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City Academy

1910 Yonge Street, Suite 115, Toronto, Ontario, M4S 3B2

Grades (Gender):
Gr. 7 to Gr. 12 (Coed)
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
1 to 8
Day: Varies (Gr. 7 - 12)

School Address
1910 Yonge Street, Suite 115, Toronto, Ontario, M4S 3B2

About this school:


City Academy prepares students for post-secondary studies in a wide variety of fields. Recognizing that only outstanding academic achievement will ensure entry into a program of choice, our students demonstrate a serious, mature and focused approach to their studies. The low student/teacher ratio, prompt feedback and unique opportunities and resources foster an environment conducive to excellence. — Visit school website



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Our Take: City Academy

our takeAll schools are unique, though that’s particularly true of City Academy. It was founded in 1999 by Sheila Dever, and her pedigree for teaching is simply unequalled. She brought a long experience in the public school sector and within the education faculty at York University. She created the program at City Academy to be intensive and challenging, and it is. Small classes and the four semester format focus student attention in unique ways, while allowing instructors to take cues from the students, adapting to their individual strengths and needs. There really is nothing like it. The ideal student is one intending to proceed to post-secondary education, and is looking to build the personal and academic skills that will be required for success in that context.

Principal's Message


Sheila Dever, Principal

The philosophy of the school is derived from my 35 years as an educator, consultant and administrator in the public school system, enhanced by my work with the Ministry of Education as an Education Officer and as a Supervisory Officer and instructor of teachers and future administrators in the Education faculty at York University.

It is clear that all students can learn however many need a specific kind of environment to maximize their academic potential.

At City Academy we stress academic focus. The social distractions of larger schools are not available, the ability to “hide” in a large class is impossible (our classes are approximately 6 to 8 students or less), the propensity of being overwhelmed with many different tasks does not happen (students take two subjects at a time), the excuse of being “bored” and not able to remember is radically reduced. The most important factor in student success is that students have recognized the need for a change and have embraced it. In every class the skills needed for future success are taught. The structure of the school enables all students (grades 9 to 12) to long-range plan, practice self-discipline, and feel in control of their time and their workload.


Curriculum Traditional

Primary Curriculum: Traditional

What City Academy says: Our curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students who intend to seek entry into post-secondary education (mostly universities). We offer all of the credit courses needed to gain entry into Arts, Business, Science and Social Science programs. Because teachers face students for 110 hours with little or no interruption, and we have very small classes, we have the time to complete, review and enrich course content. In addition, our teachers have been workshopped in Teaching/Learning Styles, Study Skills, Note Taking Skills and Exam Writing Skills. All of these are addressed within the context of course delivery. We enhance our curriculum with the ability to offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses, Supplementary Calculus and ACT prep courses and small non-credit workshops in a variety of supplementary courses designed to improve student work habits.

  • Approach:

  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics Traditional Math

      Traditional Math typically teaches a method or algorithm FIRST, and THEN teaches the applications for the method. Traditional algorithms are emphasized and practiced regularly: repetition and drills are frequently used to ensure foundational mastery in the underlying mathematical procedures. The traditional approach to math views math education as akin to building a logical edifice: each brick depends on the support of the previously laid ones, which represent mastery over a particular procedure or method. Traditional Math begins by giving students a tool, and then challenges students to practice using that tool an applied way, with progressively challenging problems. In this sense Traditional Math aims to establish procedural understanding before conceptual and applied understanding.
      Learn about the different mathematics approaches  

    • What City Academy says: The achievement of a senior mathematics credit is becoming increasingly important to all students entering university. We are proud that all of our math teachers are specialists and are knowledgeable about the content of all high school math courses, as well as math courses which will be taken at university. Because of the focused approach of the timetable, students who have had difficulty with mathematics in previous grades are surprised at how easily the concepts are learned in a small group setting with an excellent teacher. We also provide our students the support to enter the Waterloo University math contests such as the Euclid (grade 12) and Pascal (grade 11). Our students have excelled in these contests, earning marks in the top 20 percentile.

    • Textbooks and supplementary materials: City Academy uses textbooks which support the Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum and are approved by the Ministry. In some specialized courses a teacher-generated Course Reader is provided.

    • Calculator policy: All students are allowed to use calculators. Depending on the subject and the teacher some use may be restricted.

