The Giles School History

A look at our history

The Giles School is an independent, non-profit, non-denominational, co-educational French immersion school, founded in 1989 by Harry Giles, CM, QC a pioneer in bilingual French immersion in Canada and the founder of Toronto French School.

The school draws its students from Toronto and the surrounding areas of Markham, Richmond Hill, Ajax, and as far as Port Credit, Ontario.

The Giles School is formerly known as The Markham School for Human Development, and began with just a handful of students in a small church. In 2008, We relocated to its current site in North York where there is plenty of room for exceptional programming.

Founder Harry Giles

Harry Giles is a pioneer in modern education. Regarded as an influential educators in Canada, he established prestigious pre-university competitions, Chemistry and Physics Olympiads, and started the first GCE Ordinary and Advanced examination centre in Canada. He assisted in the creation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the first examination centre for the IB in Canada.

Harry Giles believed that exposing young children to a second language advances their performance in all areas of study.

As the headmaster of the Toronto French School (TFS) for 25 years, Mr. Giles introduced immersed bilingual education in Canada and promoted it across the country. He also introduced and implemented the first early intervention programs in Canadian schools. The scores of students at TFS supported his theory that early childhood intervention.He continued this work at the Giles School where he dedicated his life to the making changes in education.

Mr. Giles is a strong advocate of second-and even third-language education, beginning very early in life. He believes parents need to keep their children away from television and get them reading. He sees old-fashioned phonics training as the key to building reading skills. He favours independent, high-stakes standardized testing throughout the career of the student – and not just testing, but tough testing, modelled on classic versions of the British A-levels and the baccalaureat français. He believes children should be expected to perform acceptably at their grade level before advancing to the next.” ~ Marni Soupcoff, “Listen to Harry Giles,” excerpted from the October 15, 2007 edition of The National Post.

Mr. Giles’ publications include “Schools and Students: Legal Aspects of Administration” as well as texts on poetry, plays and numerous articles in journals. He also served as a Director of numerous public and private corporations in Canada and the Middle East.

Mr. Giles has a Master of Education and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto as well as a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall. He is a member of the Queen’s Counsel and was awarded both the Jubilee and Commemorative medals. Mr. Giles was inducted as members into the Order of Canada in 1973.