For many families eyeing homes for sale in Toronto, the search starts and ends with schools.
So much so, an otherwise perfect property with top-notch finishes and convenient access to amenities may not get a passing grade (or an offer) for the simple fact it’s not located near one of the city’s best schools.
The good news for families in Toronto is the city is no stranger to top-performing schools. In fact, Toronto is the only city in the GTA where public elementary schools scored a perfect cumulative rating of 10 by the Fraser Institute, which is widely regarded as Canada’s leading research organization and the authority on school rankings.
Here is the list of best elementary schools in Toronto, according to the Fraser Institute’s latest results. A variety of public, private and Catholic elementary schools were included in this list.
Best public elementary schools in Toronto
Avondale Alternative Elementary School (25 Bunty Lane)
- Fraser: 10/10
One of only two public elementary schools in the entire GTA to score a perfect 10 by the Fraser Institute, Avondale has been sculpting young Toronto minds for nearly 40 years.
Originally nestled on the quiet tree-lined street of 171 Avondale Avenue in Willowdale East, the school is currently in the midst of changing to another location in the same neighbourhood to accommodate for the growth in North York’s population. The new proposed building will stand three storeys tall and will include a total of over 60,000 square feet that will house traditional classrooms as well as additional technology, art and music rooms.
The school’s new structure, which is receiving over $20 million in funds from both the province and municipality, is an evident sign the school is in the midst of transformation and a notable expansion in its student body.
Despite these changes, Avondale still stands head and shoulders over other public elementary schools in the city. According to the Educational Quality And Accountability Office (EQAO), Avondale’s Primary students combined achievement results for Reading, Writing, and Mathematics between 2014 to 2016 was an unprecedented 100 per cent for all three subject areas, which means all Grade 3 students perform at or above the provincial standard. For Juniors in Grade 6, the figures were 100, 94 and 84 per cent for Writing, Reading and Mathematics respectively.
Hollywood Public School (360 Hollywood Avenue)
- Fraser: 10/10
Hollywood Public School and Avondale (mentioned above) share a lot in common. Both are situated in the same neighbourhood of Willowdale East and are the only public elementary schools in the GTA to nab a perfect score by the Fraser Institute. Plus, the two schools boast enviable academic track records, with 100 per cent of Primary students and nearly all Juniors performing at or above provincial standards in critical subjects like Mathematics.
Over a half-a-century old, Hollywood PS is now home to a sizeable library, computer lab as well as top-notch sporting amenities that include two playgrounds, a soccer field and baseball diamond.
The top-tier staff is what really elevates Hollywood PS onto the list of best schools in Toronto. From adopting teaching practices that empower students to think critically (e.g. using the TAPE method – Think, Answer the question, Prove your answer and Extend the answer) to integrating yoga and meditation into classes, students at Hollywood PS are nurtured in a supportive and innovative learning environment.
Hillmount Public School (245 McNicoll Avenue)
- Fraser: 9.9/10
Situated in the upper-east corner of North York, in the neighbourhood of Hillcrest Village, Hillmount Public School rounds off the list of Toronto’s three best performing public elementary schools.
As one would expect, EQAO findings point to the fact that well-over 85 per cent (and often 100 per cent, depending on the subject and Grade) of the school’s student body meets or exceeds provincial academic standards.
First built in 1971, the school serves an intimate group of 325 students, hence its slogan “A small school with a big heart.” Educating children from kindergarten to Grade 6, Hillmount PS also features special education classes such as Gifted Programs.
Best private elementary schools in Toronto
Nile Academy (5 Blue Haven Crescent)
- Fraser: 10/10
Nile Academy’s all-girls campus, which educates girls from kindergarten to Grade 12, is nestled in the city’s west end, a hop skip and jump from the 2.3 hectare Bluehaven Park in the neighbourhood of Humbermede.
One of just five private elementary schools in the entire province to get a perfect ranking from the Fraser Institute, Nile was founded in 2005 and has since faithfully executed on its vision to “be the best Private School in Toronto.”
In its full-time Kindergarten programs, the teacher-student ratio is just 1 to 10, which means students get individual attention in an intimate class size. Nile’s robust curriculum, which includes Art, Music, Social Ethics and Science, is complemented by the school’s extracurriculars, such as the “Science and Math Olympics” and even horse riding.
