August 2009 issue

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Ontario’s wider picture

Canada’s second-largest province, Ontario offers language travellers a whole raft of wonderful experiences, from its picturesque scenery to its colourful multicultural cities and festivals. Gillian Evans reports.

Within the breadth and depth of the Canadian expanse, the province of Ontario offers a diverse environment within which prospective international students can flourish academically, socially, and emotionally,” asserts André Mailloux at Laurentian University in Sudbury. A quick overview of what the province has to offer confirms this.

Spreading out from the St Lawrence River and the Great Lakes to the frozen shores of the Hudson Bay, Ontario is a scenic feast of farmlands, dense forests, rocky outcrops and thousands of glistening lakes – in fact the word Ontario actually means “glittering waters” – not to mention Canada’s premier tourist attraction, Niagara Falls. Canada’s capital city Ottawa can also be found here, as well as the country’s largest city, Toronto.

Therese Joyce at EF Toronto believes that Toronto is a major draw for international students. “Toronto is the largest city in Canada, so it has everything a student could want from theatres to clubs to events to entertainment,” she enthuses.

Another attraction of the city is the colourful mix of nationalities of its population. “The diversity of Toronto is just fantastic!” exclaims Joyce. “Over 50 per cent of Torontonians were born in another country and a further 22 per cent have parents born in another country. This leads to wonderful festivals, music and food from around the world, as well as an open and tolerant society. Students coming to Toronto can not only learn English and about Canada – they really can experience the world here,” she adds.

Being a major city, Toronto naturally has a thriving cultural scene, but David Oancia at Hansa Language Centre is also keen to stress the natural beauty of the city and its setting. “Going hand in hand with [Toronto’s] urbane aspect is the incredible amount of green areas one can enjoy,” he says. “Toronto boasts the longest lakefront in the world, has great beaches, over 90 kilometres of trails, and an incredible array of parks and gardens.”

Another city that, according to Mailloux, “is the idyllic junction of urban and rural life” is Sudbury, home to Laurentian University. Located in the middle of Northern Ontario, Sudbury used to be a mining town, and this legacy remains evident today in two popular attractions: Science North, a hands-on science museum built on an earthquake fault on the picturesque shore of Lake Ramsey, and Dynamic Earth, an earth sciences exhibition which is also home to the Big Nickel, one of Sudbury’s most well known landmarks.

Sudbury is also located in a area of outstanding natural beauty. “Its 300 regional freshwater lakes, its splendid vistas, and its diverse wildlife offer a microcosm of what Canada truly represents,” relates Mailloux. “In spring, summer, and fall, numerous watercrafts pepper the local lakes. In winter, the environment is transformed into a “winter wonderland”. Ice-skating, snowmobiling, and skiing provide students with an opportunity for new, healthy experiences.

With Ontario being such a rich natural playground, schools there pride themselves in organising activities that enable students to fully appreciate all aspects of the province. “During the winter we encourage students to try skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, dog sledding, and to really enjoy the Canadian winter,” says Joyce. “Of course in summer, we also encourage students to visit not only Niagara Falls, but to go camping in Algonquin Park, visit Toronto Island, rent or buy a bike and ride around Toronto’s bike paths, play beach volleyball or attend one of our weekly boat cruises.”

An unforgettable trip for students at Hansa Language Centre is a city sightseeing trip – from a canoe! Oancia explains, “The students mount the traditional native long canoe and row out to the islands and have a picnic. Quite a spectacular activity as the view of the cityscape from the islands is quite impressive.” Another popular activity is a three-day canoe camping trip through Algonquin National Park. “What can I say, to be completely surrounded by wilderness and to witness Canada’s sheer beauty first-hand leaves an incredible mark on the students,” says Oancia. Just a bus ride away from Toronto is Mississauga, home to ABC ESL Canada. The school’s owner, Shelly Claridge, highlights the many festivals hosted by the city as a big draw for students. “There is Carassauga which is a multicultural festival in which students travel all over the city to community centres and experience the music, culture, costumes and foods of many of the inhabitants of Canada. There is the Bread and Honey Festival, Jazz Festival, Strawberry Festival and Waterfront Festivals,” she relates, adding, “We also have great historical museums and country attractions and parades.” For a village experience, Village English in Streetville in Mississauga is ideal. “Not many foreign students have heard of Mississauga, never mind Streetsville,” says Farouk Suleman at the school. “However, our safe location, close proximity to public transportation to Toronto, small class size and excellent homestay and ESL programmes have been the basis for Village English to enjoy a very favourable reputation internationally.”

Mississauaga itself is home to a large South Asian community, so many Torontonians go to Mississauga to experience authentic Indian restaurants, shop at the local grocery stores or watch a Bollywood movie.

