Parenting & Family

Sending Kids to School if you live Downtown Toronto

[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 30, 2008
921 posts
49 upvotes

Sending Kids to School if you live Downtown Toronto

Always wondered, there are clearly a ton of condos downtown, and clearly a ton of them that are not dumps, etc. I'm sure lots are owned by people who do not have kids, but there has to be at least a decent percentage for which parents have school-aged children.

Where do these kids go to school? The school ratings for the most part seem to be pretty bad. I can't imagine that people who are living in condos in the downtown core which are now worth a million or so, are sending their kids to a school on Parliament street for example, with a rough-ish neighbourhood and pretty low ratings. I hear that Order Public school is a really good school, but that seems to be about it for downtown. I also can't believe that every parent that is middle class/upper middle class just moves out of downtown when it's time for their kids to go to school. So there has to be some third option, or something that I'm missing. And let's for the sake of argument ignore COVID-19, with the obvious caveat that many more people might not need to choose between living downtown or living in the suburbs but not close to work in a year or two.

I'm asking as someone who wants to live close to work, doesn't care for ever owning a property, but has not figured out where he would send his kids to school without moving to the suburbs.
25 replies
Deal Fanatic
Dec 20, 2018
5595 posts
4665 upvotes
tribe1689 wrote: Always wondered, there are clearly a ton of condos downtown, and clearly a ton of them that are not dumps, etc. I'm sure lots are owned by people who do not have kids, but there has to be at least a decent percentage for which parents have school-aged children.

Where do these kids go to school? The school ratings for the most part seem to be pretty bad. I can't imagine that people who are living in condos in the downtown core which are now worth a million or so, are sending their kids to a school on Parliament street for example, with a rough-ish neighbourhood and pretty low ratings. I hear that Order Public school is a really good school, but that seems to be about it for downtown. I also can't believe that every parent that is middle class/upper middle class just moves out of downtown when it's time for their kids to go to school. So there has to be some third option, or something that I'm missing. And let's for the sake of argument ignore COVID-19, with the obvious caveat that many more people might not need to choose between living downtown or living in the suburbs but not close to work in a year or two.

I'm asking as someone who wants to live close to work, doesn't care for ever owning a property, but has not figured out where he would send his kids to school without moving to the suburbs.
Jean Lumb, Nelson Mandela, Market Lane, water front are the public schools off top of my head in downtown amongst others

I don't understand what you're asking? If there are schools downtown?
Member
Jul 21, 2013
317 posts
228 upvotes
Toronto
What are you defining as “downtown”? Other than cityplace and the financial district can’t think of many areas that don’t have access to schools. Particularly near bloor, plenty of good schools.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 30, 2008
921 posts
49 upvotes
Sorry, I'm not saying there's no access to schools. I'm just saying that most of them seem to have reading/writing scores that are far below Ontario's average. And while that's not all that goes into whether a school is good or not, it's a pretty decent indicator if scores are high, as is it a decent indicator if the scores are low that it's probably not the best school in the world. For most of the downtown core, the in zone school has pretty low scores. Orde Public school seems to be an exception, and from what I hear, it's so popular that even if you get a place in that school zone, you have a good chance of your child having to go to a different school anyway due to too many kids being there (probably because lots of downtown families crammed in that zonedue to the reputation of the school).

Downtown I would define as the square of Jarvis, Carlton Street, Spadina, and Front Street. Now, the reason I'm defining it this way is because the purpose of the question is if someone working in the core can both avoid public transport commute (or having to walk for close to 30 minutes to work) and be able to live in an area where their kid is guaranteed to go to a good school. The answer may well be no.

I do realize that if you just extend it out another few kilometers in each direction, there may be some better schools. But at that point, I'm commuting again, so I might as well then just get a house and move 10-12 subway stops away.

Nelson Mandela school, for example, which Stats Guy cited above, and does have pretty large coverage for people living in the above area I mentioned, has pretty awful math/reading/writing scores.
Deal Guru
Dec 5, 2006
10819 posts
5812 upvotes
Markham
tribe1689 wrote: Sorry, I'm not saying there's no access to schools. I'm just saying that most of them seem to have reading/writing scores that are far below Ontario's average. And while that's not all that goes into whether a school is good or not, it's a pretty decent indicator if scores are high, as is it a decent indicator if the scores are low that it's probably not the best school in the world. For most of the downtown core, the in zone school has pretty low scores. Orde Public school seems to be an exception, and from what I hear, it's so popular that even if you get a place in that school zone, you have a good chance of your child having to go to a different school anyway due to too many kids being there (probably because lots of downtown families crammed in that zonedue to the reputation of the school).

