A Visit From the Easter Bunny!

This upcoming weekend we will be celebrating Easter!  We have a long weekend to look forward to!  The weather is starting to become a lot milder and with these warm temperatures comes an air of optimism!  The vaccination roll out in Quebec is going really well and they say that by the end of June, any Quebecer who wants to be vaccinated will be able to!  This gives us hope that better days are waiting!  With a large percentage of the population being vaccinated, we can begin to feel a lot more safe. There is definitely a lot to celebrate and to look forward to at EC Montreal!  Our classes are slowly becoming more and more populated and our students are absolutely delighted to be learning inside our bright and orange classrooms!  We have many social distancing guidelines to respect but we are still doing our best to create a wonderful learning environment for our students.  Ensuring our students feel a strong sense of community at EC has always been a priority!  We accomplish this by making it a very personal experience for our students.  We remember their names, we celebrate their birthdays and make sure to celebrate other special occasions, like Easter! We prepared small baggies filled with Easter treats and put them in a large basket.  We went to all the different classrooms and distributed them to our students and teachers!  The students were so excited and happy!  We took this opportunity to remind our students that Friday, April 2 is Good Friday and there would be no classes. It is supposed to be a warm and sunny weekend and a wonderful time to enjoy springtime in Montreal! Happy Easter from our EC Montreal family!

Recipe of the Week!

It is the last week of March and our last maple recipe to share! It is maple season in Quebec and the maple farms are welcoming many visitors to the farms. There you can buy many different maple products. It is so nice to get out into the countryside and breath in some fresh air away from the busy city. We always like to visit the farm and buy our maple treats. Some of our favorites are the large jugs of maple syrup for baking and for pouring over our weekend pancakes and waffles. We also like to pick up maple tea. It is absolutely delicious. It is not sweet but has a very unique maple taste. Every March we have a maple tea and conversation activity with our EC Montreal students. They love it as much as we do! This last maple recipe can’t be easier! It is a perfect little snack that you can grab on the go for breakfast or as a simple dessert. It is a no-bake recipe and packed with so much flavour! For my version of oatmeal maple balls, you will need the following ingredients: 1 1/2 cups rolled oats 3/4 cup peanut butter 1 cup raisins 1/3 cup pure maple syrup 1 teaspoon of cinnamon In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until well mixed. Roll into 18 bite-size balls with wet hands to keep the mixture from sticking to you (or use a melon scooper to help). It is best to keep these balls refrigerated for freshness. We hope you will give this recipe a try! They are the perfect snack to take to school and enjoy at break time. It is also a great treat to share with your classmates and teachers. We will be sharing this recipe … Read more

Throwback Thursday!

This week’s Throwback Thursday are images of EC Montreal’s legendary certificate ceremonies!  Every Friday, all the students graduating are sent an invitation to join our farewell party in the student lounge.  We put up graduation decorations on every table in the student lounge with some sweet refreshments.  Our English and French teachers help to distribute the certificates to all the departing students and all the students cheer and applaud the graduating students. After the certificates are distributed the students all hang out taking pictures with EC Montreal’s photo props and frames.  They sign each other’s Canada flags.  They exchange contact information and share memories, jokes, hugs and tearful goodbyes.  It is always a very special moment at the school.  It is a beautiful farewell and ending to their language adventure at EC Montreal. We look forward to social gathering restrictions being lifted so we can resume these wonderful moments with our EC Montreal students.  For now, we are bringing the EC certificate to the classrooms and finding cheerful ways to celebrate our students’ graduations. Despite the pandemic, EC Montreal has done everything possible to create a wonderful sense of community at the school.  We know all our students’ names, we celebrate our students’ birthdays, we celebrate graduations, special holidays and teacher of the month festivities. We are being safe, practicing social distancing and ensuring we do not gather outside the classroom bubbles. Join our EC Montreal English or French lessons and be part of this wonderful EC Montreal family!  Until then, you can register for our French virtual lessons to get a head start on your learning.  Not only will you get a taste of the language, you will also get a taste of the destination as you will be studying French with students who are already here in Montreal … Read more

Virtual French Options at EC Montreal!