Although the multicultural characteristics of these cities may be attractive, Paula Medina, Director of the London Language Institute in London, says that the city’s monolingual status can be an advantage for language travellers wanting to learn English. “A big benefit to studying in London is that English is the predominant language,” she relates. “Unlike many other cities in Canada that have pockets of cultural backgrounds, students can speak English throughout the day and evening.”

With a population of around 350,000, London is Canada’s 10th largest city, and attracts many international students who want to study long-term in Canada. “London is a professional city with education being its primary business followed by medicine and banking,” states Medina and she notes that the school offers a packed timetable of activities – Medina says these are crucial to the school, as “we believe students need to remain active and use their English in practical settings”. Trips to Niagara Falls and Toronto are common, while activities include rock climbing, horseback riding and visits to local museums and the Grand Theatre.

Another school to offer an almost endless list of activities is Columbia International College in Hamilton, a steel city just south of Toronto, that forms part of the “Golden Horseshoe”, named for its economic importance. Students studying at the College are taken on trips to Hamilton’s Dundurn Castle, which dates from 1835, excursions to Westdale Village as well as to movies, bowling and apple picking.

Agent viewpoint

“Japanese students like going to Canada because many think that Canada is a very safe and beautiful country to stay in. Ontario is a very big and modern province and Toronto is a very popular place! Many students think that they can travel to New York during their stay, especially long-term students.”
Hiroko Nagasu, EF Japan

“I must confess that I had never heard of Mississauga, or indeed the village of Streetsville. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are the most common cities known internationally and by me. Naturally, I was very reluctant to entertain the thought of dealing with a small institution in a place I had never heard of. However, I was impressed by the timely and professional manner by which Farouk Suleman introduced Village English to me.”
Ingrid Zeller, Zellersprachen, Austria

“Students who have the opportunity to study English in Ontario will surely come back. Ontario offers everything a teenager can dream of: beautiful scenery, lots of sports to do, welcoming families, a very safe environment and Toronto, with all the excitement the city has to offer.”
Beatriz Carbonell. BCN Group International Camps, Spain

“The [biggest attraction] is the quality of the language spoken in the country in terms of clarity, ease of understanding and pronunciation. Ontario enjoys a temperate climate, and the image of their cities and spectacular attractions such as Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls, are other draws.”
Cristina Hurtado, Always School of Lang., Spain

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
IALC International  
Languages Canada /
      Langues Canada  
Perth Education City
Quality English  
WYSE Travel

Boa Lingua  
Central de
       Intercambio - CI  
      Studies Abroad  

English Australia  
IEFT- International
      Education Fairs of
LTM Star Awards  
Quality English  
WYSE Travel


Student Guard

LTM Digital  

Malta Tourism
Perth Education City

Engliah Bay College
ONECO - the
      training agency  
Professionals UK 

English Australia  
English Language
Perth Education City

Bodwell College  
Canadian &
      Student Services  
      (Canada, Ireland)
English Bay College
Hansa Language
      Centre of Toronto  
ILAC - International
      Language Academy
      of Canada  
ILSC - International
      Language Schools
      of Canada  
ITTTI Vancouver
Languages Canada /
      Langues Canada  
Ottawa International
Thompson Rivers

Beet Language
Bell International 
      (Malta, UK) 
British Study
EAC Language
      Centres and
      Activity Camps.
      (England, Ireland,
      Scotland, Wales)
Embassy CES  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy,New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
IALC International
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta,
      New Zealand,
      South Africa,
      UK, USA)
LAL Language
       and Leisure  
      (Canada, Cyprus,
      Ireland, England,
      South Africa, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)
      Language School  
Professionals UK 
Quality English  
St Giles Colleges
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Studio School of
Study Group  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy,New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Queen Ethelburga's
Twin Group  
       (Ireland, UK)
University of
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France Langue  
French in

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  
IP International
      Projects GmbH  
      (England, France,
      Germany, Spain)

Atlantic Language
Centre of English

IH Milano  

Kai Japanese
      Language School  
Kudan Institute of
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      Language School  
Feltom Malta  
Malta Tourism

Home Language


Cape Studies  
Good Hope Studies

Almeria Spanish
Escuela de
      Idiomas Nerja  
Malaca Instituto -
      Club Hispanico SL  
Malaga ĄSi!  
ONECO - the
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EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Costa Rica,
      Ecuador, France,
      Germany, Italy,
      Malta, New Zealand,
      Africa, Spain, USA)

IEFT- International
      Education Fairs
      of Turkey  

Angelo State
California State
      University Long
Eastern Washington
Human International
San Diego State
St Timothy's School
University of
      California Riverside
University of
      California San
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)

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