November 23, 2021

The Official CELPIP Podcast: Episode 18

Learning English can be fun and exciting and doesn’t have to be a chore. In today’s episode, we revisit a popular CELPIP Live episode where our in-house staff, Neil and Ian, have a trivia face-off about three Canadian provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario.  Tune in as we learn more facts about Canada and how trivia can help you prepare for the CELPIP Test!

Show Notes


CJ [00:00:00] Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Official CELPIP Podcast, where we aim to help you, our test takers, get the best possible scores you can and where we help support newcomers building a life in Canada. My name is CJ, and along with my co-host Chris, we talk to a variety of guests, from test takers, language teachers and test raters to employment counselors and immigration consultants, just to name a few. We also bring our in-house staff on the show to get their perspectives and they’re the people in the company that work behind the scenes to make the CELPIP Test available to you. Hey, Chris, what’s new with you?


Chris [00:00:38] Well, I was just watching this video on YouTube about interesting Canadian facts on this travel channel that I subscribe to and—


CJ [00:00:47] Oh hey, actually hold that thought. That actually reminds me to remind our listeners to subscribe to this podcast so they will be notified when a new episode is available.


Chris [00:00:58] Oh, right, and for those of you listening on your Apple podcast app, we encourage you to leave a rating and let us know how we’re doing.


CJ [00:01:06] OK, so, sorry about that. Back to what you were talking about. Something about interesting Canadian facts.


Chris [00:01:13] Yeah, it was about the Rideau Canal.


CJ [00:01:16] Oh, I’m from Ottawa, so that’s a subject I know pretty well.


Chris [00:01:20] Oh, really? Well, I’m going to test your knowledge in that case. Do you know how long it is?


CJ [00:01:26] It’s pretty long, I guess. There’s at least 10 kilometers or so running through Ottawa as I recall.


Chris [00:01:34] it’s actually two hundred and two kilometers long, stretching all the way from Ottawa to Kingston in the province of Ontario. But yeah, the most famous bit is the seven kilometers in Ottawa, which in winter is frozen and cleared for ice skating.


CJ [00:01:50] Oh, well, I didn’t know it was that long, actually. And it definitely feels like more than seven kilometers when you’re skating it. So many memories on the canal and drinking hot chocolate and eating beaver tails in the freezing cold. And don’t worry to our listeners, no beavers are harmed. It’s just a pastry in the shape of the tail of a beaver.


Chris [00:02:12] Oh, and yeah, actually, I just remembered that we both lived in Ottawa as youngsters, so that makes sense that you’d have those same memories that I have.


CJ [00:02:22] Yeah. Good times. Ottawa’s definitely a little bit too cold for me now. So I didn’t know exactly how long the canal is, but here’s a random trivia question for you, Captain Canada apparently. Canada’s national anthem “O Canada” was composed in 1880, but what year did this song officially become the national anthem?


Chris [00:02:45] Well, that’s easy. I mean, it’s umm…


CJ [00:02:51] OK OK, I’ll give you some clues. 1956, 1967, 1980 and 1945.


Chris [00:03:03] It’s got to be old, so I’m going to say 1945.


CJ [00:03:06] Nope, sorry. Even though the first English translation dates back to 1908, it didn’t get Royal Assent until 1980.


Chris [00:03:16] No way. I had no idea. OK, I feel like our listeners need to know something about us and the whole team we work with. We are obsessed with trivia.


CJ [00:03:27] Yeah, that’s very true.


Chris [00:03:29] And so it wasn’t surprising that as part of our YouTube series called CELPIP Live, we did a whole episode dedicated to trivia questions about Canadian provinces.


CJ [00:03:39] Yeah, that was a really popular episode and a super fun one.


Chris [00:03:44] Yeah, right? Trivia is fun, and it’s also a great way to learn about Canada and build your vocabulary in an enjoyable way. Improving your English does not need to be a chore.


CJ [00:03:55] That’s right. That’s what we like to try and do here: make English learning fun. And trivia can give our learners a great opportunity to learn about the geography and culture of the country, which could come in useful for life in Canada in general.