The English-speaking school has Turkish roots, and consequently, offers a variety of classes revolving around the Turkish language and the country’s history. The Nile Academy also features dormitories for international students as well as an online database for parents to view their child’s performance.
Sathya Sai School of Toronto (451 Ellesmere Road)
- Fraser: 10/10
Ranked in the first percentile of elementary schools in the province, the non-profit private institution of Sathya Sai received a perfect rating of 10 rating by the Fraser Institute. Established in 2000, the school proudly wears its ideals of balancing academic excellence and character development right on its sleeve – promoting values of truth, peace, love and nonviolence.
Named in honour of Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba, the school opens its doors to students of all backgrounds.
Academically, the school is an undisputed top-performer, having received awards or nominations for Excellence in Language Arts and Mathematics by the Fraser Institute. The fact student-teacher ratios sit at 20 to 1, also means students get plenty of personal attention when learning.
Beyond the traditional subjects of math and science, Sathya Sai also embraces non-conventional teaching practices, weaving in meditation, yoga and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle during class hours.
The school also promotes the spirit of volunteerism, which is perhaps best demonstrated by the student-organized event “Walk for Values.” A tradition first created in 2003, the Walk for Values campaign has now been launched in 30 countries, where the act of walking represents a pledge and personal promise that you will practice your values.
Islamic Foundation (441 Nugget Avenue)
- Fraser: 9.9/10
First established in 1969 as a neighbourhood Mosque, the Islamic Foundation of Toronto (IFT) later expanded in 1983 to encompass an elementary school. Located in the Scarborough neighbourhood of Agincourt South-Malvern West, the Foundation stretches across an impressive 2.3 acres, with a new 12 acres campus expected to open soon in Durham as well.
The Islamic Foundation School Toronto, which includes a total of 600 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, rigorously upholds its high academic standards, even restricting the ability for students who were unsuccessful in achieving a passing mark from repeating the grade. Moreover, new children looking to enter from Grade 2 are required to achieve at least 65 per cent in their entrance exam to be admitted.
Islam and its religious practices play a central role in the school, and the Foundation as a whole. From Ramadan events to offering Religious-based schools (separate from academic school mentioned above) Islam is a centerpiece of IFT’s school.
Best Catholic elementary schools in Toronto
For our look into the best Catholic elementary schools in Toronto, school performance data from the Educational Quality And Accountability Office (EQAO) will largely be referenced due to a lack of information on Catholic schools from the Fraser Institute.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help (1 1/2 Garfield Avenue)
Nuzzled between the areas of Deer Park and Moore Park, the award-winning Catholic elementary school has deep roots in Toronto’s Catholic community. The school traces its origins to as far back as 1856, when St. Basil’s parish built a small wooden room school for Catholic children in the area around Deer Park and Yonge Street.
Today, the school is located at 1 1/2 Garfield Avenue in the neighbourhood of Rosedale-Moore Park, an address it’s occupied since 1923.
Academically, the school boasts top marks. According to the EQAO, at least 90 per cent of Grade 3 Primary students and Grade 6 Juniors perform at or above the province’s standards for Reading, Writing and Mathematics, with the figure climbing up as high as 98 per cent in some subject areas and Grades.
Students at Our Lady of Perpetual School don’t only hit the books hard, but also have a host of athletic activities to participate in. From Cross Country to volleyball, soccer, hockey and more, the school features a host of athletic events.
St. Sebastian (717 Brock Avenue)
Centrally located in the neighbourhood of Dovercourt-Wallace Emerson-Junction, St. Sebastian hosted its first class in 1972. With links to Toronto’s Italian community, a large segment of students are of Italian and Portuguese descent, although, the school does feature a diverse background of students.
According to combined achievement results from the EQAO, the proportion of Primary Grade 3 students at or above Ontario’s provincial standard doesn’t drop below 91 per cent in the major subject areas, even skyrocketing to 98 per cent for Writing.
Annunciation (65 Avonwick Gate)
Annunciation is another one of Toronto’s best schools that happens to be located in North York. Situated in the neighbourhood of Parkwoods-Donalda, where average detached home prices shoot above $2 million, the school has been a staple of the area since the 1960’s.
Students at Annunciation score top grades, with over 85 per cent of both the Primary and Junior student population boasting academic performance that either meet or exceed Ontario’s standard. The only exception is in Junior Mathematics, where the figure still stands at a very respectable 78 per cent.
- Read More: 3 Excellent secondary schools in Toronto