    Science Expository

      Expository science is the more traditional method of teaching science: students learn scientific facts, theories, and the relationships between them through direct instruction by the teacher. These programs still incorporate hands-on experimentation and “live science”; however, relative to inquiry-based programs, expository science tilts towards content mastery and knowledge acquisition. Direct instruction ensures this acquisition process is efficient. Textbooks are emphasized (starting in earlier grades than inquiry-based programs), as are knowledge tests: students are asked to demonstrate they have thoroughly learned the content of the course, and can apply that knowledge to novel and challenging problems or questions.
      Learn about the different science approaches  

    • Teaching approach: Many of our students wish to enter university in science programs. Our science staff represents expertise in all three science disciplines: biology, physics, chemistry, and all are passionate about their subject area. We are proud that in the science department we have teachers with Master’s degrees and PhDs, thus offering our students a wealth of experience and content expertise. In the past we have placed students into very competitive university science programs and all have reported that they felt they were exceptionally well prepared and could take their place equally beside all other students.

    • Topics covered in curriculum:

      Subject = offered
    • Treatment of evolution:

      Evolution as consensus theory
      Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
      Evolution is not taught

    Literature Equal Balance

      These literature programs draw in equal measure from “Traditional” and “Social Justice” programs.
      Learn about the different literature approaches  

    • What City Academy says: The English department is rich in talent and experience. Several of our teachers are published authors and columnists. All have a passion for their subject and are flexible in how they deliver course content. All have a fervent belief that the goal of the English program is to produce students whose reading and writing skills will assist them in all of life’s challenges. Returning students comment that the English instruction they received at City Academy prepared them very well for the challenges of university essay writing. We offer a wide variety of English courses to meet the needs and interests of all students.

    Humanities and Social Sciences Perennialism

      Perennialism in the humanities and social sciences emphasizes the idea of education being a kind of “conversation” between generations, and so frequently turns to “Great Works” and “Big Ideas” for teaching-content. Perennialist programs approach past works on their own terms; as if they might actually help students understand “today” better. Past works are not viewed as mere historical artifacts, but as gateways to a deeper understanding of the human condition. History (and, by extension, the humanities in general) therefore plays a large role in perennialist curriculums, though social sciences like economics, psychology, and sociology can still be taught. There is a strong Liberal Arts bent to perennialist programs. The key goals are to develop critical thinking, a strong foundation of core knowledge (or “cultural literacy”), and persuasion skills through informed debate and extensive practice in essay writing.
      Learn about the different humanities and social sciences approaches  

    • What City Academy says: We offer all of the social science and Canadian and world studies subjects included in the Ontario curriculum. In this department our teachers, with degrees focusing on history, psychology, geography, law, politics and philosophy, offer an approach that brings the everyday world into the classroom. These classes are very interactive. Parents often comment that the content of these courses are brought home to foster many interesting family discussions. In addition to regular course offerings in this area, we have enriched our program with IDC (interdisciplinary) courses in Film Studies, History of Art and Financial Securities.

    Foreign Languages Equal Balance

      These programs feature an equal blend of the audio-lingual and communicative styles of language instruction.
      Learn about the different foreign languages approaches  

    • What City Academy says: Our Language/Classical Studies department is small, but talented. We have teachers who can teach French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese and German. In the past we have offered courses in Mandarin and we were proud that, one of our students, because of the instruction she received at City Academy, entered the University of British Columbia in the faculty of Asian Studies. Also, one of the most popular history courses in our school is Classical Civilizations.

    • Studying a foreign language is required until:   9
    • Languages Offered: • Chinese-Mandarin • French • German • Italian • Japanese • Russian • Spanish

    Fine Arts Receptive

      Receptive arts programs emphasize art history (visual, music, theatre, etc) and appreciation over creating or “making” art. Students learn about various artistic works and movements, and are asked to reflect on their underlying aesthetic features and principles. The goal is to give students a core body of knowledge related to the arts, while developing their cognitive, emotional, and aesthetic sensibilities. Studio-work is still a component of most reflective programs, but it plays less of a role than in creative programs.
      Learn about the different fine arts approaches  

    • Program offers:

      Subject = offered
      Graphic Design
      Visual Arts
    • Visual studio philosophy:

    • What City Academy says: We are fortunate to have on staff teachers with unique skills in art, film, photography, and music and computers. The school’s belief is that art is a reflection of our society and therefore all students should be exposed to new art experiences. The success of these art programs is reflected in the fact that every year we place students into OCAD, Sheridan College and film studies programs at various universities. Because of our unique Music and Computers course there is a growing student interest in post-secondary courses focused on the music industry. With the assistance of our talented, creative and inspiring teachers, many of our students have discovered a talent in art that they had not previously realized they possessed. And, although art may not be a career choice, they recognize that by taking art courses they will be more knowledgeable future consumers of art.