Chris [00:04:09] Hmm. But don’t worry, listeners, you do not have to study the history or geography of Canada to prepare for CELPIP.


CJ [00:04:16] That’s exactly right. You can all be reassured that you’ll never be asked these kinds of questions in the actual test. There’s no pre-knowledge required. This is just a fun way to expand your general knowledge base and build your vocabulary. So are you going to introduce the clip so we can get started?


Chris [00:04:32] Hold on! Before we get into the CELPIP Live episode, it just so happens that I’ve got a few more trivia questions to ask you, and the listeners can also begin to check their own knowledge of Canada.


CJ [00:04:44] Oh, I see. OK. Challenge accepted. And since we did say last week that this episode was about trivia, I’ve also prepared a trivia question for you. But you go first.


Chris [00:04:54] Fantastic. OK, here is your next question. Canadians are known for their love of sport. Which two of the following sports are officially recognized as the National Sports of Canada? Lacrosse, curling, basketball, hockey and cross-country skiing.


CJ [00:05:15] OK, I’m going to take a beat and let our listeners just think on it for a second. But I think I know this one. Hockey is definitely one of them, but I’m not entirely sure on the second one. I think it might be skiing? We’ve got a lot of mountains and snow, and…


Chris [00:05:32] Yeah, you are right with hockey. But the other is actually lacrosse. They were both officially recognized in 1994, with hockey being the official winter sport and lacrosse the official summer sport.


CJ [00:05:46] Of course. Now that you say that, of course I knew that. Lacrosse is such a fast paced and like wild sport to watch too.


Chris [00:05:55] Oh, it totally. I get tired just watching them.


CJ [00:05:57] And fun fact, it’s also one of the oldest sports around. It was actually originally played by First Nations people stretching back like five hundred years.


Chris [00:06:08] Yeah, yeah, that’s right.


CJ [00:06:09] OK, so here’s another trivia question for you about Canada. So as the world’s second largest country by land, Canada crosses a number of international time zones. How many time zones does Canada cover? Two, four, six or eight?


Chris [00:06:29] Hmm. Canada is a huge country, so I’m going to go for six.


CJ [00:06:36] Ding, ding, ding. That’s correct. Really good job. So Canada covers six time zones, so working backwards is like Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern, Atlantic, and this is the one people don’t always get is Newfoundland. And Newfoundland’s time zone is only like 30 minutes. So it’s the only time zone in Canada that has a half hour time change rather than a full hour.


Chris [00:07:03] Wow. Bet that half hour difference must get confusing when you cross the province lines.


CJ [00:07:07] Yeah, I’m sure it does. Do you have any other trivia questions for me?


Chris [00:07:12] Just one more for now. Canada is known for exporting natural resources and goods around the world. However, close to 80 percent of the world’s supply of this product comes solely from Canada. Can you guess what it is? Coal, maple syrup, oil or lumber?


CJ [00:07:35] OK, this has to be maple syrup.


Chris [00:07:39] Correct. Yes. Canada accounts for the majority of the maple syrup in the world, with over 14 million gallons produced in 2020 alone.


CJ [00:07:47] That tracks. I feel like I use more than my fair share of those 14 million gallons. I use maple syrup on more than just like delicious pancakes. But my friends all over the world think I’m like very Canada when we have our Zoom coffee meet ups because I actually put maple syrup in my coffee instead of regular sugar. And also using it to sweeten cocktails. Plus, it’s also amazing on savory foods like fried chicken.


Chris [00:08:13] Oh yes, chicken and waffles is one of my favorite dishes. Such a great flavor combination.


CJ [00:08:18] Absolutely. But this was my fault. Let’s please stop talking about food before I get really hungry.


Chris [00:08:24] Huh. Deal. Now, this seems like the perfect time to hear an excerpt from another popular CELPIP Live episode. As mentioned, this one is all about exploring Canada’s provinces and territories, and it’s a great opportunity for our listeners to learn some new facts about Canada. Enjoy.