EC Montreal offers virtual French lessons to meet students’ academic needs as well as their availability.  Students who join our virtual French lessons are placed in classes with students who are currently participating in their full-immersion programme at EC Montreal.  Students will therefore not only get a taste of the language but also get a taste of the destination. Students who choose the Virtual 4 Lessons programme will have their classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  These lessons have a Grammar in Context focus. Students who choose the Virtual 6 Lessons programme will have their classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  These lessons have a Conversation and Listening focus. Students can also choose the Virtual 10 Lessons programme and can work on both Grammar and Conversation and Listening. EC Montreal also offers a Virtual 8 Lesson programme where students are placed in one of our French levels.  This option is ideal for students who want to work on their four language skills; speaking, listening, reading and writing.  This is especially important for students who have academic goals to achieve and need to measure their French language proficiency. Students can also bundle up the different options and be enrolled in an 18 Lessons per week programme.  This combo is ideal for students who are in the French University Pathway programme.  Students can achieve their desired level of French to move on to college or university within a specific number of weeks or hours. Students in the university pathway programme can also benefit from our TEFaQ preparation class.  This class is offered on Saturday mornings from 9 to 11 a.m.  The Oral Comprehension block will begin the first week of April. TEFaQ stands for Test d’Evaluation de Français Adapté au Québec … Read more

Recipe of the Week!

As it is maple season in Quebec, as promised, we will be sharing a new maple recipe every week!  There are so many delicious and easy recipes to make with maple syrup!  This week’s recipe is for maple, walnut blondies.  I am sure you have had brownies before, made with chocolate.  Blondies are just like brownies except they don’t have chocolate.  They are cut into squares and make a wonderful dessert or indulgent snack. With EC Montreal’s past maple syrup festivals, maple blondies were always a part of the maple treats on display.  You can make them with or without the walnuts or can even replace the walnuts with pecans or sliced almonds. For my version of maple and walnut blondies, you will need the following ingredients: • 11 tablespoons butter, half melted • 1 cup brown sugar • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided • 1 egg • 2 teaspoons vanilla • 2 cups flour • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda • 1 3/4 cups chopped walnuts Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking pan with wax paper or foil, allowing edges to hang over the sides like a sling. Grease the baking pan.  Stir butter with brown sugar in large bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup maple syrup and egg until combined. Add flour and baking soda to bowl and stir until completely combined. Stir in 1 1/2 cups walnuts. Spread into prepared pan and smooth the top. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup over top and swirl into batter. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup walnuts.  Bake until golden and just set in center, about 25 minutes. Avoid over baking. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool, about an hour. Grab sling and lift blondies out of pan to cut. … Read more

Kunsoo Han From Montreal: “EC Montreal, Je t’adore!…”

Kunsoo is a student from Montreal participating in EC Montreal’s General French programme.  He began his lessons with EC when we reopened our center in September.  Kunsoo is a university professor and is using his sabbatical to improve his French skills.  Kunsoo is making incredible progress and has already moved up several levels during his time.  He plans to continue his lessons with EC until he further develops his accuracy and fluency of the French language. Here is what Kunsoo wanted to share with everyone about his EC experience: Hello everyone, my name is Kunsoo Han and I live in Montreal. I have been learning French 20 hours/week at EC Montreal since September 2020. I chose EC because of its reputation for being rigorous, and my experience so far has been nothing less than amazing. The staff are very friendly, professional and thorough, and the teachers are outstanding. They really care about each and every student and they work together to make sure you succeed and achieve your goals. Thanks to their great care and support, I feel that I am improving every day! Merci beaucoup EC Montréal. Je t’adore!  We look forward to welcoming you to EC Montreal’s French programme soon!  A bientot!

Throwback Thursday!

This week’s Throwback Thursday images are that of our wonderful St. Patrick’s day celebrations throughout the years at EC Montreal!  We always made sure to include these festivities in our March calendar of events.  I am sure everyone who studied at EC Montreal remembers that Wednesdays were fun days at EC!  We would hold our complimentary activities that day!  Students would have something new and exciting to look forward to on Wednesdays after class. Most of the activities were centered around our monthly themes; the month of March was dedicated to maple season in Quebec, however, we always made sure to also celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the week of March 17. We would ask our students to come to school wearing green and would decorate the student lounge with banners, balloons, shamrocks and center pieces.  We would serve green non-alcoholic beer and hot dogs right off the grill.  Sometimes we would even find special St. Patrick’s Day cakes to serve to our students.  The students would have such a marvelous time and we would invite them to participate in Montreal’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade that runs along Ste-Catherine street right outside the EC Montreal school.  Montreal’s parade is the second largest in North America, second to New York’s. This year, we still managed to celebrate this special day by distributing green cupcakes to our students in their classroom. Many of our students and staff members wore green to add to the celebration!  Social gatherings are still not allowed in the province of Quebec.  Once we are given the green light, we cannot wait to start planning outings and activities with our EC Montreal students again! We look back at these Throwback Thursday images nostalgically, but also with hope that these happy days and wonderful moments will be back one … Read more

