Success at the Canada Wide Science Festival in Montreal: May 14 – 20
Early in the morning on Saturday, May 14 the team of Liz, Vanessa (St. James Collegiate student!), Fionn, Noah, Ms. Lachance, and Mr. Fisher-Smith met at the Richardson International Airport on route to the 55th annual Canada Wide Science Festival and Fair in Montreal, QC. After donning Team Manitoba jackets, the team said their good-byes to family, friends, and Mr. Jason Braun, the chair of the St. James Assiniboia Science Fair.
Upon arrival at McGill University, the host site of CWSF, the team quickly unpacked and began to explore the campus and downtown Montreal. As an additional bonus, Noah, Fionn, and Mr. Fisher-Smith took in the CIS East-West game held at Molson Stadium.
On Sunday, the students joined the 481 other finalists in setting up their projects for the Monday judging sessions, which went well for the four St. James students. After a long day of judging, the CWSF participants were treated to dinner on the field of Molson stadium, home of the McGill Redman and the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes! Supper was catered by a selection of Montreal’s finest food trucks while enjoying inflatable and carnival games, and Frisbee and soccer games on the AstroTurf!
Having survived a very busy Monday, the team was treated to a tour of Montreal on Tuesday. Following an early breakfast, the team hopped on one of the many double decker tour busses and headed downtown before going to Olympic Park. While at the park, the team discovered four North American biomes of the Biodome and rode the funicular up the world’s tallest inclined tower of the Olympic Stadium for photo ops of metro Montreal. From the panoramic vistas of Olympic Stadium, the group then explored Montreal’s Old Port and Mont Royal before returning back to McGill’s campus.
On Wednesday the students presented their projects to local students and the general public while the teachers attended workshops on science fairs and other Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) topics. In the evening, students enjoyed the CWSF talent show that highlighted Mexican and Highland dancing, singing, a magic routine, fiddling, and a comedic bit.
Thursday was a big day that started with a one hour presentation from Colonel Chris Hadfield! During his time on the stage, Colonel Hadfield captivated the audience as he shared many of his experiences and reasons why he loves science. As an additional “bonus” Colonel Hadfield sang I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing) and David Bowie’s Space Oddity! After an incredible presentation to the entire CWSF body, Colonel Hadfield made time to visit several of the students’ projects and incredibly stopped at Noah’s project, “The Sweet Spot”. Colonel Hadfield reviewed Noah’s investigation on where and why the sweet spot of a baseball bat exists and questioned him on some of his work!
Thursday’s big adventure continued in the afternoon, and the team headed down to Théâtre St-Denis for the Awards Ceremony after a quick lunch. The breathtaking theatre was filled with finalists, delegates, family members and friends excited to share in the collective success of the young scientists from across the country. The audience listened intently to speeches from Brad McCabe, director of Youth Science Canada, Dr. Jaymie Matthews, and Dr. Leanne Jablonski, former Winnipegger and recipient of the 2016 CWSF Alumni Award. After Dr. Jablonski received her Alumni Award, the Excellence Awards were presented and St. James Assiniboia team celebrated loudly as Vanessa, Fionn, and Noah received Bronze, Silver, and Silver respectively! Way to go team!
After the Awards Ceremony, it was back to McGill campus for the Awards Banquet and the Much Video Dance Celebration, both held at McConnell Arena.
Friday morning saw more public and school viewings and STEM conference sessions. At noon, the fair officially ended and project takedown began. After a quick stop at the McGill University bookstore for some souvenirs, the team began packing before a Farewell River Cruise and Dance on the St. Lawrence River. Leaving port just before sunset, the cruise offered a wonderful view of Downtown Montreal, Old Port Montreal, La Ronde, as well as Olympic Park and offered a most excellent way to end a memorable week in Montreal.
- Submitted by G. Fisher-Smith, Bruce Middle School