TFS, Canada’s first bilingual immersion school, marks 60th anniversary

Toronto, September 21, 2022 — Joyeux anniversaire TFS ! In September 1962, passionate educators and pioneers of Canadian bilingual education, Harry Giles (1930-2021) and his spouse Anna Por Giles (1931-1975), welcomed a handful of students into the basement of their home as the first cohort of a completely unique, coeducational, non-denominational school that they named the Toronto French School. 
The couple wanted their children to benefit from a bilingual education in the two official languages of their country, helping to encourage the emergence of a truly Canadian national identity — while also providing students with an international perspective. Because such a program did not exist at that time, they created it. 

TFS at 60 remains true to its mission 

Their radical venture was wildly successful, leading the way to rapidly spreading French immersion programs in Canada in the 1960s. In 1980, TFS was granted the patronage of Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, an exquisite French speaker herself, for its seminal work towards bilingualism in Canada. 

Sixty years later, TFS has grown to become Canada’s International School, as we know it today, and one of the largest independent schools in the country,  yet it remains true to its founding mission. “TFS has had an indelible impact on Canadian education, and is a wonderfully pluralistic community of languages and cultures. Our students learn to be critical thinkers who are prepared to do good in a complex and interconnected world,” says Norman Gaudet, Head of School. 

Launching TFS’ anniversary year 

From September 2022 to June 2023, TFS is bringing its community together to mark its 60th anniversary through a series of events, diving into its history while creating new life-long memories and looking ahead to build its future. 

September 23 will be TFS’ 60th anniversary launch, starting with the students’ Terry Fox Run, a longstanding tradition of the school, followed in the afternoon by official programming, a barbecue and a home opening soccer game against Crescent School. Ahead of National Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30, Red Sky Performance, Canada’s leading company of Indigenous performance, will perform as part of our acknowledgement of the land TFS has been fortunate to call home for decades.