Terry Fox Update

For the ESLEO students who read Run (and 3U’s interested in Canadian history), the Globe and Mail newspaper has an interesting video about what’s happening to some of Terry Fox’s possessions. You can watch it here.

Enjoy the nice snowy afternoon, and good luck with the rest of your exams!



Happy November, students!

I know many of you have been starting the process of university applications, and that it can be rather daunting! Feel free to talk to me any time about your choices — I’m happy to everything from just answering a few questions to making up a list of schools and programs that might fit what you’re interested in. In the mean time, here is some information that might help you search for the right school for you:

Understanding the Canadian System: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Which school is the best?
A: In Canada, there is no single school that is considered “the best”. (Seriously! I’m not just saying that!) Some Canadian universities are more famous internationally, but a huge number of Canada’s best schools are ones you may not have heard of!

Q: But I want a good job. I need to go to U of T!
A: That’s not really a question. In any case, a more famous school DOES NOT lead to a better education or a better job. All Canadian universities will give you a top-quality education, and once you have your degree, nobody in Canada will care which university you went to.

Q: Why would I want to go to a medium or small school?
A: Smaller schools in smaller places mean smaller class sizes. Who cares? Smaller classes mean more one-on-one time with professors, something that can be particularly helpful when you’re trying to navigate a new system in a country where you aren’t a native speaker of the language.

Q: Does Canada have any fun cities other than Toronto?
A: Yes, yes, yes! Canada’s 5 biggest cities are: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Calgary. However, some of the cities known for having awesome university experiences aren’t necessarily the biggest! Check out the variety of responses in sources like Macleans (summarized in this article). Also this site. For example:
Most satisfied students: UWO (large), Guelph (medium), Acadia & many others (small)
Highest enjoyment of city: Montreal (McGill), Toronto (many!), Sherbrooke (Universite de Sherbrooke), Calgary (U of C, MRU), Wolfville (Acadia)
Best campus atmosphere: McMaster& UWO (large), Guelph (medium), Nippising/Bishop’s (small)

Q: How can I learn about other schools in Canada?
A: Talk to me! Also, below is a list of some schools you might not have heard of that are known for having excellent programs. You can then use the website SchoolFinder to search for your desired program, and see which schools offer it! (Make sure you only select “Canada” and “University” or “College” depending on what kind of school you want)

Here’s a list of some popular schools in Canada, but it is by no means comprehensive! To see all of Canada’s universities, go to this website!

The Internationally Famous Schools
University of British Columbia (British Columbia)
University of Calgary (Alberta)
University of Western Ontario (Ontario)
University of Toronto (Ontario)
University of Waterloo (Ontario)
McGill University (Quebec)
Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia)

Excellent Canadian Schools: Large
British Columbia: Simon Fraser, University of Victoria
Alberta: University of Alberta
Saskatchewan: University of Saskatchewan
Manitoba: University of Manitoba
Ontario: Brock, Carleton, Guelph, McMaster, Queen’s, Ryerson, Ottawa, Wilfrid Laurier, York
Quebec: Concordia
Newfoundland: Memorial University

Excellent Canadian Schools: Medium
Alberta: University of Lethbridge, Mount Royal University
Ontario: Trent, Windsor
New Brunswick: University of New Brunswick
Nova Scotia: Saint Mary’s University

Excellent Canadian Schools: Small
British Columbia: University of Northern British Columbia
Quebec: Bishop’s
New Brunswick: Mount Allison University
Nova Scotia: Acadia University, CBU
Prince Edward Island: UPEI

Banned Books Week

Dear Class,

This week, Sept 22-28, is Banned Books Week. It is a week to celebrate the freedom to read, and to raise awareness about the value of information and the harm of censorship. Banned Books Week is about supporting “the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular”. Banned books are books that are often forbidden–or that people want to make forbidden–in schools and libraries.

If you have read Harry Potter, you have read a banned book. If you studied The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, you have read a banned book. If you raced through The Hunger Games with Katniss or fell in love with a vampire in Twilight, you have read a banned book.

When you read, remember how powerful words can be. People ban books because they are afraid of how an idea may influence someone. Books can change the world: stand up for their right to.

Have a look at these quotations from authors whose books have been banned. Which quotation interests you the most? Leave your answer in the comments.

The Amazing Race & Television Shows

Due to the high number of students sleeping rather than following along with last week’s showing of The Amazing Race Canada, we will no longer be using it for our ESLEO grammar days.

If you want to see the rest of the episodes, they are available here: The Amazing Race Canada

If you are interested in watching the American version of the show (they travel all around the world!), the new season starts September 29. Episodes are on TV on Sundays, and they are usually put on the website by Monday. You can watch them here: The Amazing Race (USA)

Interested in other popular North American TV shows? Here are some that are available for free on cable channels. (Note: there are a wide variety of other popular shows on other networks; these are small selection of popular shows that you can easily access legally online)

Cable Shows (Still Running)
The Big Bang Theory
How I Met Your Mother
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation

The Simpsons

Grey’s Anatomy

Criminal Minds
Elementary (modern Sherlock Holmes)
The Mentalist

Reality TV
The Amazing Race
The Amazing Race Canada

Cable Shows (Finished)
The Office


Canadian Culture Break!


Calgary’s Folk Festival: all these people arrived in the morning to stake their claim on a good spot for Great Big Sea’s evening concert

You might know that Justin Bieber, Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, Drake, and many other famous singers come from Canada… but I’m betting that you’re missing out on my favorite Canadian superstars.

One of (in my opinion) the best forms of Canadian music comes from the east coast. Their folk music is based on the Celtic traditions from Scotland and Ireland. Much of the music relies heavily on fiddling and traditional drums.

So, just for fun, here are some of my favorites, to broaden your Canadian horizons!

Great Big Sea
(Full disclosure: this is my favorite band. As of tomorrow I will have seen them in concert 5 times — but it’s not just me; they’ve got a huge fan base throughout the country!)
Great Big Sea does everything: traditional folk songs, celtic folk-pop, more mainstream celtic-inspired pop/rock, and more!

Traditional Celtic Fiddling
Natalie MacMaster: “Catharsis” (drama challenge: define “catharsis”!)
Natalie MacMaster and the ridiculously talented Yo-Yo Ma: “Christmas Jig”

So there you go. Now you’ve learned a little more about music from Atlantic Canada!