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Trafalgar Castle School
Trafalgar Castle School
401 Reynolds Street
Whitby, Ontario, L1N 3W9
Contact name:
Martha Cassidy

Phone number:
(905) 668-3358×
Trafalgar Castle School

Trafalgar Castle School

401 Reynolds Street, Whitby, Ontario, L1N 3W9

Liberal Arts
Grades (Gender):
5 to 12 (Girls)
$21,860 to 52,230/year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
13 to 16
Day: 140 (Gr. 5 - 12), Boarding: 70 (Gr. 7 - 12)

get more information Get more information

Contact Name:
Martha Cassidy

Phone Number:

School Address
401 Reynolds Street, Whitby, Ontario, L1N 3W9

About this school:

Located in the heart of beautiful Whitby, Ontario, with close access to Toronto and Pearson International Airport, Trafalgar Castle School is a small and welcoming all-girls day and boarding school for grades 5-12.

Established in 1874, our mission is to provide world-best curricula led by teachers of distinction in the arts, sciences, and humanities. Following on that commitment, our internationally acclaimed programs provide an enriching learning environment for all students. Our curricula includes Advanced Placement, Little Red Schoolhouse - University of Chicago Writing Program, Cambridge Latin, Robotics, London Music, Singapore Math and Science.

Small schools have a way of producing big results; small girls’ schools compound that advantage and then some. We are passionate about knowing each and every student, and from this bedrock premise build a foundation that opens up every possible university option.

Trafalgar Castle is a school like no other - one that cultivates skills, ignites curiosity and brings your daughter into her own, whether she is an artist, an athlete, an intellectual, or a little of each. Capable and confident, our graduates are exceptional young women who know without question - their possibilities are endless.

Principal's Message


Dr. Leanne Foster, Head of School

Welcome from the Head of School

Trafalgar Castle School is a warm and welcoming community with a history of educating girls and young women since 1874.  We are a proud part of Whitby, and welcome students from across Durham Region, the Greater Toronto Area, and around the world. 

Our beautiful campus and historic setting is a hub of activity each and every day.  World-class curriculum alongside a full complement of extra-curricular activities creates an environment that inspires and encourages growth.  Arts, athletics, debating or robotics – wherever her curiosity leads, dedicated and caring faculty are there to ensure the opportunities for each and every girl are truly endless.

At Trafalgar Castle, we care deeply about how girls learn. The value of our all-girls’ setting is present in our classrooms where students from grades 5 to 12 engage in meaningful and authentic learning, all the while growing in confidence, learning to lead with integrity, and making friendships that last a lifetime!  

When our graduates leave us, they are confident young women who know, without question, their possibilities are endless.

I invite you to come for a visit.  We look forward to providing you and your daughter with a tour of the school, and extending a warm Trafalgar welcome!

Dr. Leanne Foster, Ph.D.

Head of School



Curriculum Liberal Arts

Primary Curriculum: Liberal Arts

What Trafalgar Castle School says: Trafalgar Castle School offers a rigorous university preparatory curriculum from Grades 5 through 12. Our focus is to prepare our young women for post-secondary education through courses that emphasize the development of effective communication and inquiry skills, the ability to access and evaluate information, and develop self-assessment skills. We use information technology to deliver appropriate components of the curriculum and in the process encourage mastery of the technology skills essential for current and future success. Our courses meet and exceed Ontario Ministry of Education requirements and are delivered by a highly competent and dedicated faculty. Current research supports learning in a small-school environment, which enables our teachers to engage their students and support them as they achieve their true potential. Trafalgar Castle School is inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Education, accredited by the Canadian Educational Standards Institute and a member of the Conference of Independent Schools (Ontario), the Canadian Association of Independent Schools and an associate member of the National Association of Independent Schools (Associate Member U.S.A.).

  • 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 Trafalgar Castle School says: Our Grade 5 through 8 Mathematics program is built around the Singapore Math approach, which by design slows down the learning process to help more thoroughly ground our middle school students in the fundamentals of Math. Our Upper School Mathematics program features the academic level as well as enriched-level courses, which prepare students for Advanced Placement level courses.

    • Textbooks and supplementary materials: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    • Calculator policy: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    Writing Equal balance

      Programs that balance systematic and process approaches equally likely have an emphasis on giving young students ample opportunities to write, while providing supplementary class-wide instruction in grammar, parts of sentences, and various writing strategies.
      Learn about the different writing approaches  

    • What Trafalgar Castle School says: Our students learn to develop effective thesis and supportive ideas based upon the adapted University of Chicago writing program. Through use of selected referencing, students build sound writing with the ultimate goal of refined expository writing.

