Easter in Toronto

Easter Celebration 2013!! Have you ever wondered where the word “Easter” comes from? The modern English term Easter is based on the Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre that means “the month of opening” and is related to the resurrection of Christ, three days after his crucifixion, from the New Testament of the Bible but also represents the goddess of fertility. You don’t have to be religious to enjoy the Easter holiday! Rabbits and Eggs!! Rabbits and eggs are both symbols of the fertility goddess Eostre. Eggs are the ultimate symbol of creation and new life. That is why you see so many chocolates in the shape of eggs and rabbits at Easter time. In many places, there are various competitions held such as Easter egg hunts – like the one we are having on Monday April 1 at EC Toronto! Check for details on our EC Toronto Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ecenglish.toronto Easter Parade!! And on Easter Sunday March 31 there will be an Easter Parade in the Beaches district of Toronto. Every year, the Toronto Beaches Lions Club organizes an Easter Parade beginning at 2:00 pm on Easter Sunday. The Parade starts on Queen Street East at Munro Park and proceeds west along Queen Street ending at Woodbine Avenue. It’s a great opportunity for all EC Toronto students to participate in a Toronto tradition! For more information go to http://www.beacheslions.com/index.htm We hope to see you there!!! Happy Easter everyone from your EC Toronto team!

The Giants Pandas are coming to Toronto!!

The Giants Pandas are coming to Toronto!!   EC students and everyone: Have you heard the news? Two giant pandas arrived in Toronto this week to begin a 10-year stay in Canada. The names of the pandas are Er Shun (female) and Da Mao (male); they come from China. The pandas made the journey from Chengdu, China, to the FedEx Express Canadian Hub at Toronto Pearson International Airport, aboard a specially branded MD-11 aircraft donated by FedEx. The project is part of a long-term conservation partnership agreement between China and Canada, signed by Hu Jintao, President of China and Mr. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. Pandas are one of the most beloved animals in the world and perhaps the most powerful symbol in the world for wildlife conservation. They are also one of the most endangered species in the world, with only around 1,600 left in the wild. In China, the giant panda is a national treasure. The Toronto Zoo Giant Panda Exhibition: The exhibition at the zoo starts in May and for that the zoo has made a new space in the Eurasia section. Panda facts: 99% of a giant panda’s diet consists of bamboo A giant panda may eat 12-38 kg of bamboo a day In the wild, a giant panda spends 10 to 16 hours a day foraging and eating. The rest of its time is spent mostly sleeping and resting. A giant panda is born pink, hairless, blind and is 1/900th the size of its mother (about the size of a stick of butter). Giant pandas do not hibernate like other bears do China has 63 panda reserves, which preserve their habitats and support breeding programs. Five North American zoos currently have pandas; Toronto Zoo will be the sixth. At EC Toronto we are very … Read more

Be a part of Earth Hour and Help Save the World!

Earth Hour 2013 Saturday March 23 at 8:30 pm TURN OFF THE LIGHTS! Are you concerned about the environment? Are you interested in the future of the planet? Climate change and what we are doing to our environment now affects all our lives. This weekend, you have a chance to make a difference in our world! Earth Hour Project “Earth Hour has become so much more than lights off” Six years ago, the Earth Hour Project started and it has grown to become the world’s largest mass participation event in history. From one city to over 7,000. From one country to seven continents. From two million to hundreds of millions of people. Earth Hour was created: • To unite people and show our desire to protect the planet. • To encourage and empower people to take action beyond the hour itself. • To create an interconnected global community and build on the momentum and action for a sustainable future. At EC Toronto we want everyone to be part of this project, because we know that little changes can make big differences and our planet needs this now more than ever. The challenge for you as students of EC English language school in Toronto is to turn off all your lights this Saturday evening March 23 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM. We have the possibility to make a contribution to our environment. Just turn off the lights for one hour this March 23, don’t use any electricity for the whole hour, and be part of this huge project!!!!!! For more information visit the web site: http://www.earthhour.org/ And check out the Earth Hour official video. It rocks!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2UywrjnOaUE#  

Spring is here!

Can you believe that today is the first day of Spring? Well, it is. All the snow you see on the ground should be melting away very soon, and the sun will start to shine — the groundhog told us so! To see some flowers before they start blooming outside, you can go to the Canada Blooms Show at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place. The festival also offers workshops, garden tours, marketplace and “Juno Rocks” Gardens, where JUNO Award nominated and winning artists Feist, Jann Arden, Keshia Chante and Royal Wood and Sarah Slean partnered with professional landscape artists to design and create gardens to reflect their personal styles and tastes. For more information, check out www.canadablooms.com The first day of Spring near EC Toronto, March 20.

St Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day    Make it green! History St Patrick’s Day marks the feast day and anniversary of the death of a Christian missionary known as Patrick. He was born in the year 387, probably somewhere near the present day border between Scotland and England. At the age of 16, he was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave. During this period, he became very religious and after six years he fled back to his family. Later in his life, he returned to Ireland as a missionary. He is said to have played an important role in converting the inhabitants of Ireland to Christianity and in ridding the island of snakes. However, there is no evidence that there have been any snakes in Ireland in the past 10,000 years. The “snakes” he drove out of Ireland may represent particular groups of pagans or druids. It is believed that St Patrick died on March 17 probably in the year 461 or 493 (according to different sources). St Patrick is buried under Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, County Down, and is one of the three patron saints of Ireland. The other patron saints are St Brigid of Kildare and St Columba. St Patrick’s Day celebrations were brought to Canada by Irish immigrants. The day is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland and a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland. In the rest of the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, it is celebrated, but is not an official holiday. Celebrating Make it green! Whether you are celebrating at home with your kids, at the office, or at your favorite pub with friends, adding green to the day can make St. Patrick’s Day a little more festive than the average weekday. Wearing green, drinking green beer or milk shakes, dyeing … Read more

Irish Dancing at EC Toronto!!

