Sunday, May 31, 2015

My trip to Montreal for “La grande finale internationale de la dictée PGL”

Caleb Evans (foreground right) at La grande finale internationale de la dictée PGL
Caleb Evans

Friday May 22nd to May 25th, I was in the City of Montréal, Québec for an international spelling competition called “La grande finale internationale de la dictée PGL”. I was one of the ninety-three competitors who made it to the finals of the competition. Over 300,000 students from grade five and six from across Canada, the United States and several countries from Africa tested to participate in the competition.

Friday, May 22, we flew from Calgary and landed at the Pierre-Elliott Trudeau Airport in Montréal at 6:30 pm eastern time. We headed to where we were staying, the Delta Hotel which was downtown on Rue Président-Kennedy.

Once we made it to the hotel by bus, we registered me for the final and then headed out to explore downtown Montreal. I personally enjoyed seeing all the graffiti and also enjoyed going to cathedral Marie-Reine-Du-Mond, one of the cathedrals there. Montreal is a very large city that was pretty hard to get around in and find your way. My favorite method of transportation was the Metro.

Saturday, I met all the other competitors in the competition at the finalists’ day which consisted of having lunch at an Italian restaurant, and a trip to the Montreal Science Centre. Participating in the finalists’ day was a great experience; I met people from Canada as well as participants from Senegal in Africa.

At the Science Centre with the group we saw a French documentary called Oceans in the IMAX theatre. We also went to a video game exhibit called Game On, which was an exhibit where you could play video games ranging from Pong to Xbox One. The third and final thing that we did at the Science Centre was an exhibit called Science 26 which had games testing the Bernoulli principle, friction and other scientific principles.

Sunday was the big day that the whole trip centred on, the competition. That day all the competitors met in the hotel lobby and we walked to the Berri UQAM Hall. Before the actual competition we had to practice how we came up on stage, how we smiled and also how the whole competition would work. The competition was being filmed for television.

After everyone viewing the competition live was seated, the competition began. The text being read aloud that we had to copy down was very hard and had lots of traps. As I was in the French Second Language category, I didn’t have to go against the francophone kids and I was only marked on one paragraph while they were marked on two. When the whole thing was done, they took our sheets and went to correct them and we came off stage until the awards presentation later that afternoon.  I didn’t place in the top three but I had a great time and it was a great experience to participate in the competition.

After the competition, my Dad and I went to the Bell Centre where the Canadiens play and we climbed Mount Royal. At the Bell Centre, we got to go to the press gallery, the stands, the museum, a box seat and the dressing room. We even saw the name plates and where P.K. Subban, Carey Price and Max Pacioretty sit in the dressing room. Mount Royal was also really cool, it is a mountain right in the middle of Montreal.

Rue Aylmer in downtown Montreal
Monday, my final day of the trip, we went to old Montreal and to Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal. We saw the old port, lots of cafés that lined almost all of the streets and the amazing cathedral. The streets in Old Montreal are all made of cobblestone. After our visit there we headed back to the airport to fly home.

I would like to thank all of my teachers and the “Fondation P.G.L.” for helping me get to be in Montreal.

Related story:
Caleb Evans to travel to Montreal for international La Dictée PGL finals

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