Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

ESL Reading: Canadian History Week

144 Things Canada Has Given the World
A Skimming and Scanning Activity 

Canada might not be very old, but during its 147 years, it has made a number of contributions to the world.

In honour of Canadian History week, here's a Canadian trivia reading quiz to test your knowledge.  First, try the pre-reading activity to find out how much you know already. Then, see how many questions you got right.  

Later, discuss and write about some of the most important inventions ever made. Would your life be any different without them? 

From Anne of Green Gables  to the zipper, hockey to the hydrofoil hydrofoil, here's a list put together by The Hamilton Spectator. Some things that are precious to Canadians may cause others to scratch their heads.

You may not have eaten poutine unless you’ve traveled to Quebec or Ontario, while Timbits  and double doubles  may sound like gobbledygook  outside our borders.  Have a look.

Read more 

Before you read:  How much do you know  already? 


  1. Where does the story of Anne of Green Gables take place?  
  2. When was the Blackberry invented?
  3. Where did the inventor of basketball first teach?   
  4. Where was the chocolate bar invented? 
  5. Are timbits made from the missing hole in donuts? 
  6. What did the zipper replace? 
  7. What is pablum? 
  8. What was invented by Alexander Graham Bell? 
  9. When did the Walkie Talkie become popular?   
  10. What is a beaver tail? 
  11. Why was the beaver so popular in Europe?  
  12. What do we use to take out the trash? 
  13. What were the names of Mr. Dressup's "friends?"
  14. What advantage did the paint roller bring? 
  15. What is Poutine?  
  16. What was the slogan for Red Rose Tea?
  17. What piece of women's underwear was invented by a Canadian teenager?  
  18. What popular winter outdoor machine was invented by Bombardier? 
  19. Who is Red Green? 
  20. What makes the Robertson screwdriver different? 
  21. What did Alexander G Bell invent that was replaced by record players?    
  22. What Canadian space technology was used on the Space Shuttle Columbia? 
  23. What is the harder version of ten pin bowling? 
  24. What did the Loonie replace? 
  25. What is a sweet thing we put on pancakes or french toast?   

  Discussion and Writing Questions 

1.    In your opinion, what is the most important thing Canada has contributed to the world? Give reasons. If this thing had 
not been invented, how would life be different? 

2.    Rank your top ten inventions from Canada from 1 to ten. Be prepared to explain your 

3.    Which 5 things have actually made a real difference in people's lives?

4.  What would life be like now, if we didn't have the "zipper," the light bulb, penicillin, 
       or insulin?

5.  What is the most important thing YOUR country has contributed to the world. Explain
      your choice and why you think it is so important. In what way has this changed the way 
       people live, think or feel?
6.   Which of the following three  has been the most important to mankind: the wheel, 
       electricity, or the printing press? Explain your reasons. 

7.  What is the most important medical discovery ever made? Give your reasons?

8.  Choose the ONE  modern convenience you could NOT live without: the cellphone, the 
     computer, modern transportation (the bus, the subway, the automobile), the refrigerator, 
     or the battery.  

9.  The Canadian beaver is an important symbol for Canada because it shows that we are 
     a hard working, industrious people. What symbol best represents you country? Why? 
     What does it mean? 

10. What colour best represents your country? Explain. What does it symbolize? Give 


  1.  I appreciate language learning experiences. The fact that i read so much, and so profoundly, demonstrates the high level of your English. 

    TOEFL Speaking

  2. Any idea where to get a printable version of the article in higher quality please? Every version I print is unreadable. Thanks!


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