Schools in Orillia

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Just as any other city or town, Orillia has it's share of educational institutions, from pre-schools to grade schools (elementary), to high school, and includes a few private schools, as well as some forms of continuing adult education and alternative educational opportunities.

Georgian College
825 Memorial Avenue

There is a large satellite campus for Georgian College, that has been in Orillia for as long as I've been here (well, before actually). It apparently opened in 1969 (I didn't live in Orillia then).  Over the years, Georgian College has grown from that first small building into a large and bustling campus.  Up until a couple of years ago, there were no student dorms at Georgian, and out of town students had to find lodging in town. In 2013, the first student residences opened at the college. Built near the front of the large property, they are the first thing you see as you pass it, and for student residences, they are rather attractive buildings (I don't know what the inside is like, but check out their interior photos and info here).

I didn't go to school at all in Orillia because I was already married when I arrived in town, but I did attend several courses at Georgian College in Orillia, and found myself working for Maureen Watt who was the Academic Chair at Georgian College back then, so I'm familiar with the college, and several of the instructors (I also worked over in the Midland satellite campus for the old Futures Program.)  It was always a friendly environment to be in. The campus bookstore and  library were two of my favourite places to be when I wasn't working.

Lakehead University 
(Orillia Campus - Main)
500 University Avenue

More recently, Lakehead University joined Orillia's complement of post-secondary educational facilities. It began with a small "campus" at the corner of Colborne and West Streets in the old Tudhope Building "Heritage Place" in 2006, and opened a full campus in 2010 on University Avenue in the Westridge area. Lakehead has a large and modern campus with lots of glass to let in natural light, and glass walled hallways. The building was designed as a "green" structure and has many environmentally friendly building materials, and a design intended to keep the operation costs low. They even have a green roof (a roof planted with succulents to collect water, and keep the building below it cool). I was asked to photograph the building while construction was still going on outside of the school facility (residences and new building) for the certification. It is quite an amazing campus, with features unlikely to be found at older buildings. Besides the green roof and lots of glass, they use recycled water for the toilet flush (not the drinking water), The structure itself is built with specialized concrete that contains an additive to help with insulation.

Since I didn't go to school in Orillia, I have no particular recommendations for what grade schools are the best choice, but essentially all the public schools adhere to the current standards of education as set out by the Simcoe Country Board of Education ... and there's not much more to say.

Pre-School & Daycare Facilities

Orillia Central 
25 Coldwater Street
547 Laclie Street

Westridge Early 
Education Center 
735 University Ave.
Facebook Page

Little Lamb Early Learning
505 Gill St. Orillia
Phone: (705) 330-0277
Orillia YMCA 
Several Locations
(see site linked in title)
Simcare Childcare Services 3.8(10) · Day care center 54 Albert St N · (705) 327-5566

Children's Corner
Nursery School
54 Peter St S Orillia,
Phone: (705) 326-2171
A list of Licensed and Unlicensed Daycares can be found on the GoDaycare site.
For early learning and education Upper Canada Childcare offers a list of locations near Orillia.

Child Care Service Listing (includes different types of care, so not just infants, not just long term or regular, but things like sitters, nannies, etc.) I will just say to be very careful if you use this services because I know nothing about it, except what I read on the site.

Public Elementary Schools
Couchiching Heights
455 Laclie

Harriet Todd
11 George Street

Lions Oval
25 Brant. St. W
Orchard Park School
24 Calverley St.

Regent Park School
485 Regent Street

Samuel de Champlain
275 Park Street

Catholic Elementary Schools

Monsignor Lee
14 Fittons Rd E.

Notre Dame 
Catholic School
Harvie Settlement Rd
St. Bernard's
255 Oxford St.

Private Elementary Schools
Orillia Christian 
505 Gill Street
Bright Horizons 
Montessori School
4473 Orkney Bch Rd

High Schools
250 Collegiate Dr. Orillia
(705) 329-4537

Both ODCVI and Park Street high schools no longer exist. Park Street was torn down in 2013/14 and a larger school was built on the same site. The secondary school population from Twin Lakes Secondary, ODCVI, & Park Street were split between the 2 schools (Orillia Secondary & Twin Lakes).

I think the idea was that student enrolments were dwindling, and weren't sufficient for both schools to stay open. That was before all the immigration increases we've seen in the area. Hopefully, they won't have to build another in the future as young families are migrating here from the cities, and new Canadians are arriving here as well.

2 Borland St. E

Twin Lakes Secondary
381 Birch St.

Lions Oval is the newest public elementary school. It was built to combine several older schools, partly because the buildings were aging, and partly because elementary school enrollment is less than it used to be. That might be because families typically seem to have less children per family than in the past, and maybe because of the growth and availability of private schools. My grandson attended the Lions Oval school from the year it was built.

"When I was in school" was a phrase that often came out of my mouth, when my kids were small, and again more recently as my grandchildren go through school (usually resulting in rolling eyes ... I'm sure all parents have seen that expressive trait in their kids at some point).

Today, I think education has begun to "pick up the ball" again, but for a while they did "drop" it. I don't know whether those methods were experimental or not, but I took major issues with the lack of knowledge imparted to the students. My kids were subject to "creative spelling" ... know what that is?

During English class, the exercise was to write either an essay or story based on a subject the teacher gave (summer holiday, my favourite person, that sort of thing), and these were graded. We saw our first of these essays during "Parent-Teacher Night" (grade 3, I think) and I was appalled at the spelling. My daughter got a B+ on her essay, but there were a dozen words that were not spelled correctly. When I asked why they hadn't been corrected, the teacher replied that spelling wasn't what was considered important, it was the child's ability to express themselves in written words.

Well, okay but, how will she know those are wrong if you don't correct them?

They also didn't teach phonics ... anybody remember that? I do. It's what allows you to learn new words. My kids, they didn't get taught phonics at school. Spelling was an exercise in memorization. You were told what the word was, you memorized it's spelling. That's it. My kids did not know how to "sound out a word", how to use a dictionary or a thesaurus. Not until WE decided to take on the initiative ourselves.

The result of that form of education was children who went into university not knowing how to spell, not knowing how to look up anything, not knowing how to do research for projects.

Not my kids though. I think they might have gotten more education at home than at school.

A few years after my grandkids started school my daughter said to me ... guess what mom? You remember when you taught us phonics? I said yep, aren't you glad? She replied ... "well, the school is teaching phonics again" ... go figure.

Alternative Education

Orillia Learning Center (Adult & Continuing Education)
Willowcourt Plaza (575 West St. S.)
Adult Day School (21 Years & Older)
Literacy & Essential Skills
Phoenix Program (18 - 20 Years)
Co-operative Education
Summer School Remedial
Correspondence Courses
Drivers Education Programs
Maturity & Equivalent Credits
PLAR for Mature Students Program

Simcoe Country District School Board Alternative Education
20 Front Street South
Alternate teaching and learning methods with focused and individualized instruction.