Spring Break For Adults

The arrival of spring is worth celebrating. After a winter of cold and often dark days, springtime announces a new beginning. Wildlife return from their season of hibernation, parkas are shed in favor of light jackets and seeds planted in the winter begin to bloom in glory. Spring is a perfect time for young and old to let loose and enjoy the adventure and wonder of the season.
If Girls Gone Wild is not your style, avoid the following vacation spots that attract the MTV party crowd:

o Arizona – Lake Havasu City

o Florida – Panama City, Dayton, South Beach, Miami, Key West

o Texas – South Padre Island

o Mexico – Acapulco, Cancun, Mazatlan

o Caribbean – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Nassau, Bahamas; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Negril, Jamaica

Take heart! There are many other springtime places to satisfy your wanderlust. Here are four of our favorite picks worth exploring.

Romantic Getaway

Montreal, Canada. Montreal beckons visitors with its easy mix of French charm, decadent shops and restaurants and hip, cosmopolitan vibe. Enjoy a romantic dinner cruise along the St. Lawrence River where you are treated to culinary delights, sultry jazz and the city’s twinkling lights or stay on shore and treat yourself to a progressive dinner at three of Montreal’s star-studded restaurants.

When you are ready for a romantic stroll filled with the tantalizing sights and sounds of the city head to Sainte-Catherine Street in downtown Montreal to discover why Montreal is the double decker city. The largest concentration of stores in Canada can be found above ground while underneath every nook and cranny is filled with shops and boutiques. Sainte-Catherine traverses from east to west across the entire city. Enjoy the decidedly hip vibe evoked by this worldly marketplace nestled between mountains and rivers. Splurge in designer boutiques and trend-setting art galleries or simply enjoy the juxtaposition of modern skyscrapers and centuries-old buildings. When night falls, dine or dance the night away in the hottest clubs in the country. Montreal has many five-star accommodations, from upscale luxury hotels and well-known chains to cozy B&Bs. Enjoy a luxurious stay at the five-star Hotel Sofitel on

Nursing Homes and Retirement Homes in Canada

It is still customary for many people to think of “nursing homes” when they are considering care for aging loved ones. However, in Canada’s senior care industry, you will not hear many staff refer to “nursing homes.” The traditional “nursing home” in Canada is referred to as a long term care home, where patients will receive medical care and attention as warranted – perhaps from nurses on call around the clock.

The term “nursing home” also carries some negative connotations certainly and as a generic catchall term it is simply not fitting as a description of the many retirement living options available. In Canada today, senior care is increasingly adaptable and flexible, with a spectrum of options from complete independence to thorough care.

Some options you can find in retirement home living today include the following:

Active Adult Communities allow you to live in community with other people your own age with access to often-luxurious amenities such as a golf course, swimming pool, etc. These communities are usually age exclusive and the age of exclusion may be as low as 50 years. That doesn’t mean your grandkids can’t visit! They just can’t live with you.

Independent Living also allows you to live in an exclusive community but in this, you might also participate in communal meals and other activities. You may be protected by security and you may even want to hire your own home health care if needed.

Congregate Living may mix together people requiring various degrees of care, including (for example) independent seniors along with those who require help with house cleaning or other regular daily activities.

Long-term care homes offer residents care as required. Many people still think of these as “nursing homes.” These may be well-staffed with nurses and other medical staff and there may be many residents who require consistent care.

It’s important to note that the retirement home industry is responding to senior’s changing needs. The vast majority of retirement homes in Canada seek to treat residents with the very highest levels of respect, befitting those who have contributed so much to society in their lives. As the baby boomer generation puts their aging parents into retirement homes, they are demanding increased options and more respectful care. In fact, they are effecting changes that they will one day benefit from when they, too, decide to move into a retirement home.

Take a Holiday to Canada and Explore Alberta, Home of the Canadian Rockies

Canada holidays are the perfect choice for those keen to see some of the world’s best scenery and to enjoy the great outdoors. Families, couples and individual travellers alike will love exploring Alberta, which is home to the famous Canadian Rockies.

Renowned for being great value as well as having a welcoming attitude towards tourists, Canada holidays are always exciting. With trips to Alberta, you will be able to explore all kinds of scenery and embark on diverse adventures. Children will love the huge variety of wildlife on offer, while adults and youngsters alike will be revitalised by spending some time in the clean, crisp air of the great outdoors.

