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Eastern Canada G6

History, Politics, & Culture

All Grade 6 students participate in the annual trip to Eastern Canada as part of the curricula. It is a tremendous cultural and educational experience, one not readily available to tourists.

The Eastern Canada Trip provides the setting for the ultimate experiential, Inter-Disciplinary Unit. G6 teachers put together a programme designed to enhance the standard curriculum and to give the children invaluable experiential understandings.

The programme integrates many subjects, including the Humanities (government, Pre- and Post-Confederation Canadian History, First Nations History, Canadian geography), P.E. (How has Canada’s harsh winter climate affected recreation?), French (both language and culture), Art (National Gallery programme “Perspectives on Canadian Art”), Science (Canadian biomes), Performing Arts (National Film Board of Canada) and Career and Personal Planning (university tour and Mulgrave alumni interviews).

In a jam-packed trip, the students visit attractions such as Canadian Parliament, the Rideau Canal, walk the Plains of Abraham, and enjoy a host of other organised activities. Not only will the students complete activities whilst on the trip, they will continually draw upon their experiences back in the classroom through Grade 6 and beyond.

2018 Trip Blog

Day One

I will begin by thanking everyone for your help with our timely departure from the school this morning. We pulled away from the parking lot at 5:33!  Not a bad feat on such dark and rainy morning. 
 
The excitement on the bus was palpable as they mingled with their group mates and buddies. They had all kinds of questions and curiosities. How much further to the airport? How long is the flight? Do we take the train to the airport when we get off the bus? When is lunch? Can I go to the bathroom? All questions answered with a smile!
 
As expected, most people in Vancouver are asleep at 5:30am so the roads were quiet and we made it to the airport quickly. 
 
We grouped up with our luggage, checked our baggage, and picked up our subway bagged lunches in under an hour. Efficient systems in place at WestJet to make this process very easy. Hallelujah!
 
With our lunch safely stored in our backpacks we made a quick visit to the washroom before going through security. 
We got to the gate in plenty of time. It was valuable time to talk with our groups, fill our water bottles, go to the bathroom 6x/each, play UNO with our new friends and read the odd graphic novel. The absence of technology created a lovely buzz at the gate. 
 
The flight to Montreal was smooth and uneventful. It’s probably the first time in these little peoples lives that they haven’t had entertainment systems or devices to keep them occupied for 5 straight hours. They read, drew pictures, went to the bathroom 6x/each, wrote in their journals and played cards. Good old fashioned fun!! 
 
We collected our luggage and met our buses outside the terminal. All luggage made it and we headed to our first buffet dinner! Hungry tummies and big eyes filled their plates. Many of them went up for seconds, thirds and fourths. This group can EAT!  Oh to be 10 again!
 
We boarded the buses and headed to our hotel. You could have heard a pin drop as they sat in huge anticipation to hear who their roommates were. Excited and sorted, they headed to their rooms.  
 
They are currently in their group leaders rooms having their nightly meetings. The three topics will be: 
1. GLOW. What was your highlight of the day?
2. GLUM.  What challenged you today?
3. CHUM. Did you notice anyone in our group helping someone today or doing something helpful for the environment?
 
Lights out at 9:45pm. Wake up calls are set for 7am. Tomorrow is going to bring some great learning and wonder!

Day Two

It was a hugely successful day and we had so many nuggets of wonder and fun!

We had a hearty breakfast at the hotel. A variety of choices...scrambled eggs/toast, crepes with fresh fruit and syrup, and yoghurt with fresh fruit. They all seemed happy with their choices. After the plates were cleared, we packed our backpacks and headed for the bus.

 

Our bus drivers let us off at the Old Port of Montreal. From the Pier beside the Montreal Science Centre, we had a perfect view of Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67 project. This was originally designed and built to create affordable housing in Montreal. We learned all about the architectural design of the structure and why it is so noteworthy! Feel free to click on the link to see exactly what we were looking at. It is very interesting.  