Downtown I would define as the square of Jarvis, Carlton Street, Spadina, and Front Street. Now, the reason I'm defining it this way is because the purpose of the question is if someone working in the core can both avoid public transport commute (or having to walk for close to 30 minutes to work) and be able to live in an area where their kid is guaranteed to go to a good school. The answer may well be no.

I do realize that if you just extend it out another few kilometers in each direction, there may be some better schools. But at that point, I'm commuting again, so I might as well then just get a house and move 10-12 subway stops away.

Nelson Mandela school, for example, which Stats Guy cited above, and does have pretty large coverage for people living in the above area I mentioned, has pretty awful math/reading/writing scores.
Just checked Nelson Mandela school's score, that's pretty bad. Wondering whether it's because almost 1/3 students have special need.
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2013
3570 posts
1320 upvotes
Woodbridge
tribe1689 wrote: Sorry, I'm not saying there's no access to schools. I'm just saying that most of them seem to have reading/writing scores that are far below Ontario's average. And while that's not all that goes into whether a school is good or not, it's a pretty decent indicator if scores are high, as is it a decent indicator if the scores are low that it's probably not the best school in the world. For most of the downtown core, the in zone school has pretty low scores. Orde Public school seems to be an exception, and from what I hear, it's so popular that even if you get a place in that school zone, you have a good chance of your child having to go to a different school anyway due to too many kids being there (probably because lots of downtown families crammed in that zonedue to the reputation of the school).

Downtown I would define as the square of Jarvis, Carlton Street, Spadina, and Front Street. Now, the reason I'm defining it this way is because the purpose of the question is if someone working in the core can both avoid public transport commute (or having to walk for close to 30 minutes to work) and be able to live in an area where their kid is guaranteed to go to a good school. The answer may well be no.

I do realize that if you just extend it out another few kilometers in each direction, there may be some better schools. But at that point, I'm commuting again, so I might as well then just get a house and move 10-12 subway stops away.

Nelson Mandela school, for example, which Stats Guy cited above, and does have pretty large coverage for people living in the above area I mentioned, has pretty awful math/reading/writing scores.
The scores are more of a reflection of the access that students have to resources outside of school rather than the quality of the education itself. Teachers don't look around at school rankings to decide where we go. You don't have better teachers at higher-ranked schools or vice versa. There are places in the world in which this is the case and you actually get better teachers earning more working at higher-ranked schools. That's not the case here. The biggest indicators of a child's success are socio-economic factors, the level of education of their parents and the level of education of their peers' parents. Children of educated parents with financial means will do well in low-ranked schools and children of uneducated parents that are struggling financially will struggle in high-ranked schools. Our post-secondary admission system also doesn't care what school you went to. A 96% average from the absolute "worst" public high school in the province will get you into any post-secondary program in the country. Again, this is not true everywhere, and it can be very difficult trying to help some parents understand that the education system here doesn't operate in the same way as it does back home.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 30, 2008
921 posts
49 upvotes
I do know about the correlation between parents' means, education levels and the child's success, but I was under the impression that the child's success would also correlate positively to the bond/friendships they form (i.e. if they are fiends with other kids whose parents are educated, of higher means, etc). I do understand that the quality of teachers should be the same, and the curriculum should be the same. It's the peer influence that I am more worried about in a lower-ranked school.

I think you may be saying something similar when you talk about the level of education of their peers' parents being one of the biggest indicators? If so, that's my primary worry about these schools, as I do understand that a school generally gets a budget per child per year, and that they're not generally funneling more money per child in certain schools and less in others.
Deal Guru
Dec 5, 2006
10819 posts
5812 upvotes
Markham
tribe1689 wrote: I do know about the correlation between parents' means, education levels and the child's success, but I was under the impression that the child's success would also correlate positively to the bond/friendships they form (i.e. if they are fiends with other kids whose parents are educated, of higher means, etc). I do understand that the quality of teachers should be the same, and the curriculum should be the same. It's the peer influence that I am more worried about in a lower-ranked school.

