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Upper Canada College:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades SK TO Gr. 12 — Toronto, ON (Map)


Interview with Upper Canada College Alum, Darwin Jimal

Darwin graduated from Upper Canada College in 2017. What he appreciated most about the school was the sense of community that extended beyond graduation to its strong alumni network. He enjoyed the rigorous academic IB program Upper Canada College offered and participated in their many sports teams that often made it to the championships. Darwin feels privileged that he was able to get financial assistance from Upper Canada College, which allowed him to attend the school and participate in all of the other opportunities it had to offer him, without burdening his parents. He felt supported and welcomed by the teachers and his peers in the school’s diverse and driven atmosphere. Darwin is grateful that Upper Canada College shaped him into the well-rounded person he is today.

Video Contents

Highlights from the interview

  • The sense of community is 100% what I appreciate the most from attending Upper Canada College to this day, my best friends are people from Upper Canada College. When I look back on my experience, it is all very, very positive. Talking to other people who came from other schools, generally, that's not the kind of the sense that they have. High school isn't necessarily the time where they made the most amount of friends or those kinds of things. For me, from immediately going there, to this day, I still talk to my best friends who are people that I met at Upper Canada College.

  • In terms of the opportunities that provided me later on, I now work with a neurologist who graduated from Upper Canada College in 2001. I had seen that he went to Upper Canada College, so I sent him a message, and now we're working together. I just got a reference letter from my track coach for a scholarship I'm applying to. Those kinds of relationships are very, very strong and important to me. It's something that when I look back, it was always there.

  • There was never a time at Upper Canada College when I felt like I didn't belong or I was an outsider. There was always a way that a friend, teacher, or somebody on the faculty would make me feel like I was a part of something bigger.

  • Academically, what differentiates Upper Canada College, first and foremost, is the IB program. That was beneficial for my knowledge going into university. We had transfer credits and didn’t choose AP courses. That was significant for me.

  • Athletics wise, Upper Canada College was always a powerhouse when it came to soccer. We won the Championships every year I was there.

  • A large number of my friends came from other faraway places. They would come in from Pickering, from Brampton, from Scarborough. It allowed for a more diverse population. That made me feel more welcome, and that I wasn't the odd one out of this group of wealthier, generally upper class, or what the common perception is of kids who go to private school.

  • The diversity of Upper Canada College made me feel more welcome and more engaged. From going to other schools, whether it be for a tournament or for an event, I didn't see that. It was much more of the generic type of wealthy student. I'm not trying to put down any other school or anything like that, I’m just kind of going off of my experiences.

  • I don't know if any other private school besides Upper Canada College  provides complete and full financial aid to their students. I know having looked at other schools, too, there was always, ‘we provide financial aid, but you're still expected to contribute a little bit to it.’ Given my background, my parents, we couldn't really do that at all. Upper Canada College took my parents' financial situation into consideration, and not only funded my first three years of my education, but when we would go on tournaments to Montreal or to Bermuda for soccer, that would be covered as well.

  • It's phenomenal that I was able to have Upper Canada College experiences funded at such a young age, because that contributed to my development so much. In my final year, I was allowed to become a boarding student.  Obviously that's a significant gap in the cost, but Upper Canada College covered that as well. I don't think any other school goes to that extent in terms of supporting their students financially.

  • Upper Canada College is supportive, and it goes well beyond financial support. The wellness center at the school would go above and beyond to help out not only myself, but other students as well. There were the nurses, the teachers, the faculty. They understand that there are stresses that students go through in high school, and it was always an accommodating place when it came to aspects like that. That's something that I'm extremely appreciative of, because that's often a place where you often see schools slip up in terms of supporting their students' mental health and well being. I thought Upper Canada College did an amazing job at that. I felt supported mentally.

  • I felt supported academically at Upper Canada College. Whenever I had a question or needed extra help in a certain subject, I had those teachers outside of office help me out. It was never something that I had to question or be worried about not being able to access. That's why ‘supportive’ is definitely the biggest adjective that I would use to describe Upper Canada College. Upper Canada College has assemblies. Every Friday, we have a student assembly that is run by a student who is selected in Grade 11 going into Grade 12. That event is meant for all the students that come together. It's not led by the principal. The principal's assemblies on Monday. So this one's ‘the fun one.’ There's always just something fun, and we get to stand up, sing a song, and bang on the pews, and have that to look forward to. It was just always so exciting.

  • When Upper Canada College would have an athletic event, students would always have this parade beforehand where we'd go through the school and get everybody excited for it. We have an assembly beforehand that would be almost like a party. We would all wear the same thing and go and cheer on the team. Things like that just made Upper Canada College so much more fun to attend, because it wasn't just this purely academic focused school. You were allowed to let loose a little bit and to have fun.