From there we walked to the Science Centre where we had a great morning playing in the hands-on Science 26 exhibit. Basically each letter of the alphabet was represented a scientific concept (i.e. A for Animation, etc.).

 

At 11:30 we went to the Food Court at the Science Centre. The highlight of our lunch was the French poutine and the cheese pizza!  A dream come true for many. We coupled that with a bottle of water so the sugar levels were under control!  This isn't our first rodeo!!

 

After our delicious lunch we got to see the 3D IMAX movie titled Oceans. It was an incredible show that immersed us in the heart of the largest and least explored habitat on earth. Oceans 3D took us deep into our blue planet with new technology! It was a fascinating movie which we all really enjoyed. We went upstairs after the movie to the Human Body exhibit and we were all blown away by the interactive and hands-on activities that it provided. This was by far the best Science Centre I have ever been to. We all had so much fun!

 

At 2:00 we walked four quick blocks through Old Montreal to the Notre Dame Basilica where we enjoyed a 20 minute guided tour and learned all about the history of the Notre-Dame parish, its stages of construction, its art and its architecture. We also learned about the 7000 pipes on the organ! Impressive. As we were going into the Bascilica there was a wedding party coming out. We all clapped and cheered for the bride and groom as they had their photos taken on their exciting day.  

 

We boarded the buses and were taken to the main gates of McGill University. Upon arrival, we were met by Mulgrave Alumni Jamilla Janmohamed and Shipeng Zhang (Yupeng's brother). Jamilla is in her 4th year of Civil Engineering and will graduate in the spring of 2019. Shipeng is doing his PHD in Civil Engineering.  He is currently working on a project that is developing technology to turn garbage into cement! An innovative project that is getting attention world wide. Our young people today have such interesting opportunities. I can only imagine what our G6s will be doing in 10 years' time! We had a great tour of McGill. Jamilla gave us a great tour. We sat in the largest lecture hall and learned all sorts of neat things about the opportunities at university. We had a quick visit to the library and then some free time to run around!

 

Our dinner at Weinstein and Gavino's did not disappoint.  A three-course meal with plenty of warm fresh bread and the usual 300 trips to the washroom!  

 

Our overall GLOW for the day:  The Science Center and the 3D movie

Our overall GLUM for the day: We wished we had more time at the Science Center

Our overall CHUM for the day:  They are really enjoying getting to know their group members better!

 

Our team meetings are complete, their teeth are brushed and they are all tucked into their beds.  Lights out at 9pm tonight. Early breakfast tomorrow as we head to Mont Royal Park and onto Quebec City!

Day Three

Bonjour from Quebec City!

We have had another exciting day; lots of things to share. I just poured myself a cup of tea and will attempt to recap what we were up to. 

We had a 6:30am wake up call with breakfast reservation at 7:00am. Same menu as yesterday. Delicious again. We had a large group meeting to go over our plans for the day. Their job was to have their suitcases packed, water bottles filled, bladders emptied and onto their respective bus. Check. Check. Check. And check!

The Montreal Rock and Roll marathon and half marathon started early this morning so our bus drivers circumnavigated the downtown core to get us up to Mont Royal park. A lovely sunny day. Perfect for a visit to this gorgeous Montreal park. We made what for some might have been a long walk into an adventure. We had group races from tree to tree. In a very short time we made it to the playground. Some of the kids had a big game of manhunt while others played on the swings and apparatus. Free choice and social time outside. It doesn’t get any better when you are 10/11!! 

We boarded our buses and headed to ‘the Brisket’ for lunch. A traditional smoke beef sandwich with french fries and refillable water. Delicious. And if that wasn’t enough they brought us all a nice piece of maple sugar pie for dessert. A yummy traditional sweet treat to end our enjoyable lunch. Some neat exposure to Quebecois culture and tradition.

The restaurants we have chosen for this trip are all group friendly and accommodating. This makes feeding them seem relatively easy and smooth. It seems the kids are happy with all the food so far. 