I think you may be saying something similar when you talk about the level of education of their peers' parents being one of the biggest indicators? If so, that's my primary worry about these schools, as I do understand that a school generally gets a budget per child per year, and that they're not generally funneling more money per child in certain schools and less in others.
Your concern is certainly legit

You want your kids befriend with someone who have value/personality you appreciate

That's why private schools have parents interviews, so they can cut out people who are not part of their class
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2013
3570 posts
1320 upvotes
Woodbridge
tribe1689 wrote: I do know about the correlation between parents' means, education levels and the child's success, but I was under the impression that the child's success would also correlate positively to the bond/friendships they form (i.e. if they are fiends with other kids whose parents are educated, of higher means, etc). I do understand that the quality of teachers should be the same, and the curriculum should be the same. It's the peer influence that I am more worried about in a lower-ranked school.

I think you may be saying something similar when you talk about the level of education of their peers' parents being one of the biggest indicators? If so, that's my primary worry about these schools, as I do understand that a school generally gets a budget per child per year, and that they're not generally funneling more money per child in certain schools and less in others.
The government certainly doesn't provide more money to one school over another but there are differences between schools with parent councils that are able to fundraise more than others. There are very specific rules that govern how a school council may use its funds. Funding from parents cannot be used for instructional material; however, it can be used to support extracurricular activities or for some equipment. The school I currently work at is surrounded by homes with an average value of around $2.5 million. A few years ago, I worked in a community in which I'm not convinced the entire neighbourhood combined was worth $2.5 million. Did I see some differences? Yes. Do I think that they had impacts on the students' experience? Maybe, but it's hard to say, and they certainly weren't obvious. I think that if you're worried about your children finding peers that are similar to them then you should consider that all schools have a certain distribution of kids based on these factors and that your kids will likely find peers that are similar to them, live in the same building(s) as them, play at the same community centres as them, are members of the same teams as them, and have parents that are similar to yourself.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jul 5, 2004
25644 posts
4785 upvotes
More than schools, I've always wondered how people raise kids downtown.

It just seems to me like kids who grow up downtown wouldn't get much time to play outside. It's not as if they can just go outside and play, because there's nothing but roads all around the building. Parents can obviously take their kids to a park, but that's not convenient so probably doesn't occur daily.

Maybe it's because I live in a rural area, but I just don't know what I would do if I was in a condo with a young child. I think it would be very boring.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 10, 2003
5549 posts
1548 upvotes
Toronto
Shaner wrote:
Maybe it's because I live in a rural area, but I just don't know what I would do if I was in a condo with a young child. I think it would be very boring.
Yes, that's exactly why you think that. Just like I would think that living in a rural area would be boring AF, and provided limited life experiences for children growing up. Wait, I don't actually think that, because I'm not close minded. And guess where I grew up?
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
2897 posts
1607 upvotes
Ottawa
Shaner wrote: More than schools, I've always wondered how people raise kids downtown.

It just seems to me like kids who grow up downtown wouldn't get much time to play outside. It's not as if they can just go outside and play, because there's nothing but roads all around the building. Parents can obviously take their kids to a park, but that's not convenient so probably doesn't occur daily.

Maybe it's because I live in a rural area, but I just don't know what I would do if I was in a condo with a young child. I think it would be very boring.
Yeah we know what we know. It is not typical in Canada but in most of the world it is normal.
Most people think it would be more boring to live in a rural area. I personally think unstructured outside play without direct parental supervision is highly underrated but most people think kids being able to go to museums, theaters, etc is much more enriching. If you look at academic performance this seems to back this theory. Even if you look at an equal group like the kids of family doctors or something the kids in the city win the academic awards etc. I wonder if the reverse is true for happiness and mental illness but I don't think that has been studied.

To answer OP question. Private school is probably a popular choice. Fraser Ranking gives a good indication but is not perfect. The very low scoring schools might be best avoided but an 8 isn't necessarily better than a 6.5. Either are probably fine for most kids.
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4350 posts
891 upvotes
Toronto
fogetmylogin wrote: Fraser Ranking gives a good indication but is not perfect.
My understanding is that for Ontario schools, the Fraser Institute rankings are just repackaged EQAO scores, with all the caveats already discussed by @OntEdTchr

I welcome correction if that's not the case.
Deal Guru
Dec 5, 2006
10819 posts
5812 upvotes
Markham
JHW wrote: My understanding is that for Ontario schools, the Fraser Institute rankings are just repackaged EQAO scores, with all the caveats already discussed by @OntEdTchr

I welcome correction if that's not the case.
Repackage yes. But ranking gives you a good sense about school performance, mainly on students.

