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 and have competed in the past.[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]


The 2014 SBOC finals took place on 11 May 2014 at the Eaton Chelsea in Toronto. 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] This year's competition also marks the opening of three new regional chapters; the Aga Khan Education Board, Khlasa School of British Columbia, and the Toronto Community Housing chapter.[6]

Rogers TV Spelling Bee of Canada 28th Championship had its finals on Sunday May 3, 2015 at The Ismaili Centre - Social Hall, 49 Wynford Dr., Toronto.[7] 91 contestants competed in the finals. New additions to this year's regional competitions include; Toronto Bayview and Sheppard's YMCA, British Columbia's IWE Learning Centre and the Cultural Youth Initiative in Edmonton.[8]

Rogers TV Spelling Bee of Canada 29th Championship finals were held on Sunday May 15, 2016 at the Ismaili Centre again.[9] 93 participants from the 31 regional competitions competed in this year's finals. New additions to this year's regional competitions include a First Nation's chapter from Saskatchewan, and a new chapter from British Columbia – showing the increasing popularity in the spelling bee.[10]

List of Winners[edit]

1st place 2nd place 3rd place
2004 Junior Varjitt Jeeva[citation needed] Keerthana Ravigulan Samuel Heersink
2004 Senior Dhivian Premakumar[citation needed] Jeffrey Baer Kiruthiha Vimalakanthan
2005 Junior Gazal Grewal[11] Charlie Gray Katie Martin
2005 Senior Jeffrey Baer[12] Kiruthiha Vimalakanthan David Sheps
2006 Junior Katie Martin[citation needed] Jill O'Craven Kim Tran Nguyen
2006 Senior Leslie Newcombe[13] Angus Benderavage Sarah Bowers
2007 Primary David Chan[14] Laura Newcombe Veronica Penny[15]
2007 Junior Katie Martin[15] Zuhaer Anzum Maleika Jeewanjee
2007 Intermediate Umayangga Yogalingam[citation needed] Donald Bowins Merany Ganesan
2008 Intermediate Caitlin McLaren[citation needed] Alexander Newcombe Jessica Zung
2009 primary Zakhar Husak[16][17] Zhongtian (Niuniu) Wang[17] Neharika Nair[17]
2009 junior Daniela Kistemaker[18] Janahan Selvanayagam Veronica Penny[15]
2009 intermediate Jessica Zung[18] Alexander Newcombe Ibrahim Tahir
2010 primary Zachary Betts[19] unknown unknown
2010 junior Veronica Penny[15] Anna Lawrence[15] Laura Newcombe[15]
2010 intermediate Ibrahim Tahir Alexander Newcombe unknown
2011 primary Maya Sen Chawla[20] Purva Vyas Daniel Del Rosso
2011 junior Umaiyahl Nageswaran[21] unknown unknown
2011 intermediate Veronica Penny[15] Emma McLaren[15] Laura Newcombe[15]
2012 primary unknown unknown unknown
2012 junior unknown unknown unknown
2012 intermediate David Chan[22] unknown unknown
2013 primary unknown unknown unknown
2013 junior unknown unknown Maya Sen Chawla
2013 intermediate Veronica Penny[citation needed] Umaiyahl Nageswaran[23] Kayley Ting
2014 primary Evangeline Bodhuri[2] unknown unknown
2014 junior Akshay Thambipillai[24] Huzafa Hyde[25] unknown
2014 intermediate Umaiyahl Nageswaran [26] J. Borromeo[27] unknown
2015 primary Prabhgun Suri[28] Stevon Anton[29] Sueventha Ketharan
2015 junior Mehar Kaur Sahota[30] Areez Bhanji Yousra Lakhani
2015 intermediate Ganathyshan Chelliahpillai[31] Shulli Jones Prableen Kaur Sandhu
2016 primary Anushka Yoganathan[32] Victor Sarca Kashyap Prasannaa
2016 junior Prabhgun Suri[32] Mehar Kaur Sahota Areez Bhanji
2016 intermediate Daniel Song[32] Maya Sen Chawla Huzafa Hyde


  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. ^ "MEDIA RELEASE | 84 Spellers Prove They Don't Need Auto-Correct During 27th Annual Ontario Spelling Bee of Canada Championship". us7.campaign-archive1.com. Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  7. ^ "The Rogers TV Spelling Bee of Canada – Ontario Championships". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  8. ^ "Spelling Bee of Canada Host Competitors from Alberta and British Columbia at Ontario Championship for the First Time". us7.campaign-archive1.com. Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  9. ^ "29th Annual Championship Finals". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  10. ^ "Spelling Bee of Canada's Growing Popularity Shows Increased Interest in Childhood Literacy". us7.campaign-archive1.com. Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  11. ^ "CWSF 2010 - Peterborough, Ontario - Project Details - Youth Science". 
  12. ^ "A young man in Jeopardy!". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  13. ^ "Vaughan Food Bank". www.vaughanfoodbank.ca. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  14. ^ "» Bee-autiful performance; Eight-year-old wins provincial spelling title". www.goodnewsblog.com. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i Paris Penny; Veronica Penny. "Steeltown Kids Canspell and Scripps National Spelling Bee". Penny Pages. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  16. ^ Emily Mathieu (25 May 2009). "How do you spell C-A-V-I-A-R?". Toronto Star. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  17. ^ a b c "City kid takes breath, then spells fish eggs". 
  18. ^ a b Hamilton Spelling Bee http://hamiltonspellingbee.now-here-this.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=61&Itemid=71.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ "Zack B Wins the Spelling Bee | Kingston East News". www.kingstoneastnews.ca. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  20. ^ Debora van Brenk (18 May 2011). "Word prodigy wins Spelling Bee of Canada". Canoe News. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  21. ^ "Toronto DSB on Twitter". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  22. ^ Katrina Geenevasen (17 May 2012). "Kingston's Chan is one super speller". Kingston This Week. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ Chris Clay (20 June 2014). "How do you spell victory? C-A-R-V-E-L". muskokaregion.com. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  25. ^ http://www.chathamthisweek.com/2014/06/27/spelling-their-way-to-the-top
  26. ^ [2]
  27. ^ M. Lende (6 June 2014). "Bayview Glen Student at Spelling Bee of Canada 27th Annual Championship Finals". Bayview Glen. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  28. ^ "Winners%202015%20Championships%20-%20Primary | Spelling Bee Of Canada". sboc.holbrookgoodman.com. Retrieved 2016-05-18. 
  29. ^ "Stoney Creek student takes second in national spelling bee". www.hamiltonnews.com. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  30. ^ "Winners%202015%20Championships%20-%20Junior | Spelling Bee Of Canada". sboc.holbrookgoodman.com. Retrieved 2016-05-18. 
  31. ^ "Winners%202015%20Championships%20-%20Intermediate | Spelling Bee Of Canada". sboc.holbrookgoodman.com. Retrieved 2016-05-18. 
  32. ^ a b c "Spelling Bee of Canada". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2016-05-18. 

Further reading[edit]

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