Abelard School
The Abelard School
203 College Street, 5th Floor
Toronto, Ontario, M5T 1P9
Contact name:
Inga Bratchuli

Phone number:
(416) 944-0661×
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Abelard School

The Abelard School

203 College Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 1P9

School Type:
Gifted,  Academic
Grades (Gender):
9 to 12 (Coed)
$18,500 to $20,500 per year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
Day: 50 (Gr. 9-12)

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Contact Name:
Inga Bratchuli

Phone Number:

School Address
203 College Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 1P9

About this school:

The Abelard School is an independent high school that offers an enriched and challenging curriculum to prepare students for remarkable success in university. Our Socratic instruction and integrated curriculum foster critical thinking and problem solving skills, while our traditional liberal arts education encourages excellence across the disciplinary spectrum. Abelard's small student population creates a friendly, inclusive school environment where students encourage one another to learn, create, and be successful.

More information on The Abelard School
The Abelard School is a gifted, academic, day school in Toronto, Ontario. The school offers programs for grades 9 to 12 with enrolment of 50 students. The Abelard School has an average class size of 12 students and has a tuition of $18,500 to $20,500 per year. Founded in 1997, this private school does not require students to wear uniforms and the language of instruction is English.

Principal's Message


Ms. Michelle Lefolii, Principal

The Abelard School is a place where ideas and people matter, where debate is encouraged, and where creativity and innovation come to life. It is a place where learning progresses logically through an integrated curriculum, and students talk about Plato, Woolf, and quantum theory in the hallways as well as in the classroom. Abelard is a school for the student who wants to be inspired but also challenged to work and think beyond the norm. It is a school for scholars.

The Abelard School has been preparing students to enter university since 1997. The focus of our four-year programme (grades 9-12) is to ensure that our students graduate as astute critical thinkers, ready to enter and succeed in the university program of their choice. Our senior courses are designed as preparation for the Advanced Placement examinations, on which our students have consistently achieved top scores.
Along with encouraging high academic achievement, Abelard strives to ensure that our students do not limit their future choices by specializing in one particular discipline; our individualized course selection process ensures that students profit from the breadth of courses in our liberal arts curriculum throughout all four years of high school. As a small school, we are able to integrate our courses with one another to allow for greater interdisciplinary learning, and provide our students with increased student-teacher interaction to better help them realize their goals. With our prime location in downtown Toronto, we take full advantage of the many learning opportunities that can be had outside of the classroom in art galleries, museums, the theatre, the opera, and the like.

We invite you to learn more about the Abelard School through our website and in person. We look forward to meeting you!



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Inga Bratchuli
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School Entry Points:

  • Entry Points (Day): Students Admitted
    9 Limited
    10 Limited
    11 Limited
    12 Limited

Stories & Testimonials


One of the Finest University Preparatory Educations Around

As a university educator, I can say that in my experience the Abelard School provides one of the finest university preparatory educations that I have encountered. Few schools provide the depth of foundational education—where else do high school students learn Greek, Latin and Philosophy?—let alone the breadth of subject matter that Abelard covers through the diverse interests of its talented staff. Abelard’s focus on educational diversity in the Humanities and Sciences provides a balanced and comprehensive engagement with learning, which prepares students for their encounter with university, as well as stimulates their insights into potential careers. Abelard graduates hit the ground running.

However, Abelard offers much more than academic excellence. Its small size creates intimacy and engagement among students that goes beyond the classroom and fosters lively discussions in the hallways, encourages independent intellectual pursuits and generates lasting friendships. A few examples from my son’s activities come to mind that help illustrate the Abelard experience:

  • staging the battle scene in Julius Caesar for the annual play (with the wood-worked swords made by another parent)
  • discovering the astonishing bio-mechanics of a running ostrich
  • discussing the antics of Buck Mulligan in the opening chapter of Joyce’s Ulysses
  • the group of Abelard students out for a night at the theatre discussing the performance of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
  • discovering a latent capacity for maths and science ... and writing a computer program
  • excitement translating the inscriptions on Roman monuments in museums in Berlin
  • finding other students interested in chess and starting a chess club

I would urge anyone to consider Abelard as their school of choice for students who hanker for learning, who seek a milieu that supports independent intellectual growth and who would thrive in small enriched educational environment.

