Canada Questions and Answers

Student Q&A

Students from Aldershot Elementary School in Kentville, Nova Scotia, and David Livingstone Community School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, were the special online guests when Scholastic visited Canada during the 1997–98 school year.

Do you celebrate Christmas?

Yes, some of us do, the traditional way, with presents and spending time with our families.

Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? Also, could you tell us about some of your multicultural celebrations?

Yes, we celebrate the traditional way. We give each other Valentine's cards and have a party. Two multicultural celebrations are Festival du Voyageur and Folklorama.

What kind of holidays do you have?

Our Halloween is just the same as yours. However, our Thanksgiving is different from yours. We celebrate ours on the second Monday in October, while you celebrate yours on the fourth Thursday in November.

Our school has a theme "Friendship Around the World" and we are learning about backgrounds and cultures of our students. Do you speak English or French in your schools?

In Nova Scotia, we speak both. In most of our classes, we speak English except in French class, where we learn French. We are going to learn our national anthem, "O Canada," in French. We sing "Happy Birthday" in French and count to ten in French. We are in Grade 1. In grades 4–6, the kids have French classes every day.

In Manitoba, we have French class but some of us don't speak French too well. We have lots of different kinds of people in Canada. Each province has rules and guidelines in education.


We are doing research on endangered animals of South Dakota, where we live. What are some endangered animals in your province?

In Nova Scotia, we think the loons are becoming endangered because there have been high readings of mercury in some of them at Kejimkujik National Park. It is about one-and-a-half hours away from here. (Note: In May 1997, the common loon and the yellow-billed loon were designated "not at risk" by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada [COSEWIC]. However, identified threats may threaten the population of loons in certain local areas.)

What are the endangered animals in Manitoba?

The endangered and vulnerable animals in Manitoba include the whooping crane, burrowing owl, spotted owl, black-footed ferret, and polar bear. You can find a list of the species at risk from the government of Canada, posted on the Web.

What kinds of animals live near you in Nova Scotia?

We have foxes, bears, deer, skunks, porcupines, raccoons, woodchucks, and squirrels.

Have you ever had a polar bear in your school?

No, we haven't had a polar bear, but up north of Manitoba, in Churchill, they have polar bears in their schoolyards all the time.

Is your school close to the ocean?

Here in Manitoba we're in the center of Canada. That's why we have extreme temperatures. We do have one of the largest lakes in the world, called Lake Winnipeg.


Does Canada have a king or a president, and what's his or her name?

We do not have a president or a king but we have a prime minister. He is kind of like the president or a king. The current prime minister's name is Jean Chrétien.

How many people are there in Canada?

In April of 2002, the estimated population of Canada was 31,260,388 people.

Do some people still live in igloos way up in the north?

The climate is warm here in the summer months and cool in the spring and fall. The winter gets cold, but we do not live in igloos. Some people way up north in the Northwest Territories (Baffin Island, Victoria Island) build igloos when they go hunting and fishing, but they generally live in houses like everyone else. These people are called the Inuit (formerly called the Eskimos).

I understand that Canadian currency is very colorful as compared to the United States. Can you tell us about it?

We have a loonie for a dollar — that is a coin. We have a twonie for two dollars, which is a coin also. I regret to inform you that we no longer have one-dollar bills. We do have very colorful currency, but the bills are in larger denominations.

I just made a friend from Canada and she describes herself as a "Bluenoser." She doesn't live in Nova Scotia anymore but is very proud that she was born there. Why is she a Bluenoser? At first I thought it was because it's cold there and your noses turn blue!

We are called Bluenosers in Nova Scotia because we had the fastest ship in the world for almost 20 years. It was called the Bluenose. They called it the Bluenose because when people went sailing, their noses got so cold that they looked blue.

We live southwest of Chicago and most of us have seen the Sears Tower there, which is the one of the tallest buildings in the world. What is the tallest building where you live and how tall is it?

The closest city is Halifax, which is about an hour's drive away. The tallest building in our area is Crowell Tower at Acadia University in Wolfville. It is only about 15 stories high.

The tallest building in Canada would probably be the CN Tower (Canadian National Tower). The building has a height of 1,815 feet. It is in Toronto, located in the province of Ontario. It is right beside the SkyDome, where the Toronto Blue Jays play. The kids who know about baseball may know.

The tallest building in Winnipeg is 176 meters, or 34 stories high. It is called the Toronto Dominion, or the "TD building" for short. The second tallest building is called the Richardson building.

