Northern Secondary School (Toronto)

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Northern Secondary School
Northern Secondary School Crest.png
851 Mount Pleasant Road
Toronto, Ontario, M4P 2L5
Coordinates 43°42′38.17″N 79°23′24.42″W / 43.7106028°N 79.3901167°W / 43.7106028; -79.3901167Coordinates: 43°42′38.17″N 79°23′24.42″W / 43.7106028°N 79.3901167°W / 43.7106028; -79.3901167
School type Public high school
Motto The Pride, The Spirit.
"Hail Dear Old Northern"
Founded September 1930
School board Toronto District School Board
Superintendent Sandra Tondat
Area trustee Shelly Laskin
School number 930768
Principal Ron Felsen
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,806 (Fall 2016)[1]
Colour(s) Red, Gold, and Blue             
Mascot Red Knight
Team name Red Knights

Northern Secondary School is a public high school in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It teaches grades 9 through 12. It is a part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). Prior to Amalgamation of Toronto in 1998, it was within the Toronto Board of Education (TBE).[2] The closest TTC subway station is Eglinton.

Northern has long-standing rivalries with nearby high-school North Toronto Collegiate Institute and also with Central Technical School, Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute and Leaside High School.


Founded in 1930, it was originally known as Northern Vocational School, until the twenty-fifth anniversary when the name was changed to Northern Technical-Commercial, which lasted for three years until the present name, Northern Secondary School, came into use because a definite district had been assigned for matriculation students.

Northern was the first Ontario school to have a student council.[3] The school is a pilot site of a Toronto Police Service program that places on-duty police officers in schools.


Northern Secondary is built in the Gothic Collegiate style, has a floor space of about 121,317 square feet[4] and contains one hundred and fifteen rooms.[5] C.E.C. Dyson was the school's original architect.[6] Although little is known about him, he was the school board's architect from 1921 until 1949.[7] Northern is known for the grotesques which exist on the exterior, throughout the entrance foyer and inside the auditorium.

Further evidence of the Gothic Collegiate style can be found in the vaulted ceilings of the hallways, and the arched doorways and windows featured throughout the building. As stated on a plaque inside the main entrance, during the 60s a major addition was built which significantly altered the rear of the school. These renovations changed little about the original parts of the building. Although once grand, over the decades, the facility has fallen into considerable disrepair and is in need of extensive renovation.[8]

An exterior grotesque
A vaulted hallway ceiling
An arched side entrance
Northern Secondary School


Northern's gifted program / enriched program and its comprehensive range of elective courses, including a diverse art department, bring students in from across the city. The school runs a selective admissions process, as well as optional attendance lotteries.[9] There is also a large variety of AP and gifted courses available at all grade levels.[10]

Each year, Northern's students obtain over $1 million in university scholarships.[11][12]

Northern's students have won numerous national & international awards in multiple academic disciplines. These include the NASA space settlement competition, the World Debates at Oxford, England, and the Canadian Association of Physicists national contest.[13]

The school has over 50 active clubs, associations and committees, as well as over 120 teachers, resulting in a 15 to 1 student teacher ratio.[14]


The school has over 50 varsity athletic teams.[15] Northern's football team, the Red Knights, have won numerous titles in Toronto's high school league (including two Metro Bowls, and the first Toronto Bowl). A number of top players have gone on to join the Canadian Football League.[16]

Numerous alumni of the school have also gone on[17] to play in the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, the Israeli Premier League, as well as the Rugby World Cup.

In Popular Culture[edit]

The school has been used as a location for several films including Carrie (2013 film) and Resident Evil: Apocalypse, which were filmed inside the school.[18] The academic decathlon scene of Billy Madison was filmed in the school's auditorium.[19] The 2009 documentary Fight for the Planet was also filmed at the school.[20]

Numerous commercials have also been filmed on the school's premises.


Northern has a long history of supporting national & international charities, with over 40 years of participation in the United Way fundraisers for poverty alleviation. The school has been the top fundraiser amongst Toronto high schools for a number of years.[21]

Notable Alumni and Staff[edit]

Alumni of the school include[22] Academy Award winners, members of the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, holders of the Order of Canada, as well as Grey Cup & Stanley Cup champions, and a Spitfire pilot who played a key role in World War II's Stalag Luft III escape, better known as "The Great Escape."

Painter Lawren P. Harris taught at then Northern Vocational.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Northern Secondary School Retrieved June 13, 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^
  3. ^ "That first year….Northern Vocational School opens". NOVOC Yearbook, 1931. Northern Secondary School. Archived from the original on 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  4. ^ "Northern Secondary School History That first year….Northern Vocational School opens From NOVOC Yearbook of 1931". Archived from the original on September 27, 2006. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Northern Secondary School History That first year….Northern Vocational School opens From NOVOC Yearbook of 1931". Archived from the original on September 27, 2006. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  6. ^ Murray, Terry. "The "Handball Gods" of Northern Secondary School, Toronto". Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  7. ^ Murray, Terry. "The "Handball Gods" of Northern Secondary School, Toronto". Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Parent speaks out about 'state of disrepair' of son's school". CTV News Toronto. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  9. ^
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  16. ^ "Northern Secondary School Back on Track". CAnadian ONline Explorer. 2004-03-10. Archived from the original on 2004-05-04. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  17. ^
  18. ^,+Toronto,+Ontario,+Canada
  19. ^,+Toronto,+Ontario,+Canada
  20. ^,+Toronto,+Ontario,+Canada
  21. ^
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