iA couple of weeks ago, we embarked on a different kind of PLP trip than we normally do. We went as a class to a program of teens from all over Canada, called Encounters with Canada. This was a week-long program in the heart of downtown Ottawa for high school kids from across the country. We stayed in a large centre full of dorm rooms, a cafeteria, rec rooms, computer labs, and outdoor equipment. In the mornings we would wake up to loud alarms and music, have a meal, and go to an activity. Then, we would eat lunch (dinner as the students from P.E.I. called it), have another activity, eat again, and then we might have free time or a chance to explore the city after dinner. Finally, we would go back to our dorm rooms for the rest of the night.
The first we had the morning after we arrived in Ottawa was a full day of free time. This was one of the best days of the week because we got to play cards and bond with other people from across Canada. Later that evening, we had an orientation assembly once everyone had arrived.
Today was the first day of programmed activities. We had the opportunity to go to a ceremony for the 101st anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. This was a very interesting and sentimental ceremony, which was presented by current and past soldiers and a couple of musicians and bagpipes. Then, after lunch, we split into groups to learn a little bit more about Vimy Ridge and it’s history. Then, later that night we were given an option to do various sports-related activities. I chose to go bowling with Lauren.
Today we went to the Canadian War Museum in downtown Ottawa. Even after a long nights rest, it was still an early morning rise due to the time change. This took the whole day. We were given both a guided tour and free time in the museum and got to learn all about 20th-century warfare and battle tactics. In the evening, we were tasked with creating a short skit about our province or territory. This was very fun because we got to use costumes from the costume bin at the centre.
Today’s activities were some of the best. First, we did some activities about remembrance in the morning, and then after lunch, we went on a tour of the parliament buildings. They were much larger than I expected, and I nearly got lost a couple of times. Afterward, we went for a walk around various monuments in the city.
Today we had the opportunity to visit an abandoned cold war bunker, which would have been used in the event of a nuclear disaster to hold parliament and nearby residents. This was one of the best stops on our trip because we were able to really explore this monstrous bunker. There were so many twists and turns in all of the corridors that we got separated from our tour group for 20 minutes. That afternoon, we held a small remembrance ceremony in a nearby veterans cemetery. This was a very powerful and moving occurrence and made us stop and think for a minute about how lucky we are to have the lives we do.
Today, we were given free time downtown, which wasn’t the most exciting thing for our class, however, it was very fascinating to talk to other students and see their perspectives about it. We have all grown up having cities and shopping malls nearby, yet almost everyone else on the trip would have to drive a couple hours to get to the nearest shopping area. We had a fun time exploring downtown Ottawa though, and it ended up being a great day. The last part of the night was the Friday night dance. We were all up until 3 AM in the cafeteria, having fun and bonding for one final night before we all went our separate ways.
This was the last day we had in Ottawa. I spent the morning hanging out with some new people I hadn’t talked to before, and we had an excellent time. Eventually, though, it was time to depart back to Vancouver.
For this trip, we made a book to document our learning. You can read mine below!
This was an excellent trip and one that I will surely never forget. I have made lifelong friends and memories which I will continue to cherish.