To celebrate St. Patrick’s day EC Toronto invited a professional Irish dance group to put on a show for us!! The dancing was amazing and all of our students were very impressed. After the show the dance group even taught us a few dance steps. Some of us were very talented and some of us just had fun trying! 🙂

Sweet Spring is coming! Cultural information Maple syrup and its derivative products are an integral part of Quebec culture. More than just another traditional product, maple syrup is one of the cultural elements associated with Quebecers and Canadians around the world. The source of many traditional dishes, maple syrup also remains a star ingredient in Quebec and international cooking in the 21st century. Where do you find it While these species of trees can be found in several areas of the world, they mainly find their proper climatic environment for maple sugaring in parts of southern Ontario, the Province of Quebec, the Maritimes in Canada as well as the New England States in the USA, and ten other states as far west as Wisconsin and Minnesota. A student enjoying maple syrup on pancakes during a visit to a maple sugar farm. EC Students — have you tried maple syrup yet? This is absolutely necessary while you are in Canada! Collecting the sap — this is happening now! Maple sap is collected by putting a spout into the tree during early spring (usually March and April) when maple trees are in their dormancy state. The sap runs out of the tree into a bucket and is boiled to make it more syrupy; nothing is added, it is completely natural. Cold nights and warm days are needed to produce this Canadian natural resource sold around the world. Uses for Maple Syrup On pancakes, waffles, French toast, to sweeten apple sauce, in milkshakes, tea, coffee, hot toddies, on fresh fruit (especially grapefruit), to add flavor to baked beans, to mix with butter and glaze squash, sweet potatoes, or carrots, on baking powder biscuits, fresh donuts, over ice cream, hot cereal, corn fritters, baked apples, custards. EC Toronto students can go to many farms … Read more

Goodbye to a Canadian icon

Stompin’ Tom Connors died this week at the age of 77. He will be remembered as a Canadian cultural icon who wrote and sang about simple things in life that everyone recognized as being truly Canadian. His hits over the years included “The Hockey Song,” “Tillsonburg,” “Bud the Spud,” “Sudbury Saturday Night” and “Big Joe Mufferaw.” He was known as “Stompin’ Tom” for tapping his cowboy boot on a wooden board to the rhythm of his songs, and was rarely seen without his black cowboy hat. Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid tribute to Stompin’ Tom: “Canada has lost a true Canadian original.” Jon Chodarcewicz, our Director of Studies and a longtime fan of Stompin’ Tom, says: “Growing up in a small town in Canada, hockey was always the main source of both exercise and entertainment – and everywhere you went, you always heard Stompin’ Tom singing The Hockey Song.  The song is a Canadian tradition, which has been exported to hockey arenas all over the world – and is played in every National Hockey League arena at every single game – both across Canada and the United States.  You will hear it at international tournaments like the World (Junior) Championships or Olympics and even in European Hockey Leagues.  The song has become synonymous with the game of hockey, and while fans all around the world will no longer have the pleasure of sharing this earth with Stompin’ Tom, his legacy still lives on at every “good old hockey game”!! “ RIP Stompin’ Tom. Check out ‘The Hockey Song’ on You Tube to hear Stompin’ Tom at his best!          

Introducing you to our very own professional clown!

We would like to introduce you to one of our very well known students (and well liked!) Chisato Yoshikawa who is in Low Intermediate. Chisato came to EC Toronto on November 19, 2012 and has been studying for 16 weeks. Chisato is known for her energy, bubbly personality and big smile. We recently learned that Chisato is a professional clown and today we had the opportunity to ask her about her career as a clown. How did you become a clown? My major in university was fashion design and when I finished school I got a job in fashion design. The job was very stressful and I wasn’t very happy. While I was working I became sick and had to have treatment for 6 months. During the treatment I met a clown and it was very inspiring.  Instead of returning to my job I decided to join a circus team!!! That was about 3 years ago now. Does a clown have to go to college or receive special training? It’s not necessary to go to school to learn Most clowns learn on the job from professional clowns with many years of experience. My clown team had more than 30 clowns! Each had different skills – balloon making, plate spinning, pantomiming. One of my clown colleagues was even 73 years old! It was a very diverse group and I learned a lot.           I was really lucky with my circus team. My teacher was friends with Patch Adams and I had the opportunity to meet him. It was a really great experience. What is your most memorable experience? I met a four-year-old girl while I was volunteering at a hospital. She was very sick and very sad. She was scared of the hospital. I was able to make her smile and bring … Read more

We say goodbye to Martine for a year!!!

Today was Martine’s (Centre Director) last day at EC Toronto for one year. On Monday she starts her Maternity leave so she can spend time with her new baby girl Aleksandra who will be born in a couple of weeks. We promise to post some photos of the new baby as soon as possible! We are also pleased to welcome a new Centre Director, Aine Maggenis. Check back next week to learn more about her!!