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Upper Canada College

Grades SK TO Gr. 12 — Toronto, ON (MAP)

Pages in this report:

School address

  • 200 Lonsdale Road, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 2X8 (MAP)
  • Busing not available

Our Perspective

How we see Upper Canada College

Our Kids Feature Review

  • UCC is respectful of its long tradition while thinking progressively about what education can offer.
  • A sense of place and community is a foundation for the academic program.
  • Five million dollars in financial assistance is available each year.

The 50-page review of Upper Canada College is part of our series of in-depth accounts of Canada's leading private schools. It provides a unique and objective perspective on the school's academics, programs, culture, and community.

Read our in-depth review

Key insights from our research

  • In many ways, I’m a steward of the College … and that role of stewardship is to build on the foundation of our history. I would like my legacy to be that we have taken the strongest of steps towards supporting the development of ‘best self,’ that we are a flourishing community … that we are taking strides towards a bold future.
    —From Interview with Upper Canada College Principal: Sam McKinney.
  • As a student, it feels like you are living part of the school’s history. Upper Canada College is older than Canada. … It gives you a sense of the gravity of what you’re living; that people who have achieved excellence, who have pages of history written about them, have attended that school… You have a sense that you are part of something great.
    —From Interview with Upper Canada College alum: Christopher Birks.
  • Everybody at Upper Canada College is so driven to do well and succeed in whatever they’re doing. It’s contagious. That’s partly what I attribute my success to post-UCC: everyone around me was so into what they were doing. … No matter what you’re into, UCC won’t just introduce you to it, they’ll show you how you can excel at it.
    —From Interview with Upper Canada College alum: Darwin Jimal.
See all our top insights

Featured articles

Profile of Sam McKinney, Principal, Upper Canada College

"This is a human profession, and I believe that’s what education is … relationships matter to me most."

School's Perspective

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How Upper Canada College sees itself

The school administration answered our questions

Who are you, as a school?

"UCC was founded in 1829 and is an IB Continuum World School, enrolling 1,220 students (day and boarding) in SK through Year 12. Located in central Toronto on 35 acres of green space, UCC delivers transformational learning experiences. Approximately 20 per cent of students receive financial assistance, with more than $6 million available annually to Canadian students. An alumni community of more than 12,000 in 80+ countries includes leaders and innovators in politics, finance, arts, athletics and beyond."

  • High-achieving, all-round students
  • Challenging but rewarding IB program
  • First rate academics, athletics and arts
  • 19 different sports and 80+ clubs
  • Boutique urban boarding program
  • Comprehensive wellbeing program
  • $5M financial assistance available
  • Entry levels: SK, 3, 5, 6, 7 & 9

What do you do differently and uniquely well?

"UCC delivers transformational programs grounded in a liberal arts education through experiential learning in state-of-the-art facilities, such as our new design labs equipped with the latest technology; our hockey arena with two world-class ice pads; and our 535-acre outdoor campus at the Norval School that teaches students about ecosystems, math and environmental stewardship while engaging with the natural world. Combined with our rigorous IB program, graduates leave UCC prepared to succeed."

To your knowledge, why do families choose your school over others?

"Families know that sending their students to UCC will give them the competitive advantage of the International Baccalaureate, while encouraging creativity and fuelling curiosity. UCC provides students with a well-rounded education that balances academics and a wide range of co-curricular offerings. Parents appreciate the focus on wellbeing — teaching students how to take care of their physical, mental and academic selves, with an emphasis on community and service."

What aspect of your school is underappreciated?

"Founded in 1829, a UCC education supports a diverse and well-rounded student experience. Hosting more than 80 co-curricular activities and sports, UCC’s offerings include options not available at other institutions, including Model UN, cricket, softball, squash and rowing. Our students take advantage of six outdoor sports fields, a hockey arena with two ice pads — one NHL-sized and one Olympic — and a swimming pool for programming, practice and play."

What might families find surprising about your school?

"With a strong commitment to representing socio-economic breadth, UCC offers the most generous financial assistance program in Canadian independent schools. One in five UCC students receives financial assistance each year, making an exceptional education more accessible. Families are also often surprised at the size of the campus. Located in the heart of Toronto, the College sits on 35 lush acres, creating a sanctuary in Canada’s largest city for students to learn and grow."

