Students enjoy west coast experience

Students from Gaspé, Quebec explore Gulf Islands Park

The Grade 8 class from École Antoine-Roy in Gaspé

Students all the way from the other side of the country were in town earlier this week after winning the Canada’s Coolest School Trip contest put on by Parks Canada.

The long anticipated moment finally arrived for the Grade 8 class from École Antoine-Roy in Gaspé, Quebec this past Monday as they arrived in Victoria to experience the West Coast.

The class, who won the trip by creating a catchy music video that touched on the importance of Parks Canada to Canadians, enjoyed meals, accommodations and airfare with Air Canada courtesy of the contest which was sponsored by Parks Canada My Parks Pass program, Air Canada and Church and Dwight Canada Corp. (Arm and Hammer).

The trip spanned June 2 to 6 and students participated in activities like whale-watching and kayaking in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (including Sidney Spit) as well as tours of Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site.

“We are all very close friends so this has been so much fun,” said

Grade 8 student Justine Levesque.

“It’s really fun exploring new cities and places,” she added.

Samuel Chouinard, another student from the trip, said finding out they won the contest and the trip to B.C. was a once-in-lifetime moment.

“It was very emotional,” he said.

“We were happy, surprised, shocked. It was a good moment.”

Teacher Steve Boulay said the experience is important for his students in more ways than one.

“It’s great for them to get out and see new places and realize the importance and significance of our National Parks but it’s also great for them to know that if they work hard like they did making the video for this contest that they can succeed. I’m not sure if they are able to absorb everything just yet because it’s very exciting but the trip will be a memory they have for the rest of their lives,” he said.

“I am pleased to welcome the winning class to our amazing Parks Canada places in British Columbia,” said Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada.

“Under our Government’s National Conservation Plan, we are encouraging Canadians to connect with nature and this is an ideal opportunity for these students to do just that.”

Canada’s Coolest School Trip is a contest offered through the My Parks Pass program. My Parks Pass is a collaborative program between Parks Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Federation, Canadian Geographic, Nature Canada and Historica Canada. The program invites youth to learn about Canada’s natural and cultural heritage and experience Parks Canada places first-hand.

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