During my stay in Canada, I had the opportunity to enjoy several cultural activities, which undoubtedly helped me learn more about the country and have a full Canadian experience. Some of these activities were organised as part of the programme and others were of my own initiative, either at the weekends or in my free time during the week.
Ottawa is a city with many and much varied museums, we received a 3-day museum card with which we were able to go to three museums, among them are the War Museum, the National Gallery or the Nature Museum; we also had the opportunity to join a guided tour around the History Museum. Thanks to these visits, I could learn about the most characteristic flora and fauna in the country, the involvement of Canada in different international conflicts, the history of the country and the most relevant artists. This is something which I will definitely include in my lessons when dealing with cultural aspects of English-speaking countries.
Upon arrival, we were given a tour around the city of Ottawa, through which we got to know the most emblematic buildings and places, as well as their relevance. In my free time, I visited the Parliament and the Peace Tower in a free guided tour, in which I was told very detailed information about the building and its history.
Included in our programme was a visit to a “sugar shack”, a place where the famous maple syrup is made. During our time at the Sucreriede la Montagne, we discovered how this very Canadian product is made and we had access to the different stages in its preparation (it was a pity it is made in Spring, so we could only visit the premises). The visit included a typical Canadian lunch, which was when we could taste the syrup, all accompanied by traditional music.
Other organised activities include a theatre play, an activity in an escape room and bowling (a Canadian invention!). Finally, we also visited the Spanish embassy, where we met the ambassador, he told us about the experiences of other Spanish people in the country.
On my own, sometimes with my host family and other times with other teachers from the programme, I had the opportunity to visit Kingston, a small town with noticeable British influence; on the way we got near the famous St. Lawrence river, which in some areas acts as a natural border between Canada and the U.S. Other places I visited include Toronto, with a trip to Niagara Falls (they are a 2-hour drive away), and Montreal. In both big cities we could appreciate the pre-Christmas atmosphere of the end of November.
As in other places around the world, the 11th of November was Remembrance Day in Ottawa. It was a very special date this year, it was the commemoration of the 100 years since the end of World War I. Despite the cold, thousands of people gathered in the streets for the different events, parades and concerts that took place on that day.
Our experience would not have been complete had we not been to an ice hockey game, the most important sport in Canada. I could see first hand how entertaining the event is and the support of the fans to the local team, the Ottawa Senators. Go Sens, Go!