Students hit high notes on tour
During the summer holidays, Somerset Primary Hand Bell Choir embarked on a fun-filled adventure to Toronto and Niagara Falls in Canada.
Our direct WestJet flight took approximately three hours, flying us high over the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Ontario.
When we arrived in Toronto, our first stop was at the food court of Sherway Gardens Mall for dinner, where we enjoyed McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s and Pink Berry.
We arrived at our dormitory later that evening at St Michael’s College, Elmsley Hall. The boys retreated to their rooms on the third floor, while the girls got settled on the second floor.
Rise and shine! Everyone had an early start, as we had a long drive ahead of us to Niagara Falls. We enjoyed complimentary breakfast on campus, and boarded the bus by 8am.
After about two hours, we arrived at beautiful Niagara Falls. Our first excursion was a simulation ride called Niagara’s Fury, where we learnt about the history of the Falls … and got soaking wet! Good thing we were wearing parkas. Next, we went for a walk around the falls, took lots of pictures and were treated to a pizza lunch.
We then performed outdoors at the Oakes Garden Theatre for sightseers and passers-by. We quickly packed up and set off for our next ride on the Whirlpool Aerocar, taking us 250 feet above the racing Niagara river. Finally, we explored the magical Butterfly Conservatory, featuring more than 2,000 colourful tropical butterflies that landed right on our hands … and even on Mr Raynor’s head!
We ended the day with a wonderful dinner at the Rainforest Café, then boarded the coach for our return to Toronto.
On Saturday, we spent the day in downtown Toronto, and got to ride the TTC subway and streetcars.
Our first destination was the CN Tower, the world’s third tallest free-standing structure. We rode an elevator to the very top, where we had a bird’s-eye view of the entire city. Some of us were even brave enough to stand on the glass floor and look wayyyyyy down!
Right next door was Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, where we got to see and touch a wide variety of sea creatures. The best part was playing in the indoor playground!
For dinner, we visited Medieval Times, where we participated in an action-packed show about knights, horsemanship, chivalry and life in the 11th century. The highlight was eating the entire meal with our hands.
On Sunday, we had our second hand bell performance at Church of the Redeemer on Bloor Street. We thoroughly enjoyed listening to their lovely choir and to the sermon on love and acceptance. Two of our students even went up for communion.
We were treated to lunch before we headed to our next stop, the Royal Ontario Museum (the ROM). We spent almost three hours in the museum, learning about rocks and minerals, dinosaurs, medieval times, and so much more. We stopped for ice cream on our way to another church called Calvin Presbyterian. This time, we were not performing, but listening to the incredible vocal performances by the Toronto Children’s Chorus Boys’ Choir and the Grande Prairie Boys’ Choir. They were amazing!
Our third and final hand bell performance was at a primary school called Church Street Public. Their school was a little bigger than ours, with approximately 250 students. They had a special assembly, just for us! We played all our favourite songs, and took turns answering questions about life in Bermuda.
Next, we spent the rest of the day at Canada’s Wonderland. It was the biggest amusement park most of us had ever seen, with more than 200 attractions, including rides, rollercoasters and a water park.
None of us wanted to leave, but as they say, all good things must come to an end.
The Somerset Primary Hand Bell Choir would like to thank the following people for giving us this eye-opening, international experience:
• Mrs Rose-Robinson, thank you for teaching us to play the hand bells, and for organising the trip.
• Mr Osborne, thank you for all your hard work in planning, fundraising and managing the trip.
• The Chaperones: thank you Mr Osborne, Mrs Rose-Robinson, Bishop Jones, Mr Barry, Mrs Walcott, Mr Raynor and Ms Fuhrtz for doing an amazing job of supervising our students overseas.
• Schools Out Tours – Thank you for putting together such an incredible itinerary. You truly offered a first-class experience for our students.
• Claire Harris, thank you for being such a gracious host and phenomenal tour guide. We will miss you!
• Somerset Primary PTA, thank you for all your support. This trip would not have been possible without your contributions and assistance with fund raising initiatives.
• Arch Re-insurance staff.
• Colonial Insurance (Ms Rudell Simons and Mr Damien Pitcher)
• Somerset Primary Trustees, thank you for your generous donation towards our trip. We greatly appreciate it.
• Dr Freddie Evans, Acting Commissioner, thank you for endorsing our international, music tour.