Fresh-off the conclusion of the regional competitions, 84 contestants will compete in Spelling Bee of Canada’s 27th annual Ontario championship finale for over $10,000 in cash prizes on Sunday, May 11 at the Eaton Chelsea in Toronto.
The Ontario championship finale promises to be a nail biting competition for spectators and contestants alike. Organizer Julie Spence observed the fierce level competition at the 28 regional spelling bees which hosted over 3,000 competitors, and concluded on Sunday, April 13.
“Participants have always dreaded the tie breaker round; which has contestants spell words that are not included in the official study manual. This was the first year I had seen competitors excited and cheering when the round was announced. They were prepared for a tough competition, and excited for a challenge. I have no doubt that this competitive spirit will carry through to the championship,” says Spence.
This year’s competition is open to the public to attend, and will be broadcast on Rogers TV cable 10/63 in Toronto/Scarborough. Viewers can expect to see children in the primary, secondary, and intermediate level spell words that will have them questioning how well they can spell. Spelling words like; magma, philanthropy, and electroencephalograph–words which won some contestants their coveted championship spot.
Three Unique First Time Championship Competitors
This year’s competition also marks the opening of three new regional chapters; the Aga Khan Education Board, Khlasa School of British Columbia, and the Toronto Community Housing chapter. Each of these new chapters will have competitors in the Ontario championship for the first time, demonstrating the growing popularity of the Spelling Bee of Canada.
A former spelling bee contestant herself, Domonique Morris knows the invaluable experience being a contestant provides. She attributes her participation in the competition for helping not only enhance her vocabulary, and writing skills, but for developing her confidence, creativity and public speaking skills.
She wanted to extend these opportunities she had growing-up to the children in Toronto’s Community Housing.
“I wanted to provide an opportunity for the children living in Toronto Community Housing to compete, and demonstrate to the community that they defy the stigmas imposed upon them. The children know who they are outside of how they are perceived by others, but are rarely provided the opportunity to prove their skills. I saw first-hand at the regional competition how participating in a spelling bee inspired these children to break this imposed threshold, and how it built their confidence and skills.”
In 2002, Morris became the youngest Spelling Bee of Canada Co-Chapter President at 13 years old, opening the first North York chapter with the help of her mother, who served as Chapter President. After a hiatus, Morris, now 26, decided to return to the competition as a Chapter President, this time opening the first Toronto Community Housing chapter which saw 30 children compete at this year’s regional competition.
Morris described this regional competition as a highly competitive battle that had her on the edge of her seat. Next year she hopes to grow this chapter to 200 contestants from Toronto Community Housing throughout the GTA.
Spelling Bee of Canada has had over 50,000 children participate in the bee to date, and by 2020 the organization foresees increasing that number to a million, anticipating the launch of a national championship
Category Competition Times
Opening Ceremony 9:30 a.m.
Primary (ages 6-8) 10:00 a.m.
Junior (ages 9-11) 12:30 p.m.
Intermediate (ages 12-14) 2:00 p.m.
An awards presentation will be held immediately upon conclusion of the intermediate category. All category competition times are estimated start times.
Julie Spence, and Domonique Morris are available for interviews upon request. Based on availability interviews with Spelling Bee contestants may also be arranged. For more information on the Spelling Bee of Canada please visit spellingbeeofcanada.ca.