History of CDS

In 1971, a group of determined parents in King Township saw a need for a co-ed private school for Grades 1-8 north of Toronto. These parents included our founding families: Moffat and the late Margo Dunlap, and Edmond and the late Daphne Eberts.

At the time, the local government had decided to shut down its country schools and bus local primary students to one of the newer and larger regional public elementary schools. The fear among some local parents was that the larger elementary schools would lack the personal warmth and individual commitment of the smaller country schools.

Neither the Eberts nor the Dunlaps had any experience in starting a school, however, they dutifully did their research. Having grown up in the U.S., Margo Dunlap was familiar with the country day school movement and sought the advice of a cousin who had been involved in starting the Maclay School outside Tallahassee, Florida in 1968. Margo suggested they call their proposed school ‘The Country Day School.’

junior school in autumnIn March 1971, an expanding group of dedicated parents hired John Pratt, a former English teacher at Bishop’s College School and Trinity College School to conduct a feasibility study. John’s research was evaluated a year later and the decision was made to proceed with the opening of The Country Day School in September 1972. John Pratt was hired to be the first Headmaster and three other teachers were hired shortly thereafter from far and wide: the late Alison Scott, the late Peter Taylor and Christine De Witt.

On September 11, 1972 CDS opened its doors to 47 students in what was formerly the Eversley Public School. This rented property, which the School later purchased through a reserve bid in 1978, included an original one-room schoolhouse – Eversley Schoolhouse – built in 1883, and two large classrooms.

To this day, community remains at the core of all that we do at The Country Day School and a sense of shared connectedness with the School remains at the heart of our collective motivation to see CDS prosper.

CDS is now recognized among Canada’s top independent schools and offers programs in JK-12 to a student population of 810 students. Our property and facilities have expanded over the years, while our beautiful country setting remains the same; 100 idyllic acres beckon just outside our doors.

List of 3 news stories.

  • Paul Duckett: 1989-2011

    Paul Duckett took over as Headmaster of The Country Day School in 1989 and continued to serve CDS for 22 years. During his first year, he set out to develop a vision with strategies to build the School academically and strengthen it financially.
    Read More
  • Robert Ross: 1976-1989

    Robert Ross served for 13 years as the second Headmaster of CDS from 1976-1989. During that time he worked alongside seven different chairpersons and oversaw multiple expansion projects, including the purchase of the original property in 1978, the construction of the David D. Ross Gym in 1980 (named after his late brother) and expansion of the Junior School, and the building of the Senior School in 1986.
    Read More
  • John Pratt : 1972-1976

    In 1971 John Pratt was asked to conduct a feasibility study to determine whether an independent school in King Township would be viable. He went on to serve as the founding Headmaster from 1972-76.
    Read More


The Country Day School wishes to recognize and acknowledge the land on which the school operates. Our nearest Indigenous Nations are now the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the Chippewas of Georgina Island. The Dish with One Spoon Wampum covenant is often cited as an example of the shared responsibility for caring for these lands among the Huron-Wendat, Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples who would call these their traditional territories. CDS respects the relationship with these lands and recognizes that our connection to this land can be strengthened by our continued relationship with all First Nations, by acknowledging our shared responsibility to respect and care for the land and waters for future generations.

School Information

13415 Dufferin Street King, Ontario L7B 1K5 
(905) 833-1220 


Founded in 1972, The Country Day School is a co-educational private school offering programs in JK-12 and located on 100 acres north of Toronto in King.