Travelling through Alberta’s Kananaskis Country en route to your first destination, you will immediately be surrounded by the stunning scenery Canada is so famous for. Arriving in Banff National Park, you will be able to stay in gorgeous lakeside accommodation, with an epic mountain range serving as the backdrop.

The park is a haven of natural beauty. Taking a guided hike along Lake Louise is a great way to start your exploration of the area. During the walk, you will be able to spot all kinds of animals – a highlight of any Canada holiday – so keep your eyes peeled for moose and bald eagles, among other exciting creatures.

Outside of the park, you can enjoy a trip down Canada’s world-famous highway. Surrounded by stunning scenery, the Icefields Parkway is one of the most exciting routes you will ever travel. Punctuated all around by seemingly endless snowfields, mountains and glaciers, Icefields Parkway is an absolute joy.

Your next destination is Jasper National Park, which is full of natural wonders, wilderness and wildlife. Staying at a resort within the park’s boundaries, you will be able to explore its sights as much as you want.

And there are so many means of doing so. Cycling enthusiasts can choose to hire a bike and discover more about the park that way, or others may wish to take a boat ride and see the sights from the lake. Meanwhile, a range of other activities will be on offer during your stay, such as golf, horseriding and swimming. With so much to do, staying in Jasper National Park is a dream for those who love outdoor activities.

If you’re keen to learn more about the national parks Canada is so famous for, you might like to attend a talk by a Parks Canada official.

After having spent a day in the great outdoors, you can return to your lakeside lodgings for a delicious barbecue – the perfect way to the end the day.

Despite the previous day’s adventures, you are likely to still have things to see in the park. It is home to the Maligne Canyon, which is an absolute must-see during your visit. Regarded as one of the most impressive gorges in the Rockies, the canyon was formed over 150 million years ago.

In addition to its impressive depths, there are plenty of other things to take in. Walking around, you are likely to encounter waterfalls, lush plant life and amazing animals.

Seeing its sights from a different perspective is an exciting adventure, with a trip in a rubber raft available for those keen to take to the water. Travelling along both rapid and calm waters, this exhilarating trip is bound to be a fantastic memory of your Canada holiday.

The Rockies are also famous for glaciers. For excitement equal to your rafting adventure, embark on a trip on a specially-designed Ice Explorer and take to the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbian Icefield – an incredible opportunity not to be missed.

Spending more time on the water is a great way to round off your holiday, so why not take a private cruise on Lake Minnewanka? Here you can enjoy the scenery while learning about the folklore surrounding the First Nations people.

Ascending Sulphur Mountain is another fantastic experience to be had before you bid Canada farewell, so climb aboard the Banff Gondola to enjoy astonishing views of the six mountain ranges below.

With so many amazing adventures waiting for you, holidays to Alberta are the perfect choice for anyone who loves spending time outside and taking part in outdoor activities.

Do Our Students Need to Swim in English or Pass Grammar Tests?

Do our students need to swim in English? Or do they need to focus on avoiding minor grammar mistakes? Should we encourage our students to speak as much English as possible? Or should we paralyze our students with exaggerated fears?

Okay, these are rhetorical questions. Yet our ESL students – even advanced ESL students – don’t have to be perfect; they have to be understood. Alas, many – far too many – English classrooms still focus far more on grammar than authentic communication skills. Our students need to speak clear, comprehensible English. Practical knowledge, not abstract theory, should be the focus of our English classes. English remains a tool and just a vital tool for our students to reach their life goals in the United States, Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom. Here is a short list of important questions for our English language learners.

-Can they order food in a nice restaurant?
-Can students fill in government forms?
-Can they understand classified ads – online or in a paper?
-Can they negotiate prices at a yard sale?
-Do they understand a front page newspaper article?
-Are ELLs able to confirm information?
-Can adult students make clear recommendations?
-Can ESL students share personal experiences?
-Do students feel comfortable participating in classroom discussions?
-Can they give a competent classroom presentation to fellow students – or at work?
-Can they effectively interview for an appropriate job?
-Do they feel comfortable at social events with native English speakers?
-Can they, in short, swim in English?

