Toronto Waldorf School is located in the suburb of Thornhill, Ontario, approximately one hour’s ride on public transportation ($7.25 each way) from downtown Toronto. Thornhill is a small and quiet middle-class family suburb. Social and cultural activities are accessible in the surrounding community and in Toronto. http://www.seetorontonow.com/#sm.0001qntqda61mdixyv12mgjcqs8kb
Toronto is the premier city of Canada, with 5.5 million people in the Greater Toronto Area. Toronto and the province of Ontario are the most populous in Canada, the economic and cultural engines of the world’s second-largest country. Toronto is one of the most multicultural and socially progressive cities in the world. Located in the Great Lakes region of North America, Toronto is an hour’s flight from other major cities such as Ottawa, Montreal, New York and Boston. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/canada/toronto
Toronto is a cultural centre, home to a symphony orchestra, museums, concerts, festivals, movie theatres and thousands of activities and sports for teenagers. It is also known for its cultural diversity and wide variety of inexpensive ethnic food. Known as a “city within a park,” Toronto has 1500 local parks, a 5000-animal zoo and an active lakefront. Its subway system links up with a several regional bus systems, making exploring the city possible on public transit. While the public transportation system is realiable, it is not as extensive or inexpensive as most European cities’ systems. https://www.blogto.com/
Toronto has a long winter (about five months: mid-November to mid-April), a short spring (mid-April to May) and fall (October to mid-November) and a four-month summer (June to September). It is located on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, resulting in hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Spring and fall, the times of year when Toronto’s natural beauty is most evident, are very colourful.
Social life in Toronto is very different from the life of most European students. The legal drinking age is 19, and as most dancing clubs serve alcohol, those under 19 are not admitted. Ontario students can obtain a driver’s license at age 16, and some TWS students drive themselves to school. Many European students find the change in social life to be very significant.
Life at TWS
The school is located on a splendid 40+ acre campus that includes the main school, a Waldorf teacher-training facility, a retirement community, anthroposophical doctors’ offices, a Saturday organic market, as well as a forest and creek. The school building includes large classrooms, two gymnasiums, music and practise rooms, art, woodworking and metal studios, a theatre stage, library, computer lab, kitchen and a small student-run café.
Successful students are those willing to initiate social activities themselves, and in new and different venues than they would attend at home. Toronto Waldorf School students attend school dances, house parties, a musical coffeehouse and other performances, but life here is very different from life at home!
Students who are most successful are those who actively engage in life in Canada and who immerse themselves fully in the English language – this means limiting contact with friends and family at home.
It is important to note that cell phone use at school is not permitted during class. Outside of class, cell phone use is also restricted and only allowed in designated areas. In general, the cell phone is to be used as a communication device only – not to be used to access social media, movies, internet or games.
While access to cell phones, instant messaging, social networks and the Internet can provide a refuge for students who are struggling with homesickness, focusing on connections at home rather than those in Canada will make the exchange a socially challenging experience. We encourage students and families to discuss this important issue before coming to Canada, so students are well informed and prepared for the challenges ahead.