You’ll learn a lot about the English language in class, but what’s the best way to put your newly-acquired skills to use outside the classroom? The busy streets of Toronto offer many fantastic opportunities to practise your English language skills. Let’s take a look at 10 ways to challenge your knowledge of the language and learn to use it in a variety of real-life situations.
1. Find the hidden gem on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library
Check out the Language Centre on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library, which can be found at 789 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4W 2G8. Here, you can practise your listening and pronunciation skills for free, since the centre is equipped with headphones and audio/DVD/video-players.
This is also the perfect place to make some new friends! You’ll be surrounded by other students just like you, looking to connect and practise English. Find out more info about this at the official website for the Toronto Reference Library.
2. Join an English conversation circle
You should also visit the TPL (Toronto Public Library) and hang around for an English conversation circle. This is open to anyone who would like to practise their speaking skills, and is designed to help speakers immerse themselves in Canadian culture. Find out more about this program and how to join on the official TPL website.
3. Go on an art tour at the University of Toronto
Do you want a 3-in-1 experience when you visit the University of Toronto? Go on a free art tour of the Hart House, hosted by a university student.
As you are guided through the 650-piece art collection at the University, you will get to practise your listening and speaking skills. Don’t forget to interact and ask questions!
Find out more information about the Hart House at University of Toronto, and the schedule for the free tours, at the Art Museum`s official website.
4. Watch a movie in unique surroundings
Watching a movie at a drive-in theatre surrounded by water is certainly a quirky way to practise your listening skills. You can enjoy this at the Polson Pier Drive-in Theatre.
5. Go to a live concert
There is an unlimited supply of live music to suit all tastes and moods in Toronto. This is a perfect environment that will help you feel comfortable interacting with locals and practising your English skills! Don’t shy away if you don’t speak much English, instead, talk to the fellow music-lovers next to you, and try to make friends.
6. Shop at St. Lawrence’s Market
Markets are more personal than bigger shops, giving you the opportunity to practise your conversation skills. Why not try visiting the famous St. Lawrence Market in Toronto and make a promise to yourself to buy something only if you made a conversation with the vendor.
7. Order up at the restaurant
When you eat out in Toronto, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to use your English skills by reading menus and ordering your food. This is the time to use all of that that ‘at the restaurant’ vocabulary you have learnt in the classroom.
8. Go on a street-art tour
When you think of art, galleries and museums immediately come to mind. Well, Toronto has a special treat in store; you can enjoy a Graffiti Tour at the famous Graffiti Alley on Queen St. West (the only place in Toronto where graffiti is legal).
It’s great to be able to practice English by going on a guided tour. There are many organizers that offer FREE tours. ‘Tour Guys’ is a company in Toronto that organizes free or ‘pay what you like’ tours of the famous alley. You can check out their Facebook page here.
Feel like a tourist and learn like a student by joining a guided tour to the Islands. You can either take along some friends (and it will be very beneficial if the group only speaks in English), or join an organised group which is a great way to make new friends.
Make sure you take a boat tour to the Islands that also includes live narration, which will help you practise your listening skills in a fun and interesting way. Toronto Harbour Tours organizes trips to the islands, and there are many other tour providers to choose from.
One of the best way to practise English is to read and listen to things in English. What better way to learn about the city than to watch the local news?
You can follow the news channel for Toronto (CTV Toronto). Check out their website or download their free app on your smartphone (search for CTV).
Are you planning to learn English in Toronto soon? Download our FREE travel guide to find out hot to explore the city as a student, including tips on how to improve your English skills.