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Register for adult ESL classes at the library and much more!

September 1, 2012 | Alyson | Comments (38)

School books

The new school year starts next week and not just for children, but also for many newcomers to Canada. Different branches of Toronto Public Library offer free ESL classes (English as a Second Language) for adults (aged 18 and up) which are taught by TESL-certified ESL instructors. There are classes for learners of every level from beginners to advanced. 



Contact the libraries listed below to find out how and when to register for a class during Fall 2012. You can also call the TPLibrary's Answerline at 416-393-7131 for branches information. Some classes have different start dates. 

If your local library does not have an ESL class, you can see if other places (schools, community centres, newcomer agencies) have classes near you (see below for our suggestions). 

These Toronto Public Library branches offer ESL classes in the Fall 2012:

Barbara Frum Esl-pic



Dawes Road

Goldhawk Park



North York Central


Pleasant View






The two largest school boards in Toronto - The Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board  -  offer many different ESL classes across the whole city, at various times of the day, weekends, and skill levels. Click on the brochure links below to browse their programs or pick up a free print 2012-2013 TDSB ESL brochure or TCDSB brochure from your local library branch. You can also contact the school boards adult ESL programs at 416-338-4300 (TDSB) and 416-397-6600 (TCDSB). 

To find even more classes and locations that may be offered by community centres and newcomer agencies - call the free telephone service 211 Toronto. They will refer you to ESL classes and other services in your part of town. The 211 Toronto community information is also searchable online.

                                                                                                                       PR card


When you register for a class - it is very important to bring with you the documents that prove your residency in Canada: such as a Permanent Resident Card, Refugee Claimant Document, Convention Refugee Status (white paper), Acknowledgement of Intent to Claim Refugee Status, Canadian Citizenship Card or Canadian passport. If you do not bring your documents with you, you may not be able to register.



In addition to ESL classes - you can find many useful ESL learning materials at your local library. Visit any library branch and staff will be happy to show you the ESL section. Borrow books, cds, dvds to use at home or login on the library's website to use online resources at home to practice your English. All you need is your free library card to login and a computer with Interet access.

  ESL section at the library

ONLINE DATABASES from your library (library card required):

  • TenseBuster - Grammar lessons and practice tests for all levels.
  • IELTS - practice tests to help you prepare to take the IELTS exam.
  • Ebsco Ebooks - electronic books, including TOEFL practice materials, you can use on computers and many portable devices.



Our biggest ESL resources collection is located on the 4th floor of the Toronto Reference Library (Bloor/Yonge subway) - and is part of the "Languages and Literature Department". You will find there many books, CDs and DVDs on various skills like pronunciation, listening, reading comprehension, grammar, English for work; course books, dictionaries, exam preparation such as TOEFL and IELTS. Some of the materials in the ESL centre you can borrow to use at home, some are reference and can only be used at the library. There are tables equipped with CD and DVD players so that language learners can practice with the latest study materials.

The peaceful and welcoming place on the 4th floor is a favourite for many ESL learners!


ESL CLASS VISITS AND LIBRARY TOURS: ESL teachers can also bring classes for library tours - ask at your local branch for details.


Do you have a favourite experience with an ESL class in Toronto? Feel free to share with your fellow readers. And have a great back-to-school season!


[Posted by Alyson and Iana]

English Can Be Fun: A Free Summer Program for Newcomer Children

July 4, 2011 | Debby | Comments (5)

It's not too late to sign up! 

The program begins today and runs until July 29th, but there are still spots available!

English Can Be Fun! is free program for newcomer children aged 7-10. It is a program to help children get ready for school in September by learning English through games and activities as well as becoming familiar with using the library.

Classes are held three times a week for 1.5 hours each session at 20 different library branches, listed below. Please inquire at the various locations for more information.

English Can Be Fun Locations

Download and print the English Can Be Fun! application form (PDF) 

Don't forget about all our other great books and services for children:

ESL materials for Children in our library catalogue
Hear-a-Story online for children to practice listening skills in English, French, Mandarin, Italian, Polish, and Urdu
Read-along Tumblebooks are great to help Children learn English as they follow along the stories

Dial-a-Story (416-395-5400) is available 24 hours a day and is for children who want to hear stories over the phone. There are stories in English, French, Cantonese, Gujarati, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Tamil, and Urdu.

English Can Be Fun! Branch Locations 

English Can Be FUN! for Newcomer children

June 4, 2010 | Diana | Comments (4)

Free summer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are available for newcomer children ages 7 to 10 years old. Classes are conducted by qualified ESL teachers. Activities include: reading and writing; and preparation for school in September. Visit your nearest branch and fill in the application form English Can Be Fun!. Your child can start learning and having fun!

English Can Be Fun! classes are from July 5, 2010 to August 13, 2010


Welcome! This blog is written by librarians and provides information and resources available from the library and around Toronto to new residents of Canada. For more information see the Library's Help for Newcomers website