    Computers and Technology Medium integration

      Effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy through the curriculum. However, this is not a dominant focus.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  

    • What City Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What City Academy says: We offer the grade 12 Physical Education credit in Exercise Science. It is a subject of special interest to our student athletes and those who are pursuing a career in Kinesiology and/or Physiotherapy.

    Advanced Placement Courses
    • AP Physics 1
    • AP Biology
    • AP Calculus AB

    Sex and Health Education Doesn’t follow Ontario curriculum
    Topics covered in sex and health education: We don’t cover any topics in sex and health education

    What City Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    Mostly value-neutral

    By and large, we teach sex education free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. We try not to impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on our students when teaching sex and related issues.

    Fairly value-based

    Sex education is sometimes taught from a particular moral or ethical standpoint. Sometimes particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) are invoked when teaching sex and related issues.


    This includes a range of positions. A traditional approach might, for example, go as far as emphasizing the nuclear family and complete abstinence from sex before marriage. Alternatively, this approach might simply involve placing less emphasis on sex outside of the context of marriage and more emphasis on abstinence. Or finally, it might just involve focusing less on sex outside of the context of marriage.


    This might mean more emphasis is placed on the importance of such things as social equality, diversity, and choice in sex education.

    What City Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    Curriculum Pace Standard-enriched

    • Standard-enriched
    • Accelerated
    • Student-paced

    Broadly-speaking, the main curriculum -- like that of most schools -- paces the provincially-outlined one. This pace is steady and set by the teachers and school. The curriculum might still be enriched in various ways: covering topics more in-depth and with more vigor than the provincial one, or covering a broader selection of topics.

    Flexible pacing:

    Flexible pacing style = offered
    Subject-streaming (tracking)
    Multi-age classrooms as standard
    Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
    Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
    Regular guided independent study opportunities
    Differentiated assessment

    What City Academy says about flexible pacing: Many City Academy students are actively involved in extra-curriculum activities which restricts their ability to achieve academic success within the regular timetable. Therefore, we offer many flexible timetabling opportunities.

    Academic Culture Rigorous

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.

    What City Academy says: All City Academy students aspire to post-secondary education. Recognizing that universities and colleges are requiring an increasingly high student academic proficiency, our program focuses on building the skills, knowledge and attitudes which will assure success in higher education.

    Developmental Priorities Intellectual, Balanced

    Primary Developmental Priority: Intellectual
    Academically strong, creative, and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions.

    Secondary Developmental Priority: Balanced
    Equal attention is paid to a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social, and physical.

    What City Academy says: Self-actualization, both academically and personally, is the focus at City Academy. It is our aim that our students become adults who are well-balanced, self-aware and prepared to make the maximum positive contribution to society.

    Special Needs Support Indirect Support

    Indirect Support

    Students remain in a regular classroom for the whole day; the teacher receives special training in accommodating special needs and/or learning disabled students.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Extra support
    • What City Academy says: City Academy has an excellent track record of accommodating previously identified students. If difficulties arise while students are enrolled at City Academy, in consultation with parents a plan is designed. In some cases the support of a professional psychologist is suggested. In others, special program delivery and counselling within the school are implemented.

    • Support for moderate-to-severe special needs:
      Special needs
      ADHD (moderate to severe)
      Learning disabilities
      Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
      Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
      Language Processing Disorder
      Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
      Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
      Asperger's Syndrome
      Down syndrome
      Intellectual disability
      Williams syndrome
      Behavioral and Emotional
      Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
      Clinical Depression
      Clinical anxiety
      Suicidal thoughts
      Drug and alcohol abuse
      Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
      Multiple sclerosis
      Cerebral palsy
      Muscular dystrophy
      Spina Bifida
      Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
      Cystic Fibrosis
      Multiple physical
    • Forms of support delivery:
      Support Type = offered
      A regular class with indirect support
      A regular class with resource assistance
      A regular class with withdrawal assistance
      A special education class with partial integration
      A full-time special education class
    • Additional Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Social skills programs
      Occupational therapy
      Speech-language therapy
    • Summary: -

    Gifted Learner Support In-class adaptations

    Dedicated gifted programs:

    Program = offered
    Full-time gifted program (parallel to rest of school)
    Part-time gifted program (pull-out; parallel to rest of class)

    Curriculum delivery: This information is not currently available.

    In-class adaptations:
    Practice = offered
    Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
    Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
    Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
    Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
    Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
    Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
    Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
    Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
    Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

    What City Academy says: The structure of the City Academy program supports gifted students, giving them the opportunity to move quickly, to work with exceptionally qualified teachers and to receive enrichment on an individual basis.