If people want to communicate, meaning matters most. In other words, our students don’t need to speak perfect English with zero grammar errors anywhere outside of some English classrooms. Sometime English teachers, perhaps in a bid to help students ace their TOEFL scores, exaggerate grammar points that have little or no practical importance in daily life. Let’s look at some common language errors that our students make, and move the discussion outside of our ESL classrooms.

Will the absence of articles (a, an, the) prevent a student from buying something?
Will a confusion of “much” and “many” prevent someone from receiving assistance?
How crucial is subject-verb agreement in daily conversations?
Grammar fundamentalists hate hearing the simple truth. These errors of limited significance for most adult English language learners outside the English classroom and white collar professions. Our students need to swim in English more than they need to pass grammar tests.

Further, the focus on accurate grammar and the expectation of “correct” English can cause excessive self-consciousness. In fact, I’ve worked with many English language learners who use severe, often extreme negative language to describe quite competent and sometimes strong presentations in adult education, community college, and university courses. This severe self-criticism places huge barriers on many English language learners. Worse, this perfectionism ironically limits their willingness to engage with the broader English speaking society. That’s why I often tell high intermediate and advanced students, who are often quite ambitious and hard on themselves, to “kill the perfectionist demon”. During the first few weeks of class, I usually emphasize this point with a simple “swim in English” pitch.

“You don’t have to conquer English; you just have to swim in it everyday. Attentively listen to authentic English. Listen to podcasts and the radio. Create small conversations. Just ask a question. Read something in English everyday. Follow your interests in English. Allow yourself to be yourself in English. Jump into the language, and do your best. Start swimming in English. Our class is a safe place to expand your English skills, and learn by doing. I want to see significant, meaningful, and verifiable progress. I’m not interested in perfection. We want significant progress. Let’s get going and make some good mistakes together. Let’s swim in English, and see how far you can swim this semester.”

Our ESL students don’t have to be speak perfect; they have to be understood by listeners. They have to be functional in English. They have to perform particular language tasks. They have to speak English inside and outside the class, and successfully convey their ideas. Most English language learners need practice speaking, and positive social experiences in English. They need more conversation opportunities, and fewer grammar lessons. In short, our English students have to swim in English; they don’t have to swim across the English Channel.

So why don’t we give our students what they need to survive – and often thrive – in more English classes? Let’s help them swim – and speak – in English.

Fishing for Steelhead in Canada

If you’re an experienced fishing hobbyist or enthusiast, you should be ready for steelhead fishing. And what better place to do it than in Canada? Steelhead fishing is popular there because of the abundance of this species and also because of the numerous bodies of water found there.

The Canadian steelhead

The steelhead belongs to the trout family and is considered as a close relation of another popular fish, the rainbow trout. It is one of the most sought after game fish and is highly prized. It is native to North America’s west coast and is also found in California, USA, Japan and Asia’s east coast.

Although most types of rainbow trout stay in the streams where they were hatched all their lives, some of them migrate to other bodies of water such as lakes while others move out to sea.

The steelhead is one of these seagoing trout. They are spawned in the rivers and streams where they stay for a year. They then swim to the sea as smolts and live 2-3 years there until they mature. As adults, they will return to the rivers were they began life. Canadian steelheads can be pretty impressive, weighing up to 20 lbs. when mature.

Fishing for the steelhead

In Canada, the steelhead can be found in many of this country’s numerous rivers and streams. Fishing for the steelhead isn’t for beginners with little experience because it requires both patience and some skills. Fishing for the steelhead in Canada also means catching the fish during the colder months starting August until December, although they can also be caught until April. In some areas with heavy snows, fishing for the steelhead can be a very challenging adventure indeed.

Two of the most popular ways to catch the steelhead is through fly fishing and/or drift fishing using pink worms and roe. Certain areas in Canada also limit the number of steelheads you can catch. For example, some areas will only allow one catch from a hatchery per day and only two in the possession of the fisherman, with a maximum of only 10 steelheads per year. Any wild steelhead caught must also be released.

Advantages of fishing for steelhead in Canada

Probably the best reason for fishing for steelheads in Canada is the fact that many resorts and outfitters are available to assist and advice visitors. Equipment is also readily available and there are countless locations where fishing may be done. Furthermore, there is an added benefit of having plenty of other activities to do and scenic beauty to enjoy.