  • 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 to my success post-Upper Canada College, because everyone around me was so into what they were doing.

  • That drive and that desire to just want to do well, and it being so common, is something that I would say largely impacts and defines the student body at Upper Canada College. That also goes beyond academics. Athletics-wise, you would go to the gym, and you would see the football team or the hockey team working out, or getting ready for a game. Just seeing how hard they were working, and seeing how that translated on the field when it came to getting that last minute goal, or that last second touchdown was amazing.

  • You think about a school and you're like, ‘this is an art school’ or ‘this is an athletic school’ or ‘this is where you go for academics’ Here at UCC, we have one of the best jazz bands in the country, they would go to the States to perform We have one of the best model United Nations teams in North America, we won the tournament at Harvard. We had one of the best high school hockey teams. We have some of the best mathematicians who score the highest on tests. No matter what it is that you're into, Upper Canada College won't just introduce it to you to it, they'll show you how you can excel at it, because the student population and the teachers and the people who are there supporting you and helping you there are so good at engaging you and bringing that about.

  • It's an extreme privilege to have graduated from Upper Canada College. The school is really good at giving you opportunities to serve something bigger, to help out in a way that goes beyond the general stuff that you normally think of as volunteering.

  • When I was at Upper Canada College, we had the Syrian Refugee Club and had events where we could bring the recently arrived families to the school, sponsor a family to come over, or fundraise for certain medical procedures. Seeing that in action at that age was inspiring. Now, so much of what I do is just based on this idea that I want to be able to help people, and I want to give back to my community in whatever way I can. That was really instilled in me at Upper Canada College.

  • Upper Canada College shaped me just in the sense of my drive, ambition, and motivation. It all started in Grade 9, and going forward by having those teachers who were able to bring the best out of me, and help me excel in what I wanted to do.

  • I’ve realized more and more that my ability to get my education at Upper Canada College, and have had that opportunity provided to me is a very, very significant privilege. Whereas before, I didn't think about it in that way. Now I really realized that my success, my current ambition, and the way I currently am is so largely solidified in that education I was able to receive.

  • I don't think you would get the breadth of experience at any other school besides Upper Canada College. I don't think there's any other school that could compare in terms of providing you with the level of academics, athletics, and the level of arts, or whatever else you're interested in. You have the opportunity to learn in all those facets to a very high degree, and you don't have to pigeonhole yourself early on because the school is better at one thing than another, they're amazing in all aspects.

  • I think the teachers at Upper Canada College go above and beyond to help you, support you, and enhance your knowledge. You don't see that anywhere else. It doesn't compare to my professors in university. It doesn't compare to my teachers in middle school or elementary school. You really see teachers who care about you, and want you to succeed. I think that should be one of the big draws for anybody potentially looking to apply to Upper Canada College, is knowing that the teacher is not just there to teach, they're there to support you, and they're there to help you in well beyond whatever it is you're learning, whether it be for something personal, or for something else.

  • I think the Upper Canada College community is one of the biggest draws for people. To this day, I communicate with people from Upper Canada College, I work with people who went to Upper Canada College When I see my friends, there's some type of relationship there that was developed within Upper Canada College. My relationships with my friends from Upper Canada College and my teachers from there, that's only growing, and it's not something that just ended after graduation. Having that community, not just within the school but also when you graduate, is something that I think is unique to Upper Canada College.

  • Whether your child is unsure about what they want to do, or if they're very sure about what they want to do, there's no doubt that Upper Canada College will help them in whatever way. Upper Canada College will let you learn and develop in any facet, no matter what level you're at.


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Key insights on Upper Canada College

Each school is different. Upper Canada College's Feature Review excerpts disclose its unique character. Based on discussions with the school's alumni, parents, students, and administrators, they reveal the school’s distinctive culture, community, and identity.

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Our Kids Feature Review

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.

  • 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.
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Learn about Upper Canada College's unique and defining characteristics through this informative video.

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Parent, Pierre Pong (2019)

I feel my child likes the teachers the best, they care, they are energetic, fully engaged, responsible, and resourceful. My child appreciates the learning experience and result the most: teacher took ...


Parent, Julia Pantalone (2018)

My boys have had an amazing experience at Upper Canada College since Day 1. They engage the boys right from the start and as a result, they feel a part of the school very early on. The school spirit ...


Student, Will Huang (2018)

My time so far at Upper Canada has been absolutely amazing. I truly love every time I come to school and see the towering clocktower above you. I first came to UCC in grade 3 and I looked up at the cl...

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