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The French and Francophone schools of Toronto

Are there French schools in Ontario? This is often one of the first questions that French-speaking families ask when they plan to settle in the Toronto area. The answer is yes, and probably more than you think! Being a father of two boys enrolled in one of the French-language systems myself, I had to look into this question several years ago.


There are three distinct French-language systems in education in Ontario:

  • French schools

  • International French or bilingual schools

  • Public French schools

In this article, I will review each system to help you understand their specificities.


 

Les écoles françaises

These private institutions offer education modeled after that of France, both in terms of curriculum and pace of work. They are primarily (but not exclusively) intended for expatriates who want their children to continue a French education for a seamless transition upon returning to France or in a future relocation to such an institution.

In Toronto, there is only one such institution: the Lycée Français de Toronto. It covers the entirety of French education from Preschool to High School. The Lycée Français de Toronto is accredited by the French government from kindergarten to high school (including the French Brevet and Baccalaureate exams). The annual fees range from $21,000 to $24,000 depending on the grade level, with an additional $4,000 registration fee for the first year. A system of scholarships from the French government is available; more information can be found here.

In general, the Lycée Français de Toronto enjoys an excellent reputation.

 

International French or Bilingual Schools

These private institutions typically offer education following the International Baccalaureate (IB) program (more information here), with the unique feature of being delivered in a bilingual French/English mode. The program closely aligns with North American curriculum standards, ranging from Grade 1 (equivalent to CP) to Grade 12 (equivalent to Terminale). The International Baccalaureate is generally well recognized in France.

In Toronto, the only bilingual international institution is the Toronto French School. It covers the entire academic journey, from Preschool (Petite Section) to Grade 12 (Terminale). The Toronto French School is accredited by the French government from kindergarten to 3rd grade (with the option of taking the Brevet exam). Annual fees vary between $23,000 and $40,000, depending on the grade level, with an additional $9,000 registration fee for the first year. A scholarship system is in place; for more information, click here.

The Toronto French School also enjoys an excellent reputation. It attracts both Francophones and children of Anglophone parents seeking a bilingual education.


 

Public French Schools

As French is one of the two official languages of Canada, Ontario is obligated to offer free public education in French to residents who desire it. Additionally, Catholic schools are also public in Canada. Consequently, two types of public French schools coexist in Toronto: secular French schools and Catholic French schools.

In both cases, these institutions operate similarly to other public schools in the region: they are entirely free, follow the Canadian curriculum (Grade 1 to Grade 12), and admission is based on a school district map (your place of residence will determine which French or Catholic French school you are assigned to).

The level and reputation of schools vary by neighborhoods. Institutes like the Fraser Institute rank public schools (both English and French) by levels. Note that a number of these public institutions offer the International Baccalaureate program, including Le Collège Français and École secondaire catholique Saint-Frère-André.


In Toronto, there are therefore two French school boards:


ViaMonde – Secular French-Language School Board

There are 15 ViaMonde establishments in Toronto, including 11 elementary schools (Preschool to Grade 6) and 4 secondary schools (Grade 7 to Grade 12). You can determine the ones to which you are assigned by entering your address here. Many other ViaMonde establishments exist in cities around Toronto.



MonAvenir – Catholic French-Language School Board
There are 12 MonAvenir establishments in Toronto, including 9 elementary schools (Preschool to Grade 6) and 3 secondary schools (Grade 7 to Grade 12). You can determine the ones to which you are assigned by entering your address here. Many other MonAvenir establishments exist in cities around Toronto.


Our advice: consider the local public school if it has a good standard and/or a good reputation. In addition to being free, the neighborhood school is a great way to socialize – it allows you to get to know other parents and make friends close to home. Moreover, the Canadian school system is well-regarded and helps children build confidence by emphasizing presentations and group projects rather than grades.

Note: Equivalence of Classes in France/Ontario:

 

Simple Relocate is your relocation partner in Toronto. We can assist you in choosing a school or daycare for your children, along with a multitude of other services to facilitate your settlement in Ontario.


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