About ESA

The Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA) is an arts-focused non-semestered high school located in Toronto, Canada.  Founded on September 8, 1981, we have the distinction of being the oldest, free standing arts-focused high school in Canada.  We are auditioned-based.  Students from across the city can apply for consideration.

Academic Excellence

Our academic curriculum offers a full range of course selections in the areas of mathematics, sciences, languages and social sciences, while giving you the flexibility to be fully engaged in your arts major. Students must balance a rigorous workload with numerous extra curricular performances. Students graduate with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Our graduates are very successful in gaining admission to post-secondary institutions, including universities, colleges and various arts schools.
     Over 80 per cent of our students pursue post-secondary studies at the university level in such disciplines as: engineering, music, life sciences, visual arts, economics, philosophy, journalism, drama and film.
Etobicoke School of the Arts is very well known in North America. Our well-deserved reputation for excellence draws students from across the province.  Our students have also excelled on the Provincial Grade 10 Literacy Test and on the Grade 9 EQAO Results.


Students major in dance, drama, film, music (band or strings), music theatre or visual arts. Students work with our committed staff in an exciting and dynamic curriculum tailored to each art. The learning environment is vibrant, engaging, welcoming and extremely busy. Students must study a minimum of two arts credits of their major each year. Learn more >>

Program Selection Requirements

Students need 30 credits to graduate. All students in grades 9 to 11 inclusive will be expected to take a full program of eight credits each year. Course changes can be made only until the end of September. Grade 12 students must take a minimum of six credits.

Special Guests – Learning from Professionals

We host many visiting artists who have professional credentials in each area of study. Collaborate and learn from choreographers, music accompanists, professional musicians, visual artists, costume designers and set designers. Learn and perform in professional facilities. More >>

Student Life

School runs on a two-day schedule with 4 periods a day. Each week is either week A, or week B, and based on which week it is, the 2 afternoon classes are switched in order to ensure a student does not miss the same class every week for rehearsals or appointments.
     Our students participate in many music concerts, drama productions, dance shows, film shows and visual arts exhibitions throughout the school year. Students are committed to the performance schedule. Our students rehearse at school for many hours beyond the school day. It’s a dynamic, creative world where our students practice, perform and create on their own, in small or large groups throughout the school.
     Our student-run athletic council supports numerous sports. Intramural sport offerings are decided based on student interest. We are fortunate to have a common lunch hour so that all students can participate in intramurals. We also compete in the West Region of the TDSSAA in a number of sports.
     Beyond arts and athletic activities, our students can participate in numerous clubs such as Student Council, Black Student Association, Solstice, ECOschools and more.
Learn more >>


Over 80 per cent of our students pursue post-secondary studies. Although many pursue a career in the arts after high school, just as many attend top college and universities to pursue challenging academic programs. Our science department has graduating students attending top universities such as Queen’s for pure sciences, Waterloo for computer engineering, McMaster for life sciences, Western for biological and medical sciences, McGill for arts and science and Guelph for environmental science. Learn more >>

Parent/Guardian Involvement

Parents and guardians actively support ESA through attending events & performances, participating in activities like the Big Dig and through Parent Council and SESAT (aka “Supporters of Etobicoke School of the Arts Talent”).


In addition to excellent classroom facilities for the academic subjects and a 550 seat auditorium for performances, the school offers first rate equipment in spaces especially designed for a study of the arts.
We have two dance studios with barres and mirrored walls. For visual arts students, we have a printmaking shop, a photography room and three spacious studios for drawing, painting and sculpture as well as unlimited wall space for exhibitions. The music complex includes a listening lab, an electronic piano lab, small practice rooms and separate rooms for vocal, string and wind instruction. For drama students, we provide a small studio theatre and large open spaces for acting instruction and practice.
     All programs in the arts and academics are supported by a resource centre with forty-four computers and an extensive collection of books, prints, tapes, slides and recordings. The school has two modern graphics computer labs, one equipped with eighteen Dell computers and twelve Apple OS X workstations, scanners and both black and white and colour printers; the other lab contains twenty-eight PC computers. The main lab has contemporary Adobe graphics software including PhotoShop, In Design, Flash and Dreamweaver for design, animation and web page production. The second computer lab has up-to-date video editing software on each computer with five editing suites. The computer labs are networked and each station has access to the Internet.

Learning Resources

We support our students with an extensive collection of learning resources. The Elizabeth Downie media library provides books, periodicals, CDs, DVDs, musical scores, Internet access and specialized electronic databases for all subject areas. It houses a cross-curricular lab of 45 networked computers.
We have a multi-media lab with 32 computers with Adobe Creative Suite CS software and extensive computer peripherals; a specialized music and film lab; and a darkroom and mini digital photography lab. Every classroom has Internet access capability.