Summer camps and programs

Upper Canada College operates summer camps and programs. Click here to learn about UCC Summer Camps .

School Facilities

Photo-tour of facilities

Athletics facilities

Arts facilities




Science facilities

Instructional resources

Shared spaces

School Videos

Insider Perspectives

How people from the school’s community see Upper Canada College

Video reviews of Upper Canada College

Alum, Darwin Jimal (2021)

Watch our alum interview with Darwin Jimal to learn about the unique experience of attending Upper Canada College.

Alum, Sevion DaCosta (2020)

Watch our alum interview with Sevion DaCosta to learn about the unique experience of attending Upper Canada College.

Alum, Chris Birks (2020)

Watch our alum interview with Chris Birks to learn about the unique experience of attending Upper Canada College.

Written reviews of Upper Canada College


Parent, Pierre Pong (2019)

I feel my child likes the teachers the best, they care, they are energetic, fully engaged, responsib...


Parent, Julia Pantalone (2018)

My boys have had an amazing experience at Upper Canada College since Day 1. They engage the boys rig...


Student, Will Huang (2018)

My time so far at Upper Canada has been absolutely amazing. I truly love every time I come to school...

School leadership

Top-down influence on the school’s direction and tone

Interview with school leader

Watch our Upper Canada College leadership interview with Sam McKinney to learn about the academics, culture, and values of the school.
Watch the interview

Message from school leadership

Sam McKinney, Principal
BA, Carleton University / MEd, Edith Cowan University (Western Australia)

Samuel James McKinney is the 19th principal of Upper Canada College and began his tenure on July 1, 2016.

Principal McKinney was formerly the deputy headmaster and head of senior school at St. Peter’s College in Adelaide, South Australia. “Saints,” as it is known in Australia, is a 168-year-old boys’ school that has produced 42 Rhodes Scholars and three Nobel Laureates. With a student population of more than 1,400 boys, including 90 boarders, Saints offers both the IB Diploma and the South Australian Certificate of Education.

The son of schoolteachers, Principal McKinney was born and raised in the Niagara region and attended St. Catharines Collegiate before receiving his bachelor of arts from Carleton University in Ottawa in 1990. He furthered his education in Australia, receiving a graduate diploma in education from the University of Adelaide in 1993 and a master’s of education from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia in 2003. More recently, he has undertaken study at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education Principals’ Centre and resilience training through the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Centre.

In appointing Principal McKinney, UCC is also welcoming his wife, Rose, and their three boys, Jack ’17, Connor ’19 and Charles ’20. Also a teacher, Rose has taught in the Junior and Middle schools at Pulteney Grammar School in Adelaide since 2007.

Message from Principal McKinney:

From our founding in 1829, Upper Canada College has been educating the next generation of leaders and innovators, inspiring them to make a positive impact on their world. In our nearly 200-year history, the school has undergone incredible transformation. Alongside the historical landmarks many associate with UCC —  the ivy-covered walls, iron front gates, majestic clock tower — stand modern facilities and adaptable learning spaces equipped with the latest technology.

Our approach to boys’ education has similarly evolved. The College’s foundational focus on a liberal education is now delivered through the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programmes, globally recognized as the gold standard for university preparatory programs. In addition, our commitment to needs-based financial assistance has expanded substantially, offering more than $5 million annually to boys of the highest potential, enabling a diverse learning community that reflects our city and nation.

These innovations have shaped what is only a part of the UCC difference. We are not just about academic heights reached, championships won, or brilliant theatrical performances — although these are integral to what makes the College the outstanding place it is. What’s equally important is how our boys take forward the transformational learning experiences that are a hallmark of a UCC education.

Grounded in our vision to inspire boys to be their best selves is our commitment to fostering a vibrant school community that reflects the pluralism and promise of Canada. We offer an extraordinary range of opportunities for growth and discovery, as well as the support needed for boys to thrive among a network of dedicated faculty and staff, and lifelong friends.

I encourage you to learn more here, then visit us and experience the UCC difference.

We look forward to welcoming you.

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Upper Canada College

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