variety of curricular and extracurricular opportunities, as well as developing leadership skills.
Earl Haig has two related but distinct programs. The Collegiate Program offers high-quality academic programming. The Claude Watson Arts Program offers an enriched art education in Dance, Drama, Music, Film Arts, and Visual Arts.
The school covers two neighbourhoods, East Willowdale and Bayview Village. East Willowdale is an affluent community and gained its popularity as the amenities along Yonge Street continue to grow and new condo development changes its landscape. The average age of the residents is around 49 years old. With new homes being built, prices for real estate continue rising.
The area is in demand among families with children. Bayview Village is a quiet area, surrounded by community parks and greenery. The neighbourhood is safe, clean, and popular among young professionals, families, and active retirees. While East Willowdale has a walk score of 77 out of 100, Bayview Village features only a score of 55, which means residents are car-dependent.
Leaside High School
We are counting down to our top two schools with the highest rankings! Leaside High School comes in second place with a score of 8.7 out of 10. It is named after the neighbourhood it is located in. The size of the schools allows staff to get to know their students as individuals. They are dedicated to academic achievements and the preparation for post-secondary education and life in a changing society.
Leaside offers a range of programs for students with diverse interests, including numerous languages, digital photography, forensics, and communications technology.
Now let’s talk about Leaside – the neighbourhood in which you have to reside to be able to send your child to this high school. The average age of the residents is 45 years old, the average income is around $250K, and 43% of the households are occupied by families with children. Leaside is a bit removed from Yonge Street and has its own infrastructure. It has a family environment that is supported by numerous places for kids’ sports, extracurricular, or entertainment activities.
Shopping, dining and recreational spots are concentrated mainly on Bayview Avenue, north of Eglinton Avenue East and the plazas inside the neighbourhood. When you are in Leaside, don’t forget to drive through Bessborough Drive, which is Leaside’s most beautiful street!
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Ursula Franklin Academy
Are you ready for the school with the highest ranking? Drum roll, please! Toronto’s top school is Ursula Franklin Academy which is located in High Park. Unlike other public schools, this high school doesn’t accept students based on the designated geographical boundaries. You can live anywhere in Toronto and your child can attend this school. However, the school is capped at 500 students, by design. It offers integrated liberal arts and sciences packages, preparing students for academic programs at the post-secondary level.
The learning experiences offered at Ursula Franklin Academy will reflect not only the learning expectations identified by Ontario Provincial Curriculum but also the student’s own interests, developing a sense of responsibility and individual accomplishments. Great attention is paid to cross-curricular future-oriented skills such as conflict resolution, computer technology, problem-solving, student leadership, and exposure to international languages. Ursula Franklin Academy focuses on the following areas:
- Wednesday Enrichment Program
- Math and Science Programming
- Social Justice integration through all the curriculum areas
- Integrated Technology
Let’s expand on The Wednesday Program a little more as itt is the most unique aspect of Ursula Franklin Academy. On most Wednesdays throughout the year, students do not participate in their regular classes. Instead, they participate in ‘Wednesday Sessions’. Each year students take up to 24 mini-courses (Wednesday Sessions) spread over six units.
This is over and above the regular eight-credit courses they take annually to graduate high school. The content of these courses is varied. Some examples include Robotics, Debating, Literary Reviews, Yoga, Walking Tours, along with many other wonderful opportunities for skill-based learning and “out of the box” experiences.
Admissions into Ursula Franklin Academy
In November 2023, students may apply for admission to Grades 9 and 10. Students will be admitted in Grade 10 if space is available. If the number of students who are eligible to attend UFA exceeds the number of spaces available in any given year, all eligible students will be placed in a pool for a random draw. The admission team expects the following from each of its students:
- They encourage students to consider if UFA’s purpose and values align with their beliefs.
- Applicants should be self-motivated to produce their best work and demonstrate commitment to a challenging and rigorous learning environment.
- All potential applicants and their parents should attend Ursula Franklin Academy’s Open House in November 2023 to gain insight and understanding of the school’s unique culture and programming.
Now that you’ve got your list of Toronto’s best high schools, there are a few other things you should consider. First of all, rankings may be important to you, but you should also make sure you know what school your child would fit in.
Beyond the Toronto District School Board
Several high schools do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Toronto District School Board, but they are still worth your consideration. Their continuous successful performance attracts families year after year. Some specialize in certain subjects such as math, art, and so on. Some belong to the Toronto Catholic District School Board, and others represent a French Immersion Curriculum.
Do you need guidance in choosing a neighbourhood to settle down in? I am happy to help you analyze schools and select an option that meets your needs, budget, and other important aspects. Reach out 647-294-3039 or by email at email@example.com for more information.