Rosseau Lake College (RLC) is an independent coed day and boarding school offering Grade 7 through Grade 12. It was established in 1967 as an all-boys’ school — it became coed in 1983 — on a property about a 2½-hour drive north of Toronto. The school is in the heart of the Muskoka region occupying 56 acres with 4,000 feet of shoreline. The campus has a traditional, modern feel. It includes four boarding houses, a dining hall overlooking Lake Rosseau, two academic centres and outbuildings that support the academic program.

Windows line the indoor spaces, and the natural environment is a constant presence in the student experience. There are outdoor classrooms, including a natural amphitheatre by the water’s edge.

Students come to RLC because they want an education, but also because they are looking for more. They want to be engaged, to find a place within a community of kindred spirits and true academic peers. They intend to go on to post-secondary studies, though they also understand that school should never be only a stepping stone to some future accomplishment.

The school rightly prides itself on graduating students who have a strong sense of identity as learners, are able to describe who they are, and analyse the experiences they’ve had.

Academic life

RLC is a preparatory school in the classic sense in that all the students are planning to enter post-secondary programmes. Academics are rigorous, following a progressive liberal arts model. The average class size is between 10 and 15 students. The school, understandably, attracts teachers who are committed to outdoor education. All are dynamic, creative, and self-starting.

RLC doesn’t offer the International Baccalaureate (IB), though it shares many attributes with schools that do. That includes the tradition of thinking globally — the IB is heavily influenced by the work of Kurt Hahn, as was RLC itself — particularly in the sense of global citizenship, which has been a core feature of the school’s DNA since its inception. Likewise, learning experiences are stretched out over longer arcs of time.

The school year is semestered, so courses are offered over a period of months. That’s mirrored in the daily and weekly schedule, with longer blocks of time in the afternoons for students to get involved in projects in a deeper, more committed way. Because of the variation of the daily schedule through the week (Wednesday afternoons, for example, are on a flexible schedule), there isn’t a sense of being pushed from class to class, discipline to discipline, whenever the bell rings. Instead, there is time offered to get into a task and stay with it, free from distractions. The dissection of a frog, for example, might take a whole afternoon.

As well it should. This is a school that believes in the value of taking time, that learning is an experience to be savoured. Graham Vogt, Assistant Head of School, says that “it is the difference between spotting the barred owl on a trail walk — perched still and silent, otherwise invisible within the overhead limbs of the maple — or simply seeing it through the chain link at the local zoo. The bird is impressive in either scenario, but the experience is vastly different… We love for our students to see the owl not because we show it to them, but because they discover it on their own.”

The school follows the Ontario curriculum, and students graduate with the OSSD, though the progress through the grades is highly sequenced and unique to RLC. Grades 7 through 8 are the Foundation Years, which, as the name suggests, are designed as a time to develop a good basis in the fundamentals.

Instructors work closely together so that when students move up, their strengths, challenges, and talents are known. The school prizes individual, student-paced learning.


140 | 50% International | 50% Canadian | 60 Day Students | 80 Boarders

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For a detailed profile of Head of School Dave Krocker see