    Science Equal Balance

      Science programs that balance expository and inquiry learning equally will likely have an equal blend of tests and experiments; direct, textbook-based instruction and student-centred projects.
      Learn about the different science approaches  

    • Teaching approach: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    • 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 Traditional

      In traditional literature programs students focus on decoding the mechanics of texts: plot, characterization, and themes. These texts tend to include a balance of contemporary and “classic” literature. When studying a past work, students investigate its historical context -- but only insofar as this adds understanding to the work itself. Past works are therefore studied “on their own terms”, and not merely as historical artifacts to be deconstructed: traditional literature programs are firmly rooted in the humanities, and carry the belief that great literature can reveal fundamental and universal truths about the human condition. These programs emphasize class discussions and critical essay writing, and aim to develop in students critical thinking, communication skills, and a cultivated taste and ethos.
      Learn about the different literature approaches  

    • What Trafalgar Castle School says: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    Social Studies Thematic

      The Thematic approach organizes the curriculum around certain themes or cultural universals. Students might spend time focused on food. Then they might focus on transportation or government, and so on.
      Learn about the different social studies approaches  

    • What Trafalgar Castle School says: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    Humanities and Social Sciences Equal Balance

      These programs represent an equal balance between the perennialist and pragmatic approach to teaching the humanities and social sciences.
      Learn about the different humanities and social sciences approaches  

    • What Trafalgar Castle School says: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    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 Trafalgar Castle School says: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    • Languages Offered: • Chinese-Mandarin • French • Latin • ESL

    Fine Arts
    • Program offers:

      Subject = offered
      Visual Arts
    • Visual studio philosophy:

    • What Trafalgar Castle School says: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    Computers and Technology Heavy integration

      A major effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy throughout the curriculum and in everything students do. Digital literacy is understood to be a fundamental skill in the 21st century: it therefore follows, the idea goes, that teachers should find ways to connect every lesson back to technology. Effort is made to ensure the use of technology is meaningful and advances students’ skills beyond what they would otherwise be from using computers outside the classroom.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  

    • What Trafalgar Castle School says: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What Trafalgar Castle School says: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    • Trafalgar Castle School 's approach to sex-ed: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    Religious Education
    • What Trafalgar Castle School says: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    Advanced Placement Courses
    • AP Studio Art: 2-D Design
    • AP Studio Art: 3-D Design
    • AP Studio Art: Drawing
    • AP Calculus AB
    • AP English Language and Composition
    • AP English Literature and Composition

    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.

    What Trafalgar Castle School says: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    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 Trafalgar Castle School says about flexible pacing: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    Academic Culture

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    What Trafalgar Castle School says: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    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 Trafalgar Castle School says: [Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information]

    Special Needs Support High


    Trafalgar Castle School provides a high degree of support for special needs 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
    • 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
      Behavioral and Emotional
      Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
      Clinical Depression
      Suicidal thoughts
      Drug and alcohol abuse
      Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
      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

    Gifted Learner Support No Support

    No Support

    Trafalgar Castle School does not offer any specialized programming for gifted learners.


    What Trafalgar Castle School says:

    Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Field Hockey
      Ice Hockey
      Track & Field
      Cross-country skiing
      Ice Skating
    • Clubs Offered
      Art Club
      Community Service
      Dance Club
      Debate Club
      Drama Club
      Environmental Club
      Foreign Language Club
      Poetry/Literature club
      Robotics club
      Science Club
      Student Council

    Tuition & Financial Aid



    Day Boarding (Domestic) Boarding (International)
    Boarding (Domestic)$47,210
    Boarding (International)$52,230


    Discount TypeEnrollment TypeAmount
    Full payment all students10%
    2nd child (sibling)all students10%
    3rd child (sibling)all students10%
    4th child (sibling)all students10%

    Need-based financial aid

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

    Application Deadline:

    More information:

    Application Details:

    Merit based Scholarships

    Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information.


    Total enrollment 210
    Average enrollment per grade26
    Gender (grades)5 to 12 (Girls)
    Boarding offered Gr. 7 - 12
    % in boarding (total enrollment)33%

    Student distribution: We do not have this data for Trafalgar Castle School




    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    Interview5 - 12
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)5 - 9

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:

    Boarding students:

    What Trafalgar Castle School says:

    Trafalgar Castle School operates on a rolling admissions process however spaces fill early. Prospective students are required to submit the following components as part of the application process: 

    • Completed application package;
    • Report cards from the previous two years; 
    • Reference letter;
    • Deposit; and 
    • Interview process. 