Similar to S&P 500
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4350 posts
891 upvotes
Toronto
smartie wrote: Repackage yes. But ranking gives you a good sense about school performance, mainly on students.
It tells you how well the students do on those tests. Doesn't tell you how good the teachers are, how well the school is run, or how well your kid will do on the tests.
Deal Guru
Dec 5, 2006
10819 posts
5812 upvotes
Markham
JHW wrote: It tells you how well the students do on those tests. Doesn't tell you how good the teachers are, how well the school is run, or how well your kid will do on the tests.
It doesn't directly relate to the teachers . As we have discussed, there are multiple factors instead of teachers alone

But do you want your kid befriend with other high performance kids or average or even below average performance kids?

We tend to mirror the people around us. So it's better study in a school that has high ranking(as you said , showing how well students do)

Same as university, other students success doesn't mean your kids will be successful. But success probability between MIT and Seneca college certainly are different ( no need go as far as to discuss how to define success)
Deal Fanatic
Dec 20, 2018
5595 posts
4665 upvotes
lestat83 wrote: What are you defining as “downtown”? Other than cityplace and the financial district can’t think of many areas that don’t have access to schools. Particularly near bloor, plenty of good schools.
City place has two schools right in the middle of the community in canoe landing paeky along with childcare and community centre
Deal Fanatic
Dec 20, 2018
5595 posts
4665 upvotes
Shaner wrote: More than schools, I've always wondered how people raise kids downtown.

It just seems to me like kids who grow up downtown wouldn't get much time to play outside. It's not as if they can just go outside and play, because there's nothing but roads all around the building. Parents can obviously take their kids to a park, but that's not convenient so probably doesn't occur daily.

Maybe it's because I live in a rural area, but I just don't know what I would do if I was in a condo with a young child. I think it would be very boring.
I was bored out of my mind growing up in a suburb and still bored out of my mind living in one . There's like nothing outside, very few If any people, empty parks and empty streets. Nothing to see or do that's linked to civilization, barely anything in walking distance. Lucky if you can walk to a shopper's or mcsysco restaurant.

Homogeneous sociodemographic neighborhood which isn't great. Worse thing about burbs let alone rural area is just nothingness especially for kids, can't go anywhere or do anything without someone driving you and driving is terrible for occupants let alone environment and leads to life of poorer health outcomes based on numerous studies.

If I have kids, I'll move back into the city into a condo. Toronto is pretty boring already but sort of best there is already other than maybe Vancouver in this country
Newbie
Jan 26, 2014
70 posts
11 upvotes
Toronto
I've went to school downtown and I am sending my child to school in Richmond Hill. The socioeconomic divide is real. I notice that parents in Richmond Hill are very invested into their kids education and will take extra steps to give their kids a leg up whether it be sending them to after school programs or having the motivation of spending time teaching their kids. I'm busy teaching my son reading and writing everyday just to keep up. I've also noticed that parents in Richmond Hill have higher education and can teach their kids university level math, physics and science. It is more mixed downtown as not all parents have the time or finances to send their kids to programs or give extra help.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 4, 2006
3798 posts
799 upvotes
tribe1689 wrote: Always wondered, there are clearly a ton of condos downtown, and clearly a ton of them that are not dumps, etc. I'm sure lots are owned by people who do not have kids, but there has to be at least a decent percentage for which parents have school-aged children.

Where do these kids go to school? The school ratings for the most part seem to be pretty bad. I can't imagine that people who are living in condos in the downtown core which are now worth a million or so, are sending their kids to a school on Parliament street for example, with a rough-ish neighbourhood and pretty low ratings. I hear that Order Public school is a really good school, but that seems to be about it for downtown. I also can't believe that every parent that is middle class/upper middle class just moves out of downtown when it's time for their kids to go to school. So there has to be some third option, or something that I'm missing. And let's for the sake of argument ignore COVID-19, with the obvious caveat that many more people might not need to choose between living downtown or living in the suburbs but not close to work in a year or two.

I'm asking as someone who wants to live close to work, doesn't care for ever owning a property, but has not figured out where he would send his kids to school without moving to the suburbs.
I think people move to the suburbs for a variety reasons, some founded and some not including the school rankings. I think everyone knows that success depends on the individual but many people just feel better about sending their child to a higher "ranked" school.

Also in many cases, there's more family support in the suburbs.
Shaner wrote: More than schools, I've always wondered how people raise kids downtown.
...
Yeah I think they really have to think of different extra curricular activities and support. For example, there aren't many kumon's between Annex and Distillery District (there's one in china town). I haven't looked but I suspect that you'd have to figure something creative out for swimming and skating lessons too.

Top