About Us

Our House System

The York School has four Houses, each named after important figures in Canadian history — two women and two men — to reflect the co-ed nature of the school.  

The House system provides an excellent opportunity for students of all ages and grades to be together and encourages the development of leadership skills. This system was developed in 1982 and has provided a structure for school spirit and fun competition since then.

Each family belongs to one House, and students compete throughout the year to contribute points towards their house, culminating with an announcement at the end of the year with the overall winner.


Samuel de Champlain is one of Canada's most significant navigators, cartographers, explorers and geographers. Born in 1574, Champlain journeyed from France and established settlements on the east coast of the US and Canada, including one that is now Quebec City. He is therefore known as the "Father of New France". One of his primary contributions to Canada was his cartography, creating the first accurate map of the east coast of Canada.
 
Champlain journeyed to and from Canada for several years, documenting his travels and the terrain he observed from ships, often covering the areas documented by Jacques Cartier, who had surveyed the area over 50 years earlier. In the spring of 1604, Champlain embarked on a trip along the St. Lawrence River - the area that would become the settlement of Acadia. In 1608, Champlain landed in what is now Quebec City, founding a "Habitation" and building fortifications for the defense of this important city. Champlain later became the Lieutenant General of New France.
 
John Graves Simcoe established some of Canada's legal foundations including courts of law, trial by jury, the introduction of English common law, freehold land tenure and the abolition of slavery in Canada. Simcoe's early career was in the British Army, fighting in the American Revolutionary War and Siege of Yorktown, finally entering politics in 1790. In 1791, Simcoe became the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada (present day Southern Ontario, roughly). Soon after, he worked to pass the first Act Against Slavery in Upper Canada.
 
One of Simcoe's notable accomplishments was the construction of Yonge Street and Dundas Street, settlement and trade roads connecting key trade posts. The York School has two campuses on Yonge Street today at 1639 and 1320 Yonge St.
 
The town of Simcoe is named after this notable Canadian, as well as Simcoe Day, Simcoe Street, John Street and a number of other streets, islands and buildings around Ontario.
 

Pauline Johnson is known as one of the founding daughters of the Canadian literary genre. Johnson was the daughter of a Mohawk Clan Chief and an English immigrant to Canada. Johnson's education was a unique mixture of Mohawk verbal storytelling and informal home schooling. The family had an extensive library and Johnson read both Mohawk and classic literary works.

Johnson started performing in the 1880s, as well as composing poetry. She published in the Globe and Saturday Night and was called "the most interesting poetess now living" by Theodore Watts-Dunton. A Toronto performance at an author's evening led to a 15-year stage career weaving in aspects of both her Mohawk and English heritage, songs and dress. Flint and Feather, a collection of Johnson's poetry, remains one of Canada's best selling poetry collections and was first published in 1912.




Nellie McClung is one of Canada's earliest feminists and an accomplished author, politician and social activist. McClung was one of 'The Famous Five', a group of women who fought for the right of women to sit in the federal Senate. McClung also established the mock or model parliament, which York School students enjoy today.

McClung was born in Ontario and moved to Manitoba, where she became active in advancing women's political rights. She was the founder of the Women's Political Equality League, improving women's suffrage through advocacy including 'mock parliament' to show the absurdity of excluding women from politics. In her subsequent development as an author, McClung founded the Canadian Author's Association and the Canadian Women's Press Club. Through McClung's work, Manitoba became the first province to give women the right to vote and run for political office.