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Thursday, March 05, 2009

ESL Teacher Blog: Toronto Turns 175

As many other places in Canada, Toronto got its name from an aborigional word. Tkaronto meant ‘where there are trees in water’ refering to wooden poles and structures used to catch fish in (today’s) Lake Simcoe about 4500 years ago. Fastforward to the early 18th century, when the settlement built by the French explorers was named fort Toronto. In 1793 the British took over the fort renaming it as York. Finally, in 1834 the original name was reverted to the city.
Anniversaries and celebrations are great ocassions to expose students to historical and cultural backgrounds of the places they live. The media coverage of the topic is extensive and teeming with stories, timelines and picture galleries.
CityNews Part 1 Part 2 presented its readers with a series of photos showing how Toronto’s sites and skyline have changed over the years. What a perfect chance to review Present Perfect! (e.g.: The electric streetcars have replaced the horse-drawn streetcars)
The following vocabulary is worth clarifying/reviewing when analysing the images of the city:
historical plaques
corporate buildings
urban environment
high-rise/low-rise buldings
upscale malls/stores/neighborhoods
undergo renovations
ethnic enclaves
low-income families
social housing
melting pot
the world within a city

More links to explore Toronto: - Toronto historical plaques - photographs of all 69 Toronto’s subway stations along with an essay outlining the project - Toronto neighborhoods
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 10:43 PM
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