Wednesday, October 10, 2018 / Published in Holidays, Learning English

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I know I did. I have some family time, some turkey, and some rest. I also enjoyed the orange leaves and grey skies – a typical Victoria fall.

When I first taught overseas (in Mexico), my coworkers often asked me why Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on a different day than Americans. (Canadians celebrate it on the second Monday of October, whereas the American date is the fourth Thursday of November). I realized I didn’t know, so I did a lot of research, but I was unable to find a clear answer.

Some websites suggested it was because Canada is further north, so we harvest (pick vegetables) earlier. Some said it is connected with the arrival of explorer Martin Frobisher in 1578, who gave thanks for his safe journey. Another website I read said that it is simply because the Canadian and American governments chose different dates when they made Thanksgiving an official holiday! So the truth is, we don’t really know.

The American Thanksgiving story of “the Pilgrims and the Indians [First Nations peoples]” is well-known, but Americans did not “invent” Thanksgiving; harvest festivals are celebrated in many different cultures. Thanksgiving is essentially a time to celebrate the harvest and be grateful for the good gifts that we have in our lives – food, family, friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, September 20, 2018 / Published in Learning English

It’s that time of year again… the leaves are falling, the nights are cooler, and people all over Victoria start drinking pumpkin spice lattes. Fall has arrived!

Do you like this season? Victoria normally has a very nice fall. Especially in the first few weeks, the weather is often dry and clear; this means blue skies, golden sunshine, and orangey-red leaves. I love it! Soon after, the rains will start to come. The fallen leaves will become slippery, and the sidewalks will be full of puddles – so watch your step!

What do we eat in fall? This is when Canadians start to cook more winter dishes. These include soups, stews, and anything with squash in it. We also like to drink pumpkin spice lattes, gingerbread lattes, and peppermint mochas. Some people complain when coffee shops start offering these drinks at the end of August!

What about fall activities? Well, some people will go camping on the weekend. It is a little colder than in August, but September is our last chance to get out into the forest, so some die-hard (crazy, committed) camping fans will still do it! Most farmers markets run until the middle or end of the month as well, so don’t miss this chance to stock up on (buy lots of) local vegetables.

Orange leaves, hot drinks, and cool weather… have a great fall!