Aswathi [00:08:48] So in today’s episode, we’re exploring Canada’s three most popular provinces: Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. As an immigrant myself, I based my decision of moving to B.C. on certain things like weather, obviously, but also things like landscapes, greenery, hiking spots, etc. So we created this show to help make your decision a little bit easier as well. And if you like this episode, let us know and we can talk about other provinces in the following episodes. Today, we have invited Ian, who is from Ontario, and Neil, who is from Alberta, to join us for a trivia game today about Canadian provinces. If you’re wondering who is going to talk about B.C., don’t worry. Both Ian and Neil have been in B.C. for a while now, and even if he wasn’t, Neil would probably know the answer anyway. OK, let’s start our show. So like I said, we have two guests, Ian and Neil. Nice to meet you both. Ian, how are you doing?


Ian [00:09:50] Good. Thank you. Thanks for having me back on the show, Aswathi.


Aswathi [00:09:54] This is true. Ian has joined us for fun episodes in the past. If you want to check that out, I will link it in the live chat. Welcome Ian. And Neil as well. How are you doing?


Neil [00:10:04] We’re doing well. Thank you. Thank you for having me back again.


Aswathi [00:10:07] Of course, you all already know Neil here. So I’m going to start the show now. We don’t have many rules for this game. Who answers first or lifts up an object first. And if you guys answer together, then we will have a tiebreaker question that may or may not be related to our topic today. So let’s hope that doesn’t happen. And if you do have the stage, I would love for you, if you could share a few things that you personally know and love about Ontario, B.C. and Alberta that our viewers might find helpful. OK. Are you guys ready?


Neil [00:10:43] Yes.


Aswathi [00:10:44] I’m just going to move here. So. First question. Sorry, guys, I’m just trying to make sure that I get to see you guys lift up objects. OK, first question. Which province is recognized as the world’s first richest site of dinosaur bones?


Ian [00:11:08] Alberta?


Aswathi [00:11:08] Neil lifted his hand up, and I noticed. So I’m going to say sorry Ian.


Neil [00:11:17] It’s Alberta, Ian’s right.


Aswathi [00:11:21] All right, I’m going to give Neil the point, OK?


Neil [00:11:26] I mean, Drumheller Provincial Park is a really famous site of a lot of dinosaur fossils. I think that’s where Alberta gets its dinosaur claim to fame.


Aswathi [00:11:38] Have you visited it?


Neil [00:11:41] A few times, yes. When I was a kid, I was really into dinosaurs. Like all kids.


Aswathi [00:11:45] Yes. What, Ian, did you, have you visited that place?


Ian [00:11:49] I have not been to Drumheller, but I’ve heard of it. Badlands. Yeah, that’s what it’s referred to as.


Aswathi [00:12:01] Oh, nice. What is what is your favorite dinosaur, Neil?


Neil [00:12:05] I think I would go with Triceratops.


Aswathi [00:12:07] Oh, Triceratops is mine too.


Neil [00:12:09] Yeah.


Aswathi [00:12:11] The short one. But the strong one.


Neil [00:12:14] Exactly.


Aswathi [00:12:15] Ian what about you?


Ian [00:12:16] Well, I guess I’d have to go with Albertasaurus named after the province where it was found.


Aswathi [00:12:24] I love that. OK, next question. Are you ready with your objects? This province has the largest economy in Canada, economy.


Ian [00:12:38] I think I’m going to say Ontario.


Aswathi [00:12:40] You are correct. Ontario has the largest economy in Canada, and we’ll get. talk about a little bit more about Ontario in a little bit. But Neil, if you have to say something, do share it.


Neil [00:12:52] Yeah, I guess Ontario would probably be the largest economy because it’s the most populous province. I think that probably makes sense. It’s got the most people in it.


Aswathi [00:13:01] Mm hmm. And it’s like, it’s interesting that it’s cold as hell, but people are still willing to go. So that’s great.


Neil [00:13:08] Yeah.


Aswathi [00:13:10] OK, next question. This province has one of the largest tech hubs in North America. Ian.


Ian [00:13:21] Vancouver. British Columbia.


Aswathi [00:13:25] That is incorrect.