- Tim Pilgrim, M.A. M.B.A, Dipl. Analyt. Psych, Lecturer at New College, University of Toronto


A Place Where Young People Can Be Themselves

The Abelard School is small, which gives it its chief advantage. In a small school, there can be no cliques. No popular students. And, therefore, no unpopular ones. They have to get along, and for certain types of teenagers that is a great relief and a removal of considerable stress.

The small size also means that the teachers know the students to a degree not possible elsewhere. That means that they really can tailor learning to the student rather than to an average standard that fits no one perfectly. The teachers are the same from year to year and so your students grow with them.

My child has never been happier at a school. She can just be herself and herself is not one that sits well with the usual standards of normal. These are life-long friendships being found amongst kindred spirits.

That said, the Abelard school is challenging. Incredibly so. It is a classic form of education that emphasises the core disciplines. And the work load is considerable. The key point is that, at least in my experience, my daughter happily does the work. We sometimes have to literally force her to watch TV or come to the movies rather than study.

The Abelard School sets itself under the radar. There is no glitz only substance. It isn't for everyone but the students it is right for, it is their place.

- Dr. Joshua Gans, Professor of Strategic Management and Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto


Challenging Classes, Inspiring Teachers

It may be that no school is perfect, but Abelard certainly comes close. Our son is finally being challenged here by the demanding classes he (and we) missed in middle school. He comes home eager to do homework, and he clearly wants to meet or exceed the high expectations of the inspiring teachers, who have opened his eyes to subjects he had not felt entirely comfortable with before.

Because most classes have fewer than ten students and teacher-student colloquy is fundamental to the Abelard experience, he always has opportunities to question and participate. The size and intimacy of the student body has inspired close friendships with a group of individuals who—mirabile dictu!—support and encourage one another rather than compete for marks or condescend.

The administration has been very responsive to our son’s religious observance. We appreciate the seriousness of the student body and the teachers’ firmness, but while the learning is sometimes hard, it often seems to be quite a lot of fun. The students are diverse and open-minded enough to appreciate a wide range of teaching styles. We are so pleased with the Abelard curriculum that when we spend next year overseas, our son will take the year off (doing independent studies and other kinds of learning and volunteering) in order not to replace a year at Abelard with a less-satisfying year at another school.

- Dr. Linda Safran, Research Fellow at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, University of Toronto, and Dr. Adam Cohen, Associate Professor of Art, University of Toronto


Motivated, Creative and Enthusiastic

It was a pleasure teaching Abelard students—they are a very special group of motivated, creative and enthusiastic young people.  I was impressed by the students’ work ethic and mastery of the course material, and students in the upper grades were consistently performing at a higher level than the University of Toronto undergrads I have taught!

What impressed me even more than the students’ performance, however, was the way in which their interest in the subject matter extended far beyond the desire to get a good grade.  Their genuine excitement about learning is something that also puts them on par with top undergraduate students and suggests that they will excel wherever they choose to study after they leave Abelard.

Abelard is a place where doing well, exploring new ideas and being proud of each other’s achievements are central parts of school culture.  I see this close-knit support as vital for enhancing their confidence as they transition from high school into university and beyond.  Most students have well-rounded lives and excel in various areas (academics, sports, the arts, community projects), and Abelard encourages their desire to pursue a variety of interests.

- Sarah Knudson, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Sasatchewan; former Abelard teacher


Abelard Raises the Bar in Mathematics

The Abelard School gave me an excellent grounding in mathematics and a broad range of subjects, and gave me the confidence and skills necessary to pursue mathematically intense work throughout my academic and professional careers. Increasingly, good quantitative and mathematical skills are of acute utility in almost every subject --- from the proof theory of theoretical computer science to the use linguistic data in literary analysis. The confidence and facility with mathematics that good teachers instill is invaluable, and I am greatly indebted to mine at Abelard.

