Hillside Commonly Asked Questions

Hillside Commonly Asked Questions

How do I book a trip?

Each elementary school in the TDSB is allocated trips to their outdoor education centre based on the size of student population at the school.  

Bookings usually being in May of the prior school year.  All trips are booked through the TOES booking application.  Only the school principal or someone they designate can book trips on behalf of the teachers at the school.  Anyone can add their class to the waitlist at any point in the school year.

For additional infomation, click on the link for the Help Guide for Booking TDSB Day Centre Outdoor Education Trips.

Do I need arrange my own transportation?

Since the 2021/2022 school year, schools have been responsible for booking (and paying for) their transportation to get to and from Hillside.  If your class is taking a school bus, the TDSB has several bus vendors.  The cost and timing which each vendor varies.  We recommend getting quotes from multiple so you find the best fit for your school.

When booking a bus, please arrange for it to arrive at Hillside as soon as possible in the morning (usually bus companies pick up just after 9:00 am) and depart from Hillside at 2:00.  If you are having a difficult time arranging for a bus, please contact Hillside for more information. 

Some schools are opting to take TTC as an alternative to booking a school bus.  Hillside is about a 10-15 minute walk from the main stop at the Toronto Zoo.  Please let us know if this is the plan for your class, so that we can meet you there. 


How do I complete the EMA Virtual Excursion Form?  What do I need to know?

The TDSB offers a help document on completing the EMA.  Each program also has information around the curriculum goals and itinerary listed.  Please consult the specific program on our website for the required informaiton.


What should I bring to Hillside?

  • Trillium Excursion by Class list.
  • All epipens and puffers needed by students and staff (please check the excursion sheet).
  • The class will be outside during their excursion with us.  Appropriate clothing for the weather (for you, volunteers and children) is important.  Please note that we have extra clothing on site that students can borrow if required.  There is no expectation that students or adults purchase anything in order to visit our site.
  • Lunch and drinks (in a reusable water bottle if possible). Each child should be bringing their own (remind volunteers to bring some for themselves), unless you are doing a Hot Dog Cookout Lunch, in which case you should bring hot dogs, buns, condiments (remember veggie or halal dogs for those who need them).


How do I pay?

Please give your trip money to your OA. We will do a Journal Entry after we confirm the number of students who attended the trip.

How many parents/volunteers can I bring?

The TDSB Excursion Policy guidelines for minimum ratios of adult supervision are as follows:

  • JK/SK 1 adult supervisor for every ten students
  • Gr. 1 – 8 1 adult supervisor for every fifteen students (minimum of 2 adults)
  • Gr. 9 - 12 1 adult supervisor for every thirty students (minimum of 2 adults)

Since volunteers are coming on the excursion to assist with students in your classroom, they are not permitted to bring along other children. We encourage all adults to play an active role in the program and support student learning. Please note that Hillside is a non-smoking and scent-free facility.


I have a split grade. How do I select programs?

For those who teach split grades, please pick a program from one of the two grades you teach.  You are able to insert your split grade into the Registration Form, and any other additional information you need to share.

I have changed my plans re: programming. Can I change my program choice at Hillside?

Of course. Please contact us by phone or email to update us on program changes. If the weather is conducive (i.e., snow) we may have suggestions regarding program changes to take advantage of the weather.


I have been given a visit to Hillside. Can I bring my grade partner’s class too? The Special Education Class that I partner with?

At Hillside we have limited space and equipment. It can be extremely challenging to bring 2 full classes together (unless booked as two separate trips on the same day), and so each class must be given their own Hillside visit. If you have 1 or 2 students who are regularly integrated into your program, we will certainly accommodate that ongoing integration. We do ask that you contact us and let us know well in advance of the trip however.


Can we bring cameras, phones, etc. to take photos?

We encourage participants to take photos of the program in which they are participating. Please review your classroom / school policy around cameras with your students prior to your trip. Please Note – Hillside will not be responsible for any cameras, lost, broken, misplaced or stolen.


Can Hillside accommodate for the needs of the students in my class?

Hillside works diligently to accommodate for the needs of all learners. However, certain seasons are easier to work in than others when accommodating for the physical needs of some. When booking, please let us know the make-up of your class and we will work with you to ensure that the appropriate accommodations and modifications are provided to support all students in your class.


We are currently/becoming an Eco-School. How can Hillside help us with this?

We too are an Eco-School and want to support other schools with this initiative. Many of our lessons will get you points for your scoring. As well, we can talk to you about ways in which our actions/procedures fall into Eco-Schools.


What about ticks

Ticks are present in Rouge Park and have been found in other parts of the city as well. It is the new reality in Toronto and many other places in Ontario.  There are preventative measures you can take such as wearing long pants and sleeves, light clothing and closed-toed footwear. The risk of getting Lyme disease in Toronto is considered to be low. If the tick is removed within 24 hours there is not a risk of Lyme disease. If a tick is discovered after this time, doctors can prescribe antibiotics to prevent the risk of infection. The number of ticks who carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease is low. For more information please see the following link, and if you have further questions do not hesitate to call the school.