Ian [00:13:27] Oh, really?


Aswathi [00:13:29] Yeah. The right answer is actually Ontario. It is, like I can give you the more, I think Tania can give a more specific—like our moderator can give you a more specific location of the tech hub, but it’s… This is the largest in North America, which is really cool because usually you’d expect it to be the United States, but it’s Ontario. So techies who are watching, you know where to go.


Ian [00:13:55] Oh, interesting. I know we have some Microsoft offices downtown here. And this movie production company is around.


Aswathi [00:14:05] We also have a new fancy Deloitte building that’s coming up here, which is like cubes sticking out and it’s just getting constructed. So congratulations to Deloitte, I guess. OK, next question. Which city has the highest cost of living in Canada?


Ian [00:14:27] City?


Aswathi [00:14:28] Mm hmm. You can say you can say province, but I guess city makes more sense. A little more information: this is according to the Mercer’s 26, the annual cost of living survey.


Neil [00:14:43] I think I would guess Vancouver. Sorry Ian.


Aswathi [00:14:48] Ian, what’s your guess?


Ian [00:14:50] My, my guess, my guess was also Vancouver.


Aswathi [00:14:53] OK, Ian and Neil, you both are right. It is. Yeah. Vancouver has the highest cost of living in Canada. This question took me a while to get the right answer, because while B.C. may not be the high—like, province-wise B.C. still doesn’t have the highest cost of living, Ontario does, but Vancouver has the highest. It’s, they say that even unlike Ontario or Toronto, trying to get a house, trying to buy a house in the suburbs is pretty expensive too. So that’s my information. What do you guys think? You have anything you want to share about Vancouver?


Ian [00:15:30] I mean, anecdotally, that makes sense. Having lived in Vancouver, it’s a pricey place.


Aswathi [00:15:37] It is a pricey place. I haven’t lived anywhere else, so I don’t know.


Ian [00:15:41] Yeah, when I talked to people in Toronto, they say it’s very expensive as well. I think Canada has a high concentration of people living in cities, and we don’t have that many large cities compared with the US, where there are a lot more people spread out into smaller towns and the cost of living is, yeah, I think a little bit lower by comparison.


Aswathi [00:16:09] This is true. It’s, it’s really interesting how British Columbia has, like you said, it’s a very small, concentrated population, but a lot of it in small areas and… We should start spreading. It’s spreading, OK, people are getting—


Ian [00:16:24] We’re just huddling together for warmth because it’s so cold. Like penguins.


Aswathi [00:16:31] Yes. OK. So thank you guys for joining us. We are getting a lot of comments in our in our live chat as well, and I’m really glad people are playing. OK, next question for you guys and for those of you who are watching as well. OK, which province has the best education system? Neil?


Neil [00:16:57] I think I would probably say in a biased way that it’s Alberta.


Aswathi [00:17:05] You are correct.


Ian [00:17:08] Wow, what is that based on?


Neil [00:17:11] I think it must be like the, maybe it’s the ratio of graduate, graduation to attendance maybe? I just know that Alberta has a really intensely focused like school system and that the post-secondary is really well attended as well, so there’s lots of really popular colleges and universities.


Ian [00:17:35] This this explains why Neil’s winning right now. He’s just so well-informed.


Neil [00:17:39] Thanks to the Alberta education system.


Aswathi [00:17:43] Yeah. So if you guys who are moving there have children and want them to have good education? Not that—OK, so here’s what I have to say to this. This was based on the PISA rankings? P-I-S-A rankings from 2018 and Alberta won for reading, Alberta was highest for reading, and science was also Alberta. But math was, I think, British Columbia. So it’s not like you’re like, it’s not like we’re duds in B.C. or in Ontario. It’s just that in comparison, Alberta is better.


Ian [00:18:19] I feel disadvantaged in this contest now. I can’t compete with Neil. His Alberta education.


Neil [00:18:30] Sorry, guys.


Aswathi [00:18:31] Ian you’ll get this one.


Ian [00:18:33] All right.