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Today is St. Patrick’s Day and we made sure to celebrate it at EC Montreal!  There is a very large Irish community in Montreal and there is usually a very large and impressive parade to celebrate this special day!  The parade usually runs right along Ste-Catherine Street with floats from so many organizaitons and associations across the city.  Everyone wears green and have fun drinking Irish specialties like Bailey’s Irish cream, Guinness beer and Irish Whiskey.  One of our traditions at EC Montreal is to serve green beer.  We add a little food colouring to the beer and it really adds to the spirit of the celebration!  We usually serve the beer with hot dogs right off the grill. This year, we wanted to make sure that we marked the day in a festive way despite the social gathering restrictions.  We went to all the classes and served mini cupcakes with green frosting!  What made it extra special today, is that we had our colleagues from EC Toronto join the festivities via Microsoft Teams.  We had them on a group call and carried our cell phone while we went to all the different classrooms.  Everyone cheered and were very happy to meet the EC Toronto team! Most of the students and staff had some green articles of clothing on!  We had a great time serving our students special treats and wishing everyone a wonderful St. Paddy’s Day! We cannot wait to see how the other EC destinations around the world, especially EC Dublin celebrated this very festive day! Join us at EC Montreal and be a part of all the fun!  Until then, hope to see you on Microsoft Teams while study French online with EC Virtual!  See you soon!    

Recipe of the Week!

In keeping with our maple syrup themed month, we are happy to share another recipe with all of you.  It is maple season in Quebec.  Spring has sprung, the weather is getting a lot milder and it is the ideal time for the maple farmers to tap their trees to extract its sap.  There are many maple farms in the province of Quebec, and they export their sweet and delicious maple syrup all over the world.  Giving our students a sample of maple syrup is like giving them a taste of Montreal.  It is a big part of our local flavours.  Maple syrup is not only delicious it also has many nutritional benefits.  It is filled with antioxidants and minerals such as zinc. This week’s maple syrup recipe is for my maple syrup cake.  It is very easy to make and turns out best when you use local Quebec made maple syrup. For my version of maple syrup cake, you will need the following ingredients: ½ cup of butter ¼ cup of brown sugar 2 eggs 2 cups of flour 1 tbsp of baking powder ½ tsp of cinnamon ¼ cup of milk 1 cup of Quebec maple syrup For the icing: ¼ cup of maple syrup 2 tbsp of butter 1 cup of powdered sugar To make cake, cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well. Combine flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Combine maple syrup and milk. Add dry liquid and ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately. Beat well after each addition. Pour batter into greased and floured pan. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centre of cake comes out clean.  Let cake cool completely before icing. For the icing, combine maple syrup and butter in small saucepan over … Read more

Throwback Thursday!

This week’s Throwback Thursday are images of EC Montreal’s annual maple syrup festival, also known as the “Sugar Shack” Festival!  It is maple season in Quebec and one of the most important events we offer our students is a Taste of Montreal!  Introducing them to traditional dishes and local foods.  We are proud of the fact that 90% of the world’s maple syrup is produced right here in Quebec.  Maple syrup is not only delicious, but it also is filled with many vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants. At EC Montreal, we completely transform the student lounge to look like a traditional Sugar Shack or Cabane a Sucre as it is called in Quebec.  These shacks are located on maple farms and serve traditional Quebecois meals and yes, there are pitchers and pitchers of maple syrup intended to be poured over everything.  The tables all have red and white checkered table cloths and there are piles of fire wood and maple containers that are used to collect the sap from the trees.  There is Quebecois folk music playing in the background and every single table is covered in different kinds of local maple syrup treats.  There are cakes, pies, cupcakes, donuts, candies, muffins, fudge, popcorn, cotton candy, cookies and so much more! Every table also has fun facts about maple syrup as well as nutritional information.  The festival is only one of many maple syrup activities we plan for our students. We also give them information about the different maple farms that are located very close to Montreal’s city center.  Our tour operator also plans a special trip to the Sugar Shack several times a year so students can experience the real deal and get a tour of the maple farm and learn how the syrup is extracted from the trees … Read more