Canada’s first French immersion school has a campus in Mississauga

Published February 22, 2024 at 3:55 pm

Canada’s first French immersion school, the Toronto French School, has a campus in Mississauga

Parents who want to give their kids an expansive and bilingual education can sign them up to attend the Toronto French School’s (TFS) West Campus in Mississauga.

Located at 1293 Meredith Ave. in the Lakeview neighbourhood (north of Cawthra and Lakeshore), the West Campus follows the same curriculum offered at the Toronto campus, blending the curricula of France and Ontario within the framework of the International Baccalaureate (IB)’s three programs: the Primary and Middle Years programs, and the Diploma Program.

The campus is open to students from PK (Pre-Kindergarten) to Grade 7.

Toronto French School is known for being the very first French immersion school in Canada. It started in 1962 when co-founders Harry and Anna Giles wanted their three children to be educated in both English and French, the country’s two official languages.

TFS is now renowned as the only bilingual and full continuum IB world school in Canada, providing a high-quality and internationally focused education that’s designed to develop students’ knowledge and skills both inside and outside the classroom.

Visit the West Campus’ open house on Saturday, March 2 to see everything the school has to offer.

An international curriculum

Starting in PK, students are taught French, but in a way TFS describes as beyond immersion. They are taught French as a first language, through play learning, songs, and other activities that make it fun and take out the intimidation factor.

Afraid it’s too late for your child to thrive in a French educational environment? The school says there’s no need to worry – students can enrol at TFS even after PK, and the school’s successful Intro French program will help them quickly learn French and catch up to their classmates in the same grade.

Even at this young age, the students are also introduced to the school’s core values – respect, engagement, discernment and integrity – and learn what it means to live by the school’s motto, which is “Individuals who reflect, citizens who act.”

“We want our students to be academically ambitious and develop as all-round individuals, who have an international perspective and are perfectly fluent and articulate in both French and English,” says TFS.

These students also know how to have fun; outside of class, they can get involved in an array of extracurricular activities and clubs, arts performances, and big community events. Competitive sports start in Grade 3 and almost every student in the school gets involved, and so do a lot of the parents as volunteers.

One of the school’s most popular community events is the French tradition of Chandeleur, where the staff makes delicious crepes for the students, staff and parents to mark the ending of winter and the arrival of spring. The principal sees how high he can flip a crepe and have it land successfully back in the pan!

A look at the Mississauga campus

Having opened 50 years ago, the school’s West Campus in Mississauga is where kids from PK to Grade 7 learn, play, and socialize with each other in a cozy and tight-knit community.

Just like the Toronto campus, the West Campus features a variety of education-focused amenities including a student support centre, a digital studio, two gyms, music and visual arts studios, and more.

Renovation plans are currently underway to convert the school’s mini gym into a large multipurpose gymnasium with a separate maker space and even more classroom space.

Due to the school’s smaller size, the campus has a tight-knit atmosphere where kids quickly develop friendships with their peers. The lower number of students means teachers and staff can devote more time and attention to each student and ensure every child’s needs are being met – even the principal and vice-principal know every student’s name!

Continuing their education at the Toronto campus

The Toronto French School’s Mississauga campus is attended by students from PK to Grade 7, but that doesn’t mean their French education has to end there.

Students who complete Grade 7 can then go on to continue their education at the TFS campus in Toronto, taking advantage of the school’s complimentary shuttle bus service that conveniently runs between Mississauga and Toronto.

Students from both campuses also get to socialize with each other on trips and excursions, like the Grade 5 overnight trip to Blue Mountain, the Grade 6 week-long trip to Quebec City, and the Grade 7 week-long leadership and outdoor skills trip to Camp Kanawana. Additionally, Grade 7 students visit the Toronto campus to get to know the school before transitioning there the following year.

“We make the transition an easy one and let them know we can hardly wait for them to join our Senior School in the fall,” the school says.

An esteemed history

Compared to other schools, the Toronto French School had a very unorthodox beginning. It was formed in 1962 as the first French immersion school in Canada, and at the time only had six students being taught in the basement of the home of the school’s co-founders, Harry and Anna Giles.

“It was a visionary experiment, attracting teachers from France and then from all over the francophone world,” says TFS.

Harry and Anna wanted to give their kids a good education in both English and French, and they found that many other families were just as passionate about a bilingual co-ed education, soon leading to many new students being enrolled very quickly.

As the school began to grow exponentially, the founders secured additional classroom space in a variety of facilities including the basements of churches and synagogues, office spaces, and even a change room at a hockey arena.

Eventually the classes were consolidated into two main areas, forming the Toronto and Mississauga campuses that make up the school today.

Visit to learn more or take a virtual tour, or RSVP for their next open house happening on Saturday, March 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Keep up with all of the latest news and updates at the school by following the Toronto French School on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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