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 Port Credit, Ont.

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, The Giles School relocated to its current site in North York, Ont. This location not only provides a single building for all the school’s students but also offers plenty of room to expand as enrolment grows.

About our founder Harry Giles

“A child who is loved and knows he is loved, is a child who will work harder and who will achieve.”

Harry Giles is a pioneer in modern education. Regarded as one of the most influential educators in Canada, he established the 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 and established the first examination centre of the International Baccalaureate in Canada. Mr. Giles has participated actively in worldwide educational communities including representing Canada at the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th International Curriculum Conferences.

When Harry Giles founded The Toronto French School in 1962, he found that exposing young children to a second language advanced their performance in other areas of study. These findings were supported and justified when Torsten Wiesel and David H. Hubel were awarded the Nobel Prize just under 20 years later, proving that without appropriate and targeted stimulation, neural pathways die and can never be repaired.

As founder and headmaster of the Toronto French School 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 results of the students at that time were unrivalled, indicating the staggering potential of early education. His work continued at The Giles School as he has sought to change the educational system in Canada.

Mr. Giles is a Queen’s Counsel. He holds both the Jubilee and Commemorative medals and received membership in the Order of Canada in 1973 for his initiative in creating and directing the first private school in Toronto offering instruction in the French language.

Mr. Giles has also served as president of a chemical company, an economist in Canada and the Middle East and director of various public and private corporations. His publications include “Schools and Students: Legal Aspects of Administration” as well as poetry, a play and numerous articles in journals.

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.