We boarded our buses after lunch and headed east towards Quebec City. We stopped half-way for a bathroom break and continued on our way.

We arrived in Old Quebec in time for our 5pm reservation at Cotes-a-Cotes restaurant. On the menu tonight was soup, fresh rolls, baby back ribs, French fries and homemade dessert. 

We had a short walk through the streets of Old Quebec, took our group photos and then headed for our hotel. We have had our evening meetings and we are all set up for lights out at 9pm. 

Our general GLOW for the day was the bus ride and the time to play in the park.
Our Glum for the day was ‘my shoes got wet in the park’ and ‘the bus ride was long’
Our Chum for the day was noticing how much my group members took care of each other. 

We have an exciting morning planned for the Plains of Abraham, the Citadelle and our dinner/evening at the Sugar Shack. 

Day Four

Bonsoir from Quebec City!

What a day it was. So many highlights and so little time!  

Our day began with another great breakfast. This time eggs and bacon, fancy cinnamon buns, fruit loops, apple juice, oatmeal, bananas, apples. I'm sure you can guess what they all chose to eat! After our breakfast we bundled up in our many layers and boarded the buses.  It was a cool crisp morning under the brilliant blue skies!  

Our visit to the Plains of Abraham was outstanding. General James Wolfe and General Louis-Joseph Marquis de Montcalm were in character and introduced and explained the culmination of a three month siege by the British in a battle that lasted an hour. After the introduction we were split into two groups: The English and the French. We learned how to employ new tactics that proved extremely effective. Our troops played along with enthusiasm, passion and dedication. It was adorable to watch them taking their roles so seriously. If you were following on twitter you may have seen some of the footage. In the end, our British troop was voted the most effective by our talented judges. The kids walked away from that experience with an outstanding introduction to Canadian history!  

Our buses picked us up and took us to Spag-a-Tini's for lunch. Soup, pasta, and dessert! Our 64 little eaters gobbled down their food and were recharged and ready to go.

From the restaurant, we walked through the Old town, up a huge set of stairs to the Hotel Frontenac. When the kids asked us what that building is, I told them it was a hotel. I assured them that our hotel was fancier and that our breakfast was the best in the city! They agreed and we moved on.

We walked along the boardwalk to the Citadelle. In three different guided groups we explored the grounds that houses over 300 years of history. As some of you may know it is an active garrison of the Royal 22nd Regiment on a national historic site, with amazing British and French architecture and spectacular views of Quebec City and the St. Lawrence River. As we were walking back from the tour I witnessed one of our Grade 6 boys say to the guide, "Thank you for that wonderful tour. I learned a lot. I think I'd like to be in the army one day!" You never know how these trips influence our choices!  

We had a lovely walk (and I will say that it is possible with 64 kids) back to the buses and headed for the Sugar Shack. This traditional place has a warm atmosphere and a beautiful setting. We enjoyed a country style meal of meat pies, ham, sausages, beans, coleslaw, potatoes, and tons of maple syrup.  After the main course, they brought out plate loads of pancakes for our dessert. While all this was happening there was a guy playing the fiddle and we all danced! It was so much fun. The fiddler taught them all how to play the traditional spoons. With a little more practice I think we might have actually have a talented band on our hands!  

Our evening meetings have all happened and they are all prepared for tomorrow's adventures:

Our GLOW's for the day were: The battle on the Plains of Abraham, the Cannon's at the Citadelle and the dinner at the Sugar Shack
Our GLUM for the day: "I ate too much'
Our CHUM for the day: We noticed our group working really well together when we were walking places!  And one of them told us that they thought our bus drivers were super helpful and super nice!  How nice!

Tomorrow we spend the morning in Old town Quebec on a walking tour and then we are off to Ottawa.

We are having a wonderful time on this trip and the kids have been fantastic. All our teachers have been stopped on many occasions while we have been here to say how respectful and polite our kids are. That always feels great!  