    Gifted education: If you want to learn more about gifted education, check out our comprehensive guide. It’s the first of its kind: it covers different kinds of gifted schools and programs, and a whole host of issues parents face in finding the right option for their gifted child.

    Homework Policy

    In grade 12, City Academy students perform an average of 1.5 hours of homework per night.

    Nightly Homework
    City Academy 90 mins90 mins90 mins90 mins90 mins90 mins
    Site Average53 mins57 mins69 mins80 mins95 mins108 mins

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Lettered or numbered grades7 to 12
    Prose (narrative)-based feedback7 to 12
    Parent-teacher meetings7 to 12

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.


    What City Academy says:
    • Many of our students are world class athletes and/or are involved in extracurricular activities outside of the school.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Ice Hockey
      Track & Field
    • Clubs offered: None

    Tuition & Financial Aid


    Day$1,600 / course
    What City Academy says: Tuition at City Academy is paid on a per-course basis. Fees are due prior to the start of each semester.

    Need-based financial aid

    Grade range that need-based aid is offered: 9 to 12
    Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid0%
    Average aid package size$0
    Percentage of total enrollment on financial aid0%
    Total aid available$20,000

    Application Deadline:
    Rolling deadline Repeats annually

    More information:

    Application Details:

    This school works with other. for processing financial applications
    Applications are reviewed on a per case basis. This can be discussed with the principal during the pre-registration interview.

    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Total enrollment Varies
    Average enrollment per gradeVaries
    Average class size1 to 8
    Gender (grades)Gr. 7 to Gr. 12 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution:

    Day Enrollment482286



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    Interview9 - 12
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee 

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:

    What City Academy says:

    Students interested in attending City Academy's day school program should contact the school to schedule an appointment with the principal. A marks transcript should be brought to this meeting. 


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student City Academy is looking for: The student population at City Academy reflects the same cross section of individuals as would be found in any large public or private high school. Students enter the school with the goal of maximizing their academic potential. All are focused on gaining entry into post-secondary schools in Canada, the United States and Europe. We draw our students from the Toronto area and beyond. Students come to us from the GTA, (Thornhill, Aurora, Mississsauga and Whitby) and even as far away as Italy, Dubai and China. Because of our compact size and the flexible structure of our timetable we are able to respond with a program delivery mode which meets a wide variety of student needs. Most students in our school are at the grade 11 and 12 level, however many grade 9 and 10 students who fit the profile of needing this unique approach to education have completed their high school career with us. The school is built on the belief that a positive and cooperative tone is necessary to each student’s learning and success. Returning students comment on how much they appreciated the warm and supportive atmosphere offered by City Academy and its staff.

    Student Entry Points

    Student Type789101112
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)

    University Placement

    Services = offered
    Career planning
    Mentorship Program
    University counseling
    Key Numbers
    Average graduating class size80
    *Canadian "Big 6" placements10
    **Ivy+ placements3

    *Number of students in 2015 who attended one of McGill, U of T, UBC, Queen's University, University of Alberta, or Dalhousie University.

    **Number of students since 2005 that attended one of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, University of Chicago, Oxford or Cambridge (UK)

    What City Academy says:

  • The majority of our graduates go on to study at some of the top universities in Canada. However, each year, a number of students attend universities in the US or overseas. Some of these include Cornell, SAIC, Stanford, Emerson College, FIT, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Royal Conservatory of Music (London), Rimon School of Music (Israel), Berklee College of Music, School of Oriental and Asian Studies (London), University of Southern California, University of Hawaii, Vanderbilt University, University of Michigan, University of Tennessee, Clarkson University.

  • Notable Alumni


    Alumni Highlights

    • City Academy has graduated a number of individuals who have excelled in athletic and artistic endeavours: hockey, baseball, figure skating, equestrian show jumping, tennis, snowboarding, skiing, modelling, acting (stage and television), concert pianist, animation.
    • Since 1999 City Academy has graduated approximately 2500 students, many more if we added those students who were graduates when they came to our school. In our estimation, all of these students are " noteworthy"!
    • As in many composite schools, many of our graduates have gone on to careers in law, business, architecture and medicine.

    Stories & Testimonials


    1910 Yonge Street - Suite 115

    City Academy has begun our 2015-2016 school year at our new Yonge and Davisville location. Please stop in to visit our new space!


    In the News


    November 30, 2015 - Advanced Placement Program

    City Academy is proud to announce the addition of Advanced Placement AP courses to our program offerings. ...

    September 28, 2015 - New Location!

    City Academy has settled in our new location at Yonge and Davisville. Please stop in for a tour of our new facility! ...

    Next Steps

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