Postmedia Canspell National Spelling Bee

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"Canadian Spelling Bee" redirects here. The Spelling Bee of Canada is a separate, unaffiliated and non-sanctioned competition.

The Postmedia Canspell National Spelling Bee, formerly called the Canwest Canspell National Spelling Bee, was a spelling bee held annually in Canada since 2005. The bee is affiliated with the United States-based Scripps National Spelling Bee and uses similar rules and word lists, adapted to best suit Canadian usage and spelling. It is organized by the Postmedia Network, though it was previously organized by now bankrupt Canwest Global Communications, parent company of 9 of the regional sponsors. Canwest Canspell ended in 2012.


As of 2011, regional finals are held in 21 Canadian cities from Victoria to St. John's.

The winner in each of the regional finals participated in the national final in Ottawa each April from 2005 to 2010. From 2005 to 2009, the regional winners also qualified for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. whether they won the nationals or not. In 2010, because of the economic downturn and Canwest's bankruptcy, only the winner of the nationals participated in the SNSB. From 2011 onwards, the top 3 spellers, including the national champion, will compete in the SNSB.

The name of the competition was changed subtly in 2009 from "CanWest CanSpell" to "Canwest Canspell", in line with Canwest's elimination of CamelCase spelling from its corporate brand.

In late 2010, the competition was renamed the Postmedia Canspell Spelling Bee as a result of Canwest's bankruptcy in October 2009, where Canwest's assets were sold to Shaw Communications and the Postmedia Network.

Media and the Bee[edit]

When Canwest sponsored the bee, it enjoyed significant coverage from Canwest-owned media outlets. A documentary on the event was produced in 2005, a live broadcast was aired in 2007, and edited versions of the finals were broadcast in 2006 and 2008. These broadcasts were all aired on the Global Television Network. Live webcasts are also featured each year. In 2011, CBC became the new broadcast partner and created a special one-hour primetime feature on the Canadian final called "Spelling Night in Canada". It usually takes place in the last week of March.

All Postmedia daily newspapers participate in the spelling bee, with the exception of The Province in Vancouver, as the company also owns the sponsoring Vancouver Sun. Postmedia's National Post, based in the Toronto area, serves as sponsor for that market. Uniquely, the Hamilton competition was co-sponsored by the National Post and a Canwest-owned TV station, CHCH-TV, and not a local paper such as The Hamilton Spectator. Hamilton does not have a local sponsor beyond 2009, after which CHCH was sold from Canwest to Channel Zero Inc. Hamilton spellers compete at the Toronto National Post spelling bee.

Other newspaper sponsors include the Winnipeg Free Press, The Telegram in St. John's, The Chronicle Herald in Halifax, The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay, and The Guardian in Charlottetown and The Daily News in Kamloops, British Columbia.

The Saturn brand of General Motors was the presenting sponsor for 2005 and 2006. Saturn withdrew in 2007 and was replaced by Canada Post. Other national sponsors have included Air Canada, AIC Limited, Oxford University Press, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and the Lord Elgin Hotel. The current national sponsors are Egg Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Competition statistics[edit]

National champions[edit]

Year Champion Scripps Placement Notes
2005 Finola Hackett 11th place (tied)
  • Canada makes its first appearance in the SNSB
2006 Finola Hackett 2nd place
  • Hackett was the first Canadian to reach the "spell-off" final rounds and was tripped up by 'weltschmerz'.
2007 Soohyun Park 16th place (tied)
  • All 41 national finalists were invited to the SNSB.
  • Park advanced to the semis, but misspelled 'croquette.'
  • The three Canadian spellers remaining, Cody Wang, Anqi Dong and Nate Gartke, advanced to the final round.
  • Gartke finished as the runner-up after misspelling 'coryza.'
2008 Emma Brownlie 46th place (tied)
  • Did not advance to round 4
2009 Laura Newcombe 17th place (tied)
  • Newcombe advanced to the semis and was eliminated in round 5
2010 Laura Newcombe 5th place (tied)
  • Due to the recession, only the winner of the CNSB would represent Canada at the SNSB.
  • Newcombe advanced to the final round, but was eliminated at the beginning of round 7 by misspelling 'confiserie.'
2011 Laura Newcombe 2nd place
  • The top three finalists of the CNSB would represent Canada at the SNSB.
  • Newcombe, in her third and final year at the SNSB, became the third Canadian to finish as the runner-up by misspelling 'sorites.'
  • Veronica Penny also made the finals, tying for 6th place, by misspelling 'rougeot.'
2012 Jennifer Mong 10th place (tied)
  • Same as last year, the top three finalists of the CNSB would represent Canada at the SNSB.
  • Mong advanced to the semis, but was eliminated in round 6 by misspelling 'vellon.'
  • Mignon Tsai also made the semis and was eliminated in round 5 by misspelling 'macropodid', finishing in a tie for 22nd place.


Year Person
2005 Edwin Ho
2006 Jennifer Hurd
2007 Amrit Sampalli
2008 Cody Wang
2009 Anna Lawrence
2010 Scott Xiao
2011 Veronica Penny
2012 Mignon Tsai

Winning words and word runner-up misspelled[edit]

Year Winning Word Runner-Up Misspelled Word
2005 otiosity brucellosis
2006 dghaisa sacaton
2007 hypobulia moiety
2008 hamadryad Croesus
2009 heresimach rechabite
2010 lidar nomancy
2011 mycetophagous hordeolum
2012 vindaloo zanzibari

External links[edit]