Day Five

These seasoned travellers are now in the groove and it’s all making sense to them. Wake-up calls, brushing teeth, keeping suitcases organised, showering, changing clothes and being ready on time. They are playing with their own independence and starting to figure out that they can do it all by themselves. It’s nice to witness. 

Our breakfast was the same as yesterday. We encouraged them to choose a bit of protein to go along with their cinnamon buns and fruit loops!  Some were better than others. Rest assured we were their to guide them. 

At 8:45 we boarded our buses and headed to Place D’Armes. Our guides met us in the park and took our three prearranged groups on a two-hour walking tour. The sun came out and warmed us up as we started exploring the Old town of Quebec. You could likely see all the sights we saw on Twitter this morning. 

After the tour we congregated in the park and split into two groups. Bus group #2 headed to the Musee d’Fort and Bus group #1 took their first stab at shopping. There were all kinds of treasures that were purchased and they loved every minute of it. Like a well-oiled machine, the groups switched after an hour. 

At the Musee d’Fort there was a quiz at the end of the show. I am happy to report that their conceptual understanding of the history of Quebec City is at a level 7! 

As luck would have it, we picked up our boxed lunches from Subway, boarded the buses and the rain started to fall. Great timing, that’s for sure. 

The bus ride to Ottawa took us about five hours. We watched two movies, read our books, filled out our duotangs and played cards. We made three stops along the way. And I will confess, I have a whole new appreciation for public washrooms with eight stalls. I will say no more. 

When we arrived into Ottawa we went straight to Tucker’s for another delicious buffet dinner. They seem to enjoy the freedom of making their own choices at meal times. 

They are in their rooms with their last group of roommates. Lights are out and they are quiet. 

Tomorrow will be a full day in Ottawa. Our first stop will be the National Gallery which we are all very excited about. 

The GLOW for the day was the Musee d'Fort.
The GLUM for the day was we only have 3 days left.
The CHUM for the day was our tour guide Chief Danny George.

We had another great day!

Day Six

We saved the best day for the second to last day! 

After our breakfast, we boarded the buses and headed towards the Supreme Court of Canada. One group at 9:00am and the next group at 9:30am. Both groups experienced a 'Mock Trial' in the court room with a defendant, an accused, two lawyers and a judge. In fine Mulgrave form, our chosen ones took on their characters with a serious flare and made the mock trial very entertaining. They have obviously watched a few episodes of Judge Judy or Law and Order! It was very funny! We have a few kids in this group that may want to take up a career in acting.   

From the Supreme Court we walked over to Parliament Hill. We had a few minutes to spare before our 10:35, our 10:50 and 11:00am tours. We were ever so hopeful that we would see Justin Trudeau but he wasn't in the building today. Shucks!  

We passed through security into the main building and each group had a guided tour through the halls of Parliament Hill. We got to go into the Library of Parliament, the Senate Chamber and we had a quick glance of the House of Commons. Through this we learned about the different branches of the Government of Canada and had a bit of fun learning how they pass a Bill into a law.

At noon we boarded our buses, made a quick pit stop at Subway to pick up our boxed lunches and headed towards Arbraska Lafleche Outdoor Centre. The sun was shining and it was warm outside.

We split into three groups. One group started on the obstacle course in the forest that had four zip lines and many challenges. The second group went into the cave for a tour and the third group had free play outside. Each group had an equal amount of time at each activity and they absolutely loved it. You will have seen from the photos that were posted on twitter that they were enjoying the challenges they faced.    

After four hours at the outdoor centre we boarded the buses and went to 'Les Buffets des Continents'. A great meal for our last dinner! 

In our meetings tonight:
Our GLOW for the day was the Outdoor Center and the Mock Trial
Our GLUM for the day was "I'm sad that we only have one more day"
Our CHUM for the day was "It was super neat to see all the members of our group trying new things on the obstacle course and helping each other."