How do you get electricity way up north in Canada?

We get electricity to the north by dams in the rivers. The water flows to the dam and then it goes through something called a turbine. A turbine is a big spinning wheel that generates electricity. From the turbine it runs through wires to our homes. Manitoba, where we live, sells energy to some of the States.


Who are your famous explorers in Canada?

Some of the famous explorers include Henry Hudson, John Davis, Pierre Radisson, Robert de La Salle, Henry Kelsey, Pierre de la Verendrye, Samuel Hearne, Peter Pond, Leif Ericsson, John Cabot, Jacques Cartier, Samuel de Champlain, James Cook, George Vancouver, Simon Faser, and David Thompson.

Has your country ever had a war on your land?

Yes, we did. The War of 1812 between the United States and England. During the war, Laura Secord eavesdropped on battle plans of the U.S. After she walked a long distance to warn of an American attack, the Canadians won the Battle of Beaver Dam. The Canadians were also helped in that battle by the earlier warnings of the Native peoples.

School Life

What is school like in Canada? What are your main subjects? What are the teachers there like? In our school, we have six grades from K–5 and about 600 kids. How many kids do you have in your school and how many grades do you have?

School in Canada is like school in the United States. We have subjects like math, science, health, physical education, language arts, art, music, and social studies. We also have French as a subject.

How many kids do you have in you school and how many grades do you have?

We have ten grades from nursery (the grade before kindergarten) to grade 8. There are about 400 students.

How many kids are in your class? Tell us about your day at school.

We have 16 students. While 16 is a small number, we hope it will change during the year. Our days in school are pretty much the same as yours. We work on things like science, social studies, math, and computers. We work on the computer a lot. A new addition to our days is called Peer Support, and then we have recess. During recess we play games like 4-square, tag, and skipping. After we have recess, we work and then have lunch. Some go home for lunch, while others stay here at school to have their lunch. We eat different things, from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to fries and gravy with a burger on the side. After lunch, we come to school and do mostly the same things.

Do you have a school mascot? What is it?

In Manitoba, ours is the D.L. eagle.

What are you studying in school?

We are studying about David Livingstone because our school is named after him. We are having a 75th anniversary next week. David Livingstone was ten years old when he started to work with his dad and was born on March 19, 1813, and he died on May 1, 1873. A Scottish man, he was a famous explorer in Africa.

Do you go on field trips? Where do you go?

We go on field trips, but we haven't gone on one yet this year because we just got back from summer holidays. Last year we went to the Narrise snake pits, Fun Mountain, and Camp Assiniboia, The Winnipeg Sun (newspaper), Fort Whyte, and The Children's Festival. This year, our first field trip is going to be Camp Assiniboia, in Manitoba.

Sports and Leisure

What kind of sports do you like to play?

We like to play soccer, volleyball, hockey, and basketball. We like to swim and go camping. Also, we like to skate on ponds in the winter.

Do you play ice hockey and ice football?

In Canada, ice hockey is a big sport. People of all ages play the game for the fun of it. All my friends love to play ice hockey and body-check people when they play.

Do you play baseball at your school? How many teams?

We have two baseball teams — a boys' team and a girls' team. Our teams could beat anybody — well, mostly everybody. There is a community team named Turtle Island Cougars, and our school team name is David Livingstone Eagles.

We play baseball at Aldershot Elementary School in Nova Scotia. We have four or sometimes five players from our class who play. We play fastball but with a tennis ball.


Do you always get cold every time you go to school?

We don't get cold in the summertime but it starts to get cold in the fall. The winter gets cold and you can make a snowman. Also, you can make a snow fort and a snow tunnel. The snow melts in the spring. All of a sudden, summer comes again. In the summer it gets between 20 and 32 degrees Celsius (this would be about 68–87 degrees Fahrenheit). In the winter, we wear snow pants and snow jackets, scarves, hats, mittens, and snow boots with thick socks. In the summer, we wear shorts and T-shirts and put on suntan lotion and hats to keep the sun off. It's only really cold here in late December, January, February, and March.

We know it is cold there sometimes. How warm does it get in summer?

Here in Winnipeg, it can reach extreme temperatures either way. In winter it can get as cold as –40 degrees Celsius. In summer, it can get as high as 35 degrees Celsius, or 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Write about it:
Why do you think Canadians might have a different Thanksgiving than Americans?

Name three differences and three similarities between your life and school and what you have learned about the lives and schools of these kids in Canada.