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2017 QAHN Heritage Essay Contest Winners!

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--July 23, 2017.

This annual contest is open to all elementary-level students in grades 4, 5 and 6, attending English-language schools in the province of Quebec.

FIRST PRIZE

Luca Valiante
Grade 6, Gardenview Elementary School, Saint-Laurent, Qc.
Title: "The Festival Sant'Anna"

For over 50 years in Montreal, the Italian festival of Sant'Anna takes place every year on the last Sunday of August. This festival is also called La Sagra del Grano, which means the wheat festival.

On July 26, 1805, Sant'Anna saved the city Jelsi, in Campobasso, Italy, from total destruction during an earthquake. From that day on, every year on that day they honour her by organizing this festival. This festival is celebrated sll over the world, for example Montreal, Buenos Aires, the USA, Australia, etc.

In Montreal, it takes place in a neighbourhood of Ahuntsic, and begins with a special mass honouring her at Saint-Simon Church. It is followed by a long procession of many carts covered in wheat called tragile. This process begins months before the festival. The wheat is harvested, cleaned and worked. The wheat is worked and glued onto different structures and designs. This takes many hours of hard work, preparation and volunteers. This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation.

During the festival, there are many things to do, like enjoying different foods, watching a soccer game, listening to live music, and watching spectacular fireworks. Also, there are many volunteers to make it a great success, such as help serving the food, like sausage sandwiches, drinks, popcorn, cotton candy and ice cream.

Every year, rain or shine, this tradition of honouring Sant'Anna brings friends and family together.

*****

SECOND PRIZE

Abdulhameed Asif
Grade 6, Gardenview Elementary School, Saint-Laurent, Qc.
Title: "Saint-Laurent and My Celebration"

Saint-Laurent is the place I am groing up in. It is one of the most diverse places I know. There are mosques, churches, synagogues, temples and shrines, and many other places of worship I'm sure I haven't heard of. As I am in Saint-Laurent, I am privileged to go to ICQ mosque, the oldest mosque in Quebec!

Because I'm a Muslim I celebrate Eid. There are two Eids, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. Both are the same, except Ein ul-Fitr is three days. Eid ul-Fitr celebrates the end of Ramadan, but Eid ul-Adha commemorates the prophet Abraham and celebrates hajj. Eid takes place on different days from year to year, because Muslims follow the lunar calendar. It is an important day in Saint-Laurent because there is a large number of Muslims, and the mosque has an important role to make Muslims feel at home.

On that special day, we go to the ICQ mosque for Eid prayers, and to thank God for the blessings He has bestowed on us. Thousands of people come. There are so many people, and not enough room, that the mosque has two prayer times, one at 8:00 a.m., and another at 9:00 a.m. The mosque also organizes an Eid feast, where they cook delicious food for everyone to enjoy!

I am glad to live in such a diverse city, as it makes life more interesting.

*****

THIRD PRIZE

Zoe Gabrial
Grade 6, Gardenview Elementary School, Saint-Laurent, Qc.
Title: "Montreal's Ice Storm"

On January 4, 1998, a simple storm of ice and snow started, but didn't stop until six days later. The storm caused many problems to all Montrealers. It was one of the largest natural disasters in Canadian history!

During the time of the ice storm, over 1,000 of the electric transmission towers fell. Most people had no electricity for many weeks. It was hard to cook and keep food cold because ovens and fridges had no power. There was also no light and no heating in the houses. People used candles to keep warm and cook food.

Outside there were no cars or no buses. All the trees had layers of ice on them. All the bridges around Montreal were closed. The streets were so icy that the mailman couldn't deliver the mail. My aunt was getting married in February and she had to give the wedding invitations to her guests by going door to door!

During the ice storm, many people got sick because it was so cold. In Quebec, 25 people died during the storm. The total cost of the ice storm was 5.4 billion dollars.

My parents lived through the ice storm and they told me all about it. I can't imagine what it must have been like to have no cars, no electricity, no heat, and no lights. It would have been an interesting experience for me to live through, but I'm happy that I didn't have to.

*****

HONOURABLE MENTION

Caitlyn Mcdonald
Grade 5, Greater Gatineau Elementary School, Gatineau, Qc.
Title: "Philemon Wright"

Did you know that Philemon Wright High School has a special meaning to its name? Philemon Wright High School was named after a man named Philemon Wright who was the founder of Hull. Mr. Wright was raised as a farmer in a small village in Boston. When he was a kid he was only a boy with big dreams, however he grew to be well known throughout Canada.

When Philemon was 16 years old he quit farming and was thrust into service for two years with the rebel forces. Then when he turned 18 years old on September 3rd Philemon Wright went off and fought many battles including The Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775

Thirteen years later on May 16th 1782 Wright got married to Abigail Wyman. Abigail and Philemon then had nine children.

After all nine children were born Philemon decided that Woburn was too overpopulated to continue living there. So Wright went to find a new place to live in Ottawa valley. Wright went and returned a couple times until he felt the best location for a new settlement was next to Chaudière Falls. Philemon Wright chose to be next to Chaudière F because he found acres of fresh soil which was an advantage to growing crops.

Philemon retired to another farm named Onslow Township which is now the province of Quebec. He then died a happy man on June 3rd 1839. Wright died a great leader and role model.

*****

HONOURABLE MENTION

Emilia Foltyn
Grade 6, Gardenview Elementary School, Saint-Laurent, Qc.
Title: "Our Traditional Home"

After World War II, my Grandfather came to Canada from Poland in 1948. He decided to build a summer home. However, this took a long time, as he did not have much money at the time.

To build the house, he first hired a contractor to dig the main frame of the building. When that was done, my Grandfather made the frame of the house with a few friends of his. It took a whole year to build the walls and roof. But the inside took more than 10 years!

For the walls, my Grandfather hired a brick layer. However, he "tested" the fireplace's bricks, and by "tested," I mean kicked it. It fell, and he made him redo it because one, it wasn't properly made and two, it didn't fit his design.

Ah, 1966... the year my Grandfather met his future wife and had my mother. However, what little Krystyna didn't know, was that in a few years, my aunt was to be born. And even later on, my uncle! Speaking of family, this County Home became a Summer Family Tradition; my Grandfather would go with his wife and children to the cottage as a break from the city. This Tradition even continues now! I go to the homey cottage with my parents for a few weeks and have fun in the wilderness. And now, we even occasionally go there for other holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, where we are joined by my aunt and uncle.