Aswathi [00:18:34] OK. I don’t know how to ask, OK? What is the—no, never mind. The Great Horned Owl is the official bird of which province? Ian.


Ian [00:18:52] Alberta.


Aswathi [00:18:53] It is Alberta.


Ian [00:18:54] Oh.


Aswathi [00:18:55] I told you. They’re so cute. If you guys have a chance, Google it. They’re adorable, they have like, well, they have horns, but they’re made of feathers, it’s very cute. Great horned owl, great horned owl. OK, next question. Sorry, Neil, since you are from Alberta, have you seen it? Have you seen the bird?


Neil [00:19:18] I’ve never actually seen one. I’ve seen pictures of them, but I’ve never seen one in the wild. If I had to pick like a bird for Alberta I’d say magpies, which are kind of like crows, because they’re everywhere, but no. Never seen a Great Horned Owl.


Aswathi [00:19:31] That’s wonderful. I mean, not that you haven’t seen it, but it’s wonderful that you have so many birds. My grandmother loves birds, and she would be really happy. She really likes owls too. Ian, do you have a favorite bird?


Ian [00:19:47] A favorite bird, I do like owls. Have you ever seen them where their, their legs are extended? They actually have really long legs.


Aswathi [00:19:56] I have seen that.


Ian [00:19:58] Look up owl legs.


Aswathi [00:19:59] You need to Google this. People who are watching, you need to Google this because it’s mind-blowing. They have like legit, like they have calves and thighs and they have legit legs, and knees I guess. It’s wild. I have never seen that good for being that happy. And I mean,


Ian [00:20:17] Neil you’re going to love it, owl legs.


Ian [00:20:22] Google it guys. People who are watching as well. OK, this is my favorite question in this trivia question. The Guinness Book of World Records for the longest beard on a living person is held by a man from which province?


Neil [00:20:42] I’m going to guess British Columbia.


Aswathi [00:20:46] Ian, you look like your hand’s up.


Neil [00:20:47] Sorry, sorry.


Ian [00:20:50] I was also going to guess British Columbia just because, I mean, look at Neil and I. Everyone has beards here. We come from a long line of lumberjacks. It’s the style. It’s the style guys.


Aswathi [00:21:04] Both of you are right. And since Ian put his hand up I’m going to give him the point because we are very diligently calculating points here. So Ian, you are correct. Neil, you’re also correct that person’s from British Columbia and his name is Salman Singh. He is from Surrey, and I think his beard measures over two and a—two point one or two point two meters.


Neil [00:21:29] All right. Very impressive.


Aswathi [00:21:32] Yes, he is. I mean, it’s a living person, so he’s here. But there was one, I don’t know the length of it, but the longest beard ever is from a person who is not alive and they even measured his beard after his death. So there’s that difference. OK, Salman Singh, which is pretty cool, even Google this too guys if you’re watching; it’s amazing.


Ian [00:21:59] Your hair continues growing after you die, right?


Neil [00:22:03] That’s what I hear, yeah.


Aswathi [00:22:03] I’m glad you said that. So you so you can see I cut my hair and my mom is very, very protective of my hair. She does not like it when I do anything to it. I’m close to an age that I can’t say, which is very obviously like way past adult, like into adulthood, and I still don’t have any control over my hair, but I did speak to—like I was trying to tell her that, you know, that she thinks that the older we get, our hair stops growing, which is untrue. So thank you for bringing that up.


Ian [00:22:36] Yeah, yeah. Next time your mom complains that you’re cutting your hair, just say I can grow my hair when I’m dead. So don’t worry, mom, it’s going to be okay.


Aswathi [00:22:47] It grows up to two weeks, apparently after, after you die.


Neil [00:22:52] All right.


Ian [00:22:54] OK, it’s not a long time, but.


Neil [00:22:56] Still.


Aswathi [00:22:57] Two weeks. It’s really two weeks is, it’s— Depending on where you are, two weeks is a long time. If you have COVID, two weeks is a very long… OK, which province has the largest number of vegetarians and vegans in Canada? Ian?


Ian [00:23:18] Largest population by number, by percentage.