    Day students are also encouraged to spend a day with us to experience first-hand the possibilities of a Trafalgar Castle School education. 


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student Trafalgar Castle School is looking for: Trafalgar Castle School has not provided this information

    Day Boarding

    Student Entry Points

    Student Type56789101112
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    Boarding Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)

    University Placement

    Services = offered
    Career planning
    Mentorship Program
    University counseling
    Key Numbers
    Average graduating class sizeN/A
    *Canadian "Big 6" placementsN/A
    **Ivy+ placementsN/A

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

    **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)

    Stories & Testimonials


    There is something to be said of a girl and her castle!

    Alumna, Laurel Anderson, Class of 1986 has recounted how Trafalgar Castle helped save her life.   

    Click here to read Laurel's article.



    No ordinary school day!

    Grade 11 student shares unique learning opportunity with alum outside the classroom.

    Nicole Park, Class of 2004, was among the six alumnae panelists who joined us for Trafalgar Castle School’s I-Think discussion back in December where she shared her experiences and the path that has led to her exciting career in research. 

    Nicole’s interest in cancer research began at the age of nine when a cousin was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. “A few years later I happened to look down a brightfield microscope and saw for my first time, human chromosomes in metaphase,” said Nicole. “I was so inspired and truly felt my passion for genetics ignite at that moment.”

    For the past ten years, Nicole has been actively working toward becoming an educator and leader in cancer research completing a Bachelor of Science Honours in Molecular Genetics at Queen’s University in Kingston; a Masters degree in Pathology at Western University in London; and is now completing her Doctoral studies with Dr. Peter Dirks, a pioneer in the brain cancer stem cell field at the Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) in Toronto. Upon completion of her PhD, Nicole will apply for a post-doctoral fellow where she will work to establish herself as an independent cancer researcher. After a couple of post-doctoral positions, she plans to apply for an assistant professor position at a university.

    Nicole’s passion and personal experiences really resonated with Grace a Grade 11 student, who had been learning about molecular biology and genetics in her classes at Trafalgar. Coupled with her existing interest in research and medicine, Grace took the time to speak with Nicole following the panel discussion and the idea of a site visit evolved.

    “It was really inspiring to see alumnae share what their Trafalgar experience meant to them and to learn how this experience influenced their career path,” said Grace. “They were all wonderful role models and great examples of the power of women in the workforce.”

    On what would have otherwise been a regular school day, Grace recently commuted downtown to the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, a brand new state-of-the-art facility in Toronto, where Nicole conducts her research along with all the researchers for Sick Kids.

    “It was so cool to have a current Trafalgar student shadow me for the day,” said Nicole. “It felt as though I already knew Grace – as if the Big Sister/Little Sister program was in full effect! I think the experiences that we share as Trafalgar students are so unique and special that it really unifies us in an eternal way.”

    They began their day with an overview of Nicole’s research on glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive adult brain cancer. Her research aims to better understand the biology of glioblastoma and normal brain stem cells to ultimately improve treatment options for patients fighting this devastating disease. Following the research overview, Grace donned a lab coat and entered the Tissue Repair Room with Nicole where they spent the next two hours exploring glioblastoma cells from two different patients. In their experiment, they introduced a well-known stem cell pathway drug into the culture media to see how the cells responded.

    “The idea is that by stopping the pathways in the cells that promote stem cell behaviour the cells will become mature cells and no longer divide,” said Nicole. “Once the drug was added we put the cells onto a plate so that I can measure the difference in the number of cancer cells treated with or without the drug a week from now.”

    “The entire day was incredible and well beyond my expectations,” said Grace. “One of the highlights for me in the lab was that I was actually able to apply some of what I had been learning in class to a real-life lab setting.”

    Next on the day’s agenda was a short walk to the University of Toronto for a seminar on molecular biology where Grace sat in on a presentation by two students who shared their own research and experiences.

    Back at the lab, Grace’s visit culminated in a one-hour session with Nicole’s mentor, Dr. Dirks, Staff Neurosurgeon at Sick Kids, specializing in the surgical treatment for childhood brain tumours and brain vascular malformations.

    Throughout their discussion Dr. Dirks talked about some of his own research, highlighted some of the greatest discoveries in neuroscience in general, and shared a number of resources for Grace to go away with to explore on her own.

    “Dr. Dirks shared his passion for research and explained how it offers him new ways to do what he does in surgery every day, but also stressed that everything in the lab is sparked by your own interests, so you have to truly love what you do,” said Grace.

