On April 7th me and my class arrived at the airport to travel to Ottawa. Why Ottawa you ask? There is a program called Encounters Canada which flys out kids from all over Canada to learn about something. My teachers decided what we were learning about that topic is…. VIMY RIDGE! Anyways, I was extremely excited for this trip as I was ready to make some new friends and learn about something new.
The plane ride there was super fun as I was sitting beside my best friends. Anyways, 6 hours later we arrived in Ottawa at 3am! Woohoo. The first thing we experienced was a lady screaming at us on the bus, remember half of us are barley awake. We get into our dorms and go to sleep.
Basically how this program works is that there is a schedule on the TVs every morning of what the day is going to consist of. There is allways breakfast, group meeting, some sort of learning experience, lunch, cultural activity, dinner and some more learning stuff.
I was put into group 5 with a bunch of PEI people and PLP kids.
Now that you understand why im here, what im doing and why, lets get on with what I learnt and did during this trip to Ottawa. I’m going to go through the week and share one or two highlights of the day and what I learnt from it.
DAY ONE – April 8th
People were still arriving this day so there were no plans besides meals. Me and my friends decided to play monopoly. Melika won and I’m still sad I lost.
DAY TWO – April 9th
This was the first day we left the terry fox center to go learn stuff. Today’s focus was the Canadian War Memorial near Parliment. All 124 of us Canadian teenagers in red Vimy hoodies headed to the Memorial. At this point, I had barley any idea what Vimy Ridge was, or what Canadians did in WWI.
What is this memorial you ask? Its called the National War Memorial. It’s a tall, granite memorial arch with accreted bronze sculptures in Ottawa. It was designed by Vernon March in 1939. It stands near Parliment to remember all the brave people who fought for Canada’s freedom in WWI.
This day we also got to stand and learn about the largest Canadian map of Vimy Ridge. We learnt about what all the lines, numbers and names mean.
And lastly, we went bowling. I am not good at bowling.
DAY THREE – April 10th
This day was super educational. We got to spend around 4 hours in a beautiful war museum. First we had a tour and then we got to walk around on our own. They had info on all the wars Canada was apart of (and ones they weren’t.) Here are some of my favorite things I saw.
This museum was so interesting and made me aware of everything Canada/war related which helped greatly for the rest of the trip.
Once we arrived back at the Centre, we had to make a skit that explained what your province is like. Me and a bunch of my classmates presented this skit about BC in front of around 150 people.
DAY FOUR – April 11th
Parliment day!! My one goal this day was to meet Justin Trudeau. Keep reading to see if I did…. (I didn’t)
The walking tour was really cool. We saw monuments for basically everything. Artists, Soilders, First Nations, Nurses, etc.
At this point you may be wondering, Luca have you made any new friends? Why yes I did. I made friends named Celina and Erik. They are both such wonderful people I am glad I met.
DAY FIVE – April 12th
On April 12th all of us went to a thing called the Diefenbunker. It was a Canadian military facility located in the rural farming community of Carp, Ontario. It was made for the Cold War. The purpose of the bunker was to house key members of the government and military in the event of a nuclear attack on Canada.
After the bunker, we headed to back to the Centre to hear a Canadian Veterans story. After that we went to the WWI cemetery.
After the ceremony at the cemetery, we headed to a musical/play called The Lamentable Tragedy of Sal Capone.
DAY FIVE – April 13th
Last full day! They gave us 3 hours to roam around downtown Ottawa, to go shopping! The first thing I did was buy coffee as I hadnt had any for a while.
After downtown there was a talent show, banquet dinner and then a dance! Here are some pictures.
BACK IN VANCOUVER
During the Ottawa trip I wasn’t strongly enjoying it as I didnt like the food or the beds, and I was kind of homesick. Oh also very sleep deprived. Looking back, It was absolutely amazing. I learnt so much about Canadas part in WWI, made new friends and had experiences that were once in a life time opportunities.
These are two of my favourites pictures from this trip because I made so many strong friendships with so many people, and these pictures show it. All of PLP bonded, and learnt more than we could ever expect. Thank you Encounters Canada for the unforgettable trip.