Spelling Bee of Canada

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Not to be confused with the Postmedia Canspell National Spelling Bee, or the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The Spelling Bee of Canada is a charitable, educational spelling bee organization founded by Julie Spence in the Greater Toronto Area in 1987.[1][2] As of 2012 over 46,000 children have participated in the competition.[3]

The SBOC holds an annual spelling competition for children 6–14 years of age. Participants are divided into three age categories: primary, 6–8; junior, 9–11; and intermediate, 12–14.[3][4] 15+ students will become mentors to participants in their region.[5]

Though SBOC operates primarily in Ontario, contestants from other provinces are allowed to register.[2]

The 2014 SBOC finals took place on 11 May 2014 at a downtown Toronto hotel. The regional competition in April 2014 had 3,000 participants, 84 of whom went on to the finals. The championship title comes with over $10,000 in cash prizes.[2]

Julie Spence founded SBOC in order to engage parents and children. Spelling bees were popular in Jamaica where she grew up, and she recalls realizing during the competitions "how much [it] brought people together". She is happy with the growth of SBOC but disappointed by the extremely low number of black participants, and she has encountered many black parents who do not want their children to compete. Veronica Taylor, a Barbadian-born mental health counsellor and the president of SBOC's Hamilton chapter, is also concerned about the lack of black participation, saying that black parents are not encouraging their children but letting them decide if they want to compete. Laurel Broten, Ontario's Minister of Education, praised the SBOC for helping children in the primary, junior and intermediate age ranges improve their vocabulary and public speaking. "As Minister of Education, I understand the importance of the work you do to help youth across Ontario enrich their learning and build self-confidence," she said.[3]

List of provincial winners[edit]

1st place 2nd place 3rd place
2009 primary Zakhar Husak[6] unknown Veronica Penny[7]
2009 junior unknown unknown unknown
2009 intermediate unknown unknown unknown
2010 primary unknown unknown unknown
2010 junior Veronica Penny[7] Anna Lawrence[7] Laura Newcombe[7]
2010 intermediate unknown unknown unknown
2011 primary Maya Sen Chawla[8] unknown unknown
2011 junior unknown unknown unknown
2011 intermediate Veronica Penny[7] Emma McLaren[7] Laura Newcombe[7]
2012 primary unknown unknown unknown
2012 junior unknown unknown unknown
2012 intermediate David Chan[9] unknown unknown
2013 primary unknown unknown unknown
2013 junior unknown unknown unknown
2013 intermediate unknown unknown unknown
2014 primary Evangeline Bodhuri[2] unknown unknown
2014 junior Akshay Thambipillai[10] unknown unknown
2014 intermediate unknown J. Borromeo[11] unknown


  1. ^ Jessica Wynne Lockhart (9 May 2012). "Spelling Bee of Canada finals at Delta Chelsea Hotel". The Grid TO. Retrieved 4 January 2015. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d Taylor Poelman (12 May 2014). "Spelling Bee of Canada champ shares secret to success, looks forward to future in competition". CTV News. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Spelling Bee of Canada marks its 25th anniversary". Share News. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Michael Burton (6 April 2011). "Oakville Spelling Bee Is Back!". oakville.com. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "About Us". Spelling Bee of Canada. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Emily Mathieu (25 May 2009). "How do you spell C-A-V-I-A-R?". Toronto Star. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Paris Penny; Veronica Penny. "Steeltown Kids Canspell and Scripps National Spelling Bee". Penny Pages. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  8. ^ Debora van Brenk (18 May 2011). "Word prodigy wins Spelling Bee of Canada". Canoe News. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Katrina Geenevasen (17 May 2012). "Kingston's Chan is one super speller". Kingston This Week. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Chris Clay (20 June 2014). "How do you spell victory? C-A-R-V-E-L". muskokaregion.com. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  11. ^ M. Lende (6 June 2014). "Bayview Glen Student at Spelling Bee of Canada 27th Annual Championship Finals". Bayview Glen. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]