Schools in Toronto

Hi all,
We are planning to move sometime next year at the start of the school session but before that we are looking into the best elementary school towns for our kids so that we can base our housing decisions on that.
We are moving from US, so we are familiar with the US school system where schools are ranked.
I found this link for best schools rank
However, the top schools are many and was wondering if any of you folks could provide input on where to start. We will be doing our soft landing in next few months and get back to plan our move. So any inputs on the best school towns we should visit while there, where do most folks send their kids to, which neighborhoods to look for housing , any pointers on these topics would really help.


Unlike USA, where the school districts rankings decide the price of a location; here in canada the situation is quite different all together. Pretty much all schools perform alike except for the few in poor neighborhoods that are mostly located in the inner city.

Hi Shashi,

Were you able to find any further information on this? I am in a similar situation like you - planning to move from US to Canada around July 2019 and spend the first 2 months to figure these things out while I’m there.

I found the link to the Fraser Institute ranking as well however it doesn’t do a good job when comparing public vs. private schools in Canada. I started going down the list and realized that a safe way to call out public vs. private schools is to go to each school’s link and refer to the 2nd line under the name of the school, where it calls out ‘Public’, ‘Private’, ‘Catholic’, etc…

For e.g.:

The 2nd school on the list - Avondale Alternative has the following info.:

Avondale Alternative Elementary School
171 Avondale Ave
Toronto, ON M2N2V4
Phone Number: 416-395-3130

School District: Toronto DSB

Looking further, I found the following information on the Toronto District Public Schools and the ‘Avondale Alternative Elementary School’ is part of this school district. I’m sure other cities in GTA would have a similar school district board similar to what is offered in the US.

Toronto District School Board -

Find Your Elementary School -

Elementary School Admission -

School Year Calendar 2018-2019 -

I have not been able to find any information about the public schools in GTA where the schools are ranked against each other or nationally. Unlike what is found in the US with and; I am yet to find a comprehensive nation wide and city wide public school evaluation.

Folks already in Canada - any guidance on this??

Thanks in advance!



Hi Desu,
So we talked to some more folks and learned that most schools are comparable as Mark mentioned except for some neighborhoods. But mostly, I think it boils down where you get a job and where you plan to reside.So when we went to do our PR and visit, we drove around different neighborhoods with the list of schools in mind just to get a feeling of what things are like over there. One thing I did learn is there is a French immersion program in some schools if you are interested in enrolling your kids. Just something to keep in mind is what I was told.
The info you have is certainly much more extensive. So I would be keen to know how things proceed for you when you get there and get to doing more research.
Do keep us posted if you find more info.

Sure thing Shashi! Yes I do agree ultimately it will boil down to the job location. However in speaking with someone who moved from the SF Bay Area to GTA, they opted for a private school (not sure which one) and the fees they are paying for their kid is $8-9K CAD per year. That should be an option too, just in case.

I’ll keep you posted on what I end up with in the next couple of months! Good luck…

Hi Desu

Can you please share what decision you took finally. If you don’t mind sharing, as even I am moving from SF to Toronto and looking for good elementary schools for my kid.


We moved last year, and this was one of the biggest (if not the biggest deciding factor) for the house hunt.

Over the last year and so, we have got to know the Canadian school system bit better, and can say that the variance in the quality (and school ratings) is very small in Canada, as compared to US.
In US, you have either very good schools (everyone wants to live in those communities), or very bad schools, and fewer medium rated schools.

In Canada, you would find most schools in the median range. There are very few highly rated schools (9+).
Rating is again not the best measure of the schools here. Unlike niche & greatschools, Fraser ratings is not that exhaustive and does not take into account anything other than EQAO scores.

We first decided the best schools within 20 minutes of my work location and then decided the house. We landed in the best rated school in RH, but in hindsight feel that the housing market is crazy here and houses regularly go over 20% of listing price.

So if I could go back, I would have chosen a 8-9 rated school, where housing is cheaper. I am not a big fan of private schools and prefer that money being spent on housing/extra curricular classes.

With covid, a lot has changed and I am sure the effects on housing preferences will be visible starting next year.



We are into our 4th year of schooling kids in Toronto with the TDSB board. My oldest started the year we arrived, he was going to turn 4 that year and in Ontario, you start school the year you turn 4, they have two years of the kindergarten program. This is what I’ve learned:

The demographic of your neighborhood matters. More educated demographic equals better school exp. Kids are motivated to learn and teachers opt to teach in schools where kids are excited and parents are involved. Good neighborhood schools don’t necessarily get more money from TDSB, funds are allocated based on enrolments but it’s just the whole attitude of the community that defines the school exp.

Don’t go strictly by the Fraser rating. In fact, in more progressive communities parents don’t believe in standardized testing and the unnecessary pressure it puts on kids so they opt out which affects the school rating.

I remember looking at both Fraser rating and the demographic profile of the neighborhoods at


We are in a school with a Fraser rating of above 8 but less than 9 and have had such a fabulous exp. I feel so much depends on the teacher and so far every year we’ve had excellent teachers. I’m though nervous about schools re-opening this fall !!

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Does anyone know about northern dancer public school? Your inputs plz. Also about john bosco public school and sherwood public school in oshawa… we are totally new to Canada and so confused as to which school is good

HI All,

I can see this as an old post but I am also in very similar situation, so wanted to check with all of you so that I can get some guidance where to start from.

We are moving to GTA next month from the USA and started our hunt for reasonable apartment as well as good school for my second grader.

Can you please help me to understand school system there. Due to Covid, are schools in-person or remote?
Which areas in GTA can be considered for affordable housing?

Please share your inputs.

Most of the Schools are from Sept and few have started in August…
The qualification age is calculated till 31-Dec unlike US where it was August if i remember…

Toronto board (Covers Toronto, North York, Scarborough, Etobicoke etc.) and Peel board (covers Brampton, Mississauga etc.) have asked to submit the choice of virtual school this week otherwise it will be by default in-person schooling, and also they are encouraging in-person school because of very good rate of vaccination among adults and 12+ kids…

For accomodation, are you looking for a 1 or 2 bed apartment in high rise building? or 1 or 2bedroom basement or compete 3 or 4 bedroom house?
Accordingly prices vary as per requirement… But usually prices in Milton/Brampton will be less in comparison to Mississauga or Etobicoke/Toronto…

@srhere Thanks for replying.

Any idea if I can refer somewhere online for which schools could be preferred by ranking etc.

Our preference will be a 2 bedroom apartment either in high rise or if there are societies like in the US. Initially we are fine even to relocate in suburbs as we will be working remotely for now and where schools are good and rent is reasonable. Do you feel any preferred area?

you can check the school ratings on Fraser school ratings. House sigma also provides close enough ratings.

If your kid is in elementary (upto 4th or 5th grade), you cant go wrong with any 8+ school.

We landed directly in Richmond Hill , and have been fortunate to be in an area which has 9+ elementary as well as High school.
Bought a home after 1.5 year of renting.

For a 2 BR apartment/condo, you would be paying upwards of 2400 to 2800 of rent.
You can get a decent 3-4 br townhome for similar rent (though utilities excluded) in a top class school dsitrict in suburbs.

Moving to Canada in 3 weeks. Is school rating important in choosing public schools? I’m looking for a townhome in Mississauga. I don’t find the school assigned to the house in Fraser school ratings. This happened with quite a few houses. I’m not sure what to do. Should I go ahead with a school which is not rated in Fraser? How do I find safe neighborhoods with good schools in Mississauga? Any suggestion will be extremely helpful.