When I entered graduate school in Mathematics and Computer Science, I was in many ways pursuing a fascination and a love of a subject that had begun many years previously. Abelard was an extraordinarily important time for my development in many ways, not least my understanding of mathematics and how to study it. I was very lucky to have teachers who taught with such passion, humanity, and understanding of a subject that is far too frequently sold short.

I am extremely lucky to have the breadth of education that I received at the Abelard --- it is a treasure which has served me well throughout my career.

Dr. Chris Thomson-Walsh, PhD (Cambridge), Abelard Class of '02


Nothing Short of Spectacular

With my secondary school diploma in hand, poised to begin my first year at Harvard University, it is now very easy for me to see how instrumental Abelard has been in getting me to where I am today. In preparing me and my classmates for higher learning, in teaching us to read and think critically, and most of all in opening our wondering eyes to the pure excitement of academic learning, Abelard has been nothing short of spectacular.

I initially embarked upon my secondary studies elsewhere, but as I very soon discovered, I was never cut out for life at a big public school. I hated the anonymity of a regular school with its 30-something class sizes; I was frustrated by the bureaucratic inflexibility of some of the teachers and administrators; but worst of all, I found the course material boring and uninspiring. Some part of me didn't want to be reading watered-down textbooks - where the classic works of Western literature are briefly summarized in a 50-word blurb at the side of the page - forever. It's not hard to imagine my excitement then, when in my very first history class at Abelard, a thick packet of photocopied papers was plopped down in front of me: our introductory reading assignment was the first book of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War.

My coursework at Abelard only got meatier. It is a school where all the grade 10 students read The Iliad, where the grade 12 English class reads Joyce's Ulysses, and where the third-year Latin class reads Virgil in the original. Academically, Abelard gives its students something to sink their teeth into. But it wasn't just the interesting and rigorous coursework that made me come to love Abelard. Guiding us through such a challenging curriculum was a set of the most intelligent, highly educated, and dedicated teachers I have ever known. Whether to help with a difficult concept, to provide extra information for curious students, or simply to chat about this or that, Abelard's teachers with their infinite patience were always there for us.

Abelard, with its small size, inclusive warmth, and quirky student body, sees each of its classes gel together and learn from each other. Abelard not only guided me towards a great university experience, but it also gave me the skills I will need to thrive there, and the sense of belonging to a community that will enable me to stand on my feet.

Anne-Marie Zapf-Belanger, A.B. (Harvard), JD -- in progress (UBC), Abelard Class of '05


In the News


May 22, 2014 - Spaces Open for Grade 9 - Scholarships Available

A few Grade 9 spots remain for the upcoming 2014-15 school year, including space in our scholarship fund for families in financial need. ...

Curriculum & Programs

Curriculum & Programs

    Specialty Academics

  • AP courses
  • Community service
  • Gifted program
  • Honors
  • University counseling

    School Support

  • Tutoring

    Special Needs

  • Learning study assistance


  • Acting
  • Choral Music
  • Graphic design
  • History of Theatre
  • Music history
  • Music theory
  • Painting
  • Screenwriting
  • Voice/Vocal/Singing

    Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Canadian history
  • Classics
  • Creative writing
  • Debate
  • European history
  • Independent study
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • World religions


  • French
  • Greek
  • Latin
  • Russian
  • Spanish

    Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Computers

  • Algebra
  • Biology
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Finite
  • Geometry
  • Physics
  • Trigonometry

    Academic / Social Clubs

  • Chess Club
  • Community Service
  • Foreign Language Club
  • Math Club
  • Poetry/Literature club
  • School newspaper
  • Student Council
  • Yearbook


  • Art Club
  • Audiovisual Club

    Moral Development

  • Leadership
  • Social justice

    Admissions & Finances

  • Bursaries
  • Entrance exams
  • Interview required
  • Scholarships

    Religious Affiliation

  • Non-denominational

Social Feeds


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Contact Name
Inga Bratchuli

Phone Number:
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