Aswathi [00:23:21] No, I mean, which? Well, by popul—no by percentage, I think by percentage.


Ian [00:23:29] I’m, I’m going to say British Columbia.


Aswathi [00:23:32] And you would be right. British Columbia does have the largest number of vegetarians and vegans. It is a fact that I love because when I, like, I’m vegetarian. I mean I eat the occasional seafood. But I’m mostly, I prefer vegetarian food. Where I was before in America, the United States of America, we had vegetarian options, but it’s not, it’s not, it doesn’t go beyond salad. And so it was really nice to come here and see there are so many varieties, like everything has an vegetarian option, it’s just amazing. And are you guys vegetarians/vegans?


Ian [00:24:12] I, I eat everything.


Neil [00:24:16] Not at all.


Aswathi [00:24:17] OK.


Ian [00:24:18] But I have traveled with people who are vegetarians and I know it’s, it’s challenging in a lot of places. B.C definitely has a lot of good options. Canada generally has good vegetarian and vegan options.


Aswathi [00:24:31] Yeah, Canada has good food. I don’t know why it’s not more like popular. Like, you know, I watch like a lot of Netflix shows, home cooking and like chefs and like these very emotional and introspective shows about chefs. But I don’t like see Canada there, and I really want to because we don’t have bad food. We have pretty good food guys. Trust me.


Neil [00:24:54] It’s true.


Chris [00:24:59] And we’re back, so that was quite an education.


CJ [00:25:03] Yeah, there were definitely a few surprises there. What surprised you the most?


Chris [00:25:08] Well, I’ll start off by saying what didn’t surprise me: that Vancouver has the highest cost of living in Canada.


CJ [00:25:15] Yeah, tell me about it. No surprise there. That’s true.


Chris [00:25:18] I also love the sound of the dinosaur fossils, and Drumheller and the Badlands must be such a great place to visit. What was your favorite fact?


CJ [00:25:26] I think my favorite fact was that the official bird of Alberta is the great horned owl. I did not know that. And also I thought, you know, B.C. having the largest number of vegetarians and vegans, definitely representative of the healthy style of living here. Maple syrup is vegan, you know.


Chris [00:25:46] Absolutely. Well, if any of our listeners would like to watch the rest of that CELPIP Live episode and learn even more interesting Canadian factoids, we’ll put the link in the episode in the show notes.


CJ [00:25:58] Yeah. And I guess that’s it for our Canadian trivia episode.


Chris [00:26:02] Actually, C.J., I have just one last question for you.


CJ [00:26:05] Oh, really? OK, go for it.


Chris [00:26:08] To really put you on the spot: including Canada, how many countries is CELPIP in so far?


CJ [00:26:16] OK, I know this one. It’s eight countries with over 70 testing locations so far, but we’re expanding. So who knows, listener? By the time you listen to this, we might have even more. Actually, I think when you wrote this episode, Chris, we were only in seven countries, so things are happening.


Chris [00:26:35] Huh, yeah, apparently. Of course, I couldn’t catch you out on your CELPIP knowledge either.


CJ [00:26:41] Nope, you’ll have to try harder than that. So what’s on for next week’s pod?


Chris [00:26:46] Next week, we’re going to talk to our resident CELPIP expert and frequent webinar presenter Meaghan about using vocabulary on the CELPIP Test. We’ll talk about what the raters are looking for and how best to build your vocabulary in preparation for the test.


CJ [00:27:01] Oh, that sounds great. It’s always nice to have Meaghan on the show. Well, I think we’re out of trivia questions for each other. So again, thank you and we’ll see you next week.


Chris [00:27:10] Bye.


CJ [00:27:10] Bye, everyone.

When I took CELPIP, I found it was like speaking English in real life. You speak every day with your boss and with your friends, and the CELPIP Test represents those every-day, real-life language situations.
- Rafaela B., CELPIP Test Taker
I had taken other English language proficiency before, and CELPIP was more relatable to me. All of the questions were situations I was familiar with from daily life, and were like conversations I had experienced personally.
- Chrisna D., CELPIP Test Taker