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GTA Neighbourhoods with the Best Schools

House-hunting can be hard work, especially when it comes to balancing the needs of a family. Lifestyle, available housing, amenities, distance to work - all must factor in when choosing a new area to call home. But perhaps one of the most important considerations is schooling. Every parent wants to ensure their kids have access to a quality education, and luckily, in Toronto, there are plenty of areas that cater to this need.


What Do We Mean by “Best”?

Before we dive into individual areas, let’s define what we mean by the “best” neighbourhoods for schools. There are a few metrics to consider. Many jump straight to public school rankings, which are based on academic performance. However, other considerations might have more weight with some people than academic results - class size, for example, or availability of extracurricular activities. This is why different sites and agencies disagree on what are the “best” schools in the GTA.

So here we’re going to provide you with information based on a variety of metrics, so you can find the right neighbourhood for whatever your family’s “best” looks like.


Best for Academic Results 

As it’s such a key criteria for many, let’s start by looking at academics. 


The best school across the entire GTA by academic standards is in the Willowdale East area of North York; Avondale Alternative Elementary School is also the best elementary school across the city. The best secondary school is Ursula Franklin, found in the High Park area of the city.



Total No. Schools in Area

No "Good" Schools in Area

Proportion of Area's Schools Designated "Good"

Best School in Area

East York




Bennington Heights Elementary School





Lambton Kingsway Junior Middle School

North York




Avondale Alternative Elementary School





Kennedy Public School





Whitney Junior Public School

West Hill




Highland Creek Public School





Cedarvale Community School

Data sourced from Fraser Institute; a “good” designation is a score of 7.6 or higher out of 10.


Best for Choice

For those aiming for choice, rather than placing all their eggs in one school’s basket, the Rosedale-Moore Park area has five excellent elementary schools and one of the best secondary schools in the GTA. Similarly, Lawrence Park has numerous well-rated schools, both junior and secondary, although this is reflected in the area’s property prices, which are the highest of anywhere in the city. If you are curious about real estate property prices in Toronto and surrounding cities, you can contact one of the Toronto real estate agents from Sutton Group Admiral, who will be happy to answer all your questions. 


East York has the highest proportion of well-rated schools of any area, but its small size means that this still translates to just a handful of excellent schools. On the other end of the scale, downtown Toronto has the most well-rated schools - but also has the most schools overall, making it a slam dunk in terms of area with the most choice, regardless of your needs.


Best for French

French immersion education options are available across the city; among the best are Owen Public School in York Mills, Runnymede Public School in the Runnymede area, just north of High Park, and Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute for secondary education, found in Lawrence Park South. Overall, midtown and uptown host more French immersion schools than lower Toronto.


Best for Student Experience

Not everything is about academics; many parents want their children to benefit from small classroom sizes, more one-on-one attention, and a greater suite of extracurricular activities and access to amenities. In this regard, Avondale Alternative’s elementary and secondary schools in Willowdale East repeatedly come top of many people’s lists. Small class sizes and varied extracurricular opportunities mean that each student can get the most from their education here.


Midtown’s North Toronto Collegiate Institute is another fan favourite, with impressive arts and music programs, as well as academic standards that mean 90% of students gain admission to university.


Best for Special Education Programs

As Canada’s largest city, Toronto is home to the most options for children needing special education programs. These come in the form of dedicated special needs schools, where 100% of the students have special needs, as well as regular schools that have programs aimed at helping students with extra needs.


The best public special needs school overall  - the Dunblaine School - is in Lawrence Park North. This school caters solely to those with learning disabilities, but not to those with additional behavioural or emotional impairment. 


For those with physical disabilities, East York offers the most programs. Schools with behavioural ISPs are clustered in lower Toronto (East York and Etobicoke) as well as around the Scarborough area. And there are perhaps more ISP offerings across the city for autism than for any other individual group, so if your child has this diagnosis, almost any area in the GTA will have a program that can help - though again, many are clustered in the lower Toronto area.


Best for Private Schools

For those looking to secure their kid’s education outside of the public school system, Toronto boasts over 80 private schools. These are scattered throughout the city, but a good number are concentrated in the corridor from Old Toronto, through downtown, up into Rosedale and into North Toronto. The highest rated private school in the city is Head Start Montessori School in North York.


Best for Special Focus

Lastly, some kids know from an early age what they want to focus on, and the GTA hosts many specialized programs for these gifted youngsters. 


Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts in North York is an exceptional Catholic Arts high school focussing on dance, drama, music and the visual arts. St.-Frere-Andre Catholic Secondary School in Dufferin Grove is the top Catholic school overall. Iroquois Ridge High School in the Trafalgar area of Oakville is known for its athletic programs. And Ursula Franklin Academy in High Park has a special focus on STEM subjects. As you can see, these special focus schools are dotted about the GTA, so there is no one area that stands above the rest in terms of this metric.


Best Overall

There are 583 schools covered by the Toronto District School Board alone, so choice is not an issue when it comes to finding a place for your children. And as shown above, different areas have different strengths; but if we look at all of the data together, there are three outstanding areas that boast a multitude of outstanding schools. These are: Rosedale-Moore Park, High Park, and Lawrence Park. 


For more information on schools in the GTA, take a look at this map to see what institutions are in the areas you are considering purchasing in.