    Grace, who plans to pursue a career in the Life Sciences, set out for the day hoping to gain some insight into the world of research and found herself in a boardroom; university lecture hall; world-renowned lab; and sitting down with one of the leading researchers in pediatric neurosurgeons. Not bad for her first day at ‘work’!

    When Nicole was asked about her experience as an alumnae mentor, she had this to say: “A truly important aspect of this collaboration was the ability for me to give back to Trafalgar in some way. I am here today because of my experiences at Trafalgar. To inspire and lead a current Trafalgar student, in a way, completes the circle for me. It was there where I found my inspiration for the sciences and developed leadership skills through opportunities unique to Trafalgar. What I would say to any alum considering this is simply: DO IT!!!!  It’s one day to potentially make a huge impact on someone’s life. And what better opportunity than to inspire one of our own.”




    Camping retreat

    Let it be known that I am no camper, I enjoy the comforts of urbanization such as lattes and duvet covers.  Yet as a part of every role I have held in schools throughout my many years in education, I have been expected to camp with a cohort of students each year.  I have camped in the mountains and on the beach. I have camped in tents, hostels and even “camped” at a Hilton in Macau.  I have camped in the pouring rain and treacherous heat.  Each year when camp days loom before me, I instinctively shutter with dread consumed with thoughts of being outside my comfort zone having to sleep in an uncomfortable bunk bed and eat dreadful camp food.  The ironic part of all this negative thinking is I am yet to have a bad experience on these camping trips.  In fact, upon reflection (from the comfort of my own home) following each trip I realize I actually had a good time.  Of course this doesn’t make me enjoy camping any more.

    So, keeping in mind that I am not a natural camper, one would assume I had those same feelings of in trepidation prior to camp. However, this time the lead-up to camp was completely different. There was something special about the preparations for camp that were different from any past camp experience.  The girls with their vivacious grins, speaking feverishly all at the same time whilst hardly being able to control their excitement while filling me in about air bands, polar bear swims, dining hall dancing, house colour costumes, campfires and on and on. Truthfully, I was intrigued by their giddiness and wondered how this camp was any different to all the camps I had attended in the past. 

    Early morning and the bagpipes echoed across the misty lake as the risk-takers raced to the tower on a challenge mission to jump into the glassy, frigid lake water.  Enjoying each meal with different friends and the food was edible, if not enjoyable fare.  We shared in the singing and dancing throughout the meals as Bon Jovi rocked the dining hall and students were encouraged, if not expected, to dance on the tables.  Nervous girls tried new activities such as stand-up paddle-boarding, canoeing and learning how to ride a bike.  Their faces lit up when they were successful and discovered the fun of it.  Students in each House came together to learn and perform 3-5 minutes of nothing-less-than-first-place air band routines, while cheering each other on during the performances regardless of the goal to earn house points.  Witnessing a senior student tuck a junior student under her wing and comfort her as she sheds a few homesick tears only to wipe them away and giggle at whatever silly story the senior used to make her feel better.   You are also surprised to see dusk because the day went by too quickly. Then the entire community circles around a campfire to hear tall tales and giggle.  Listening to the girls’ beautiful voices sing in unison, just above a whisper as their bodies sway to and fro, arms wrapped around one another’s shoulders.  They are completely in the moment with their friends. 

    Sure the days were packed with standard camp activities, usual camp challenges and the counselors sang standard camp songs, but this camp was unique.  I witnessed firsthand, the power of the sisterhood thread that runs through the fabric of the culture of Trafalgar. To be told the traditions of camp is one thing, but to see how the older girls lead the younger girls entrusting them with the legacies of camp to share in future years was truly beautiful.   There were no greater moments than the ones where I was the audience to demonstrations of friendship, collaboration, teamwork, leadership, empathy, kindness and spirit.  The girls set the bar at a whole new level as a school community. Ultimately, schools take students to camp to do exactly this—form bonds, develop skills and build character.  Truthfully, our girls taught me a thing or two about these outcomes.  As usual, I returned from camp exhausted, but at the same time exhilarated AND somewhat uncomfortable.  What is this strange paradox of feelings I am experiencing?  Uh oh… I think I may like camp!


    In the News


    September 4, 2014 - Trafalgar Castle School celebrates 140th anniversary

    On this day in 1874 the Castle first opened its doors as Ontario Ladies College. September 3 1874 ...


    • Advanced Placement Canada (AP) Associations
    • Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) Associations
    • The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) Associations
    • The Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario (CIS) Associations
    • The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Associations

    Social Feeds


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    Martha Cassidy

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