Saturday, 12 May 2012

A Day of Travel

Today was a beautiful day to take off from Vancouver. With forecasts of blue skies and temperatures reaching the mid-20’s, there was a slight trepidation to exchange it for the single digit temperatures and cloudy skies forecast of Charlottetown. 
Westjet passenger ramp at YVR on a beautiful Saturday morning
It was an early start for all of us arriving at YVR for 5:15AM. Everyone arrived on time, but not as bright eyed as they were at the South Fraser Awards Ceremony.  Thanks to all the parents for getting our finalists to the airport on time. In addition to South Fraser’s group of 10, Westjet Flight 586 to Toronto also had 17 finalists and 5 delegates from the Greater Vancouver Regional Fair and 9 finalists and 3 delegates from the Fraser Valley. Check-in went very smoothly with a couple of wickets dedicated to the Science Fair people.  This was a nice touch on Westjet’s behalf. In total we occupied over 30% of the 160 seats. The relatively quiet 4½ hour flight was used by most to catch up on the lack of sleep we all experienced the night before. Nadia was envious that I could sleep solidly throughout the entire flight. 
Team BC: South Fraser: Nick, Wyatt, Sonia, Shivan, Soohyun, Devika, Nadine, and Shelby
View of Vancouver at take off (not really but close enough)
It was warm but the familiar stale mugginess of Toronto makes Charlottetown’s single-digit forecast a pleasant alternative. We arrived at Pearson Airport in Toronto at 2:25 PM, but we needed to move quickly to connect with Westjet Flight 384 for a 3:00 PM departure to Charlottetown. Yikes! We almost left Sonia’s project on Flight 586. I didn’t realize that Sonia had left it as an in-flight check-in.  Thankfully Nadia caught it – she’s been amazing at keeping up with all the logistics. The checklists and memos she sent out were a necessity for packing last night. Today, she even had everyone’s boarding passes printed and ready to go. I don’t know what I’d do without her. We managed to maneuver the group two gates down and boarded the plane without incident. The Boeing 737 was already half filled with Teams Manitoba and Alberta. Thankfully there was still space to stow all our carry-ons and projects in the overhead compartments.  During this last leg of today’s travels, South Fraser’s finalists were  getting to know one another through quiet conversation. 
The real talent behind all the organization!

We touched down in 9°C and overcast Charlottetown at 6:05 PM. The tiny airport had no passenger ramps or gates. However, John A. MacDonald and Anne of Green Gables greeted us with a warm PEI welcome as we passed through the (not so secure) security gates. His assistant had a plate of delicious cookies waiting for us. 
Charlottetown Airport
A not so feminine Anne of Green Gables and the cookie lady
John A. MacDonald
Shelby, Sonia, Nick, and Soohyun on the bus to UPEI
Wyatt, Devika, Shivan, and Nadine on the bus to UPEI
The University of Prince Edward Island was only 10 minutes away by coach. En route, we saw lots of green grass and red soiled farmlands.  We were quickly assigned our sleeping quarters and an allowance was given for dinner this evening. After settling in, the South Fraser group ventured out to a few local establishments in search of good meal.  An attempt was made at Eastside Mario’s, but the Greater Vancouver finalists beat us to it; the servers were setting up for their group of 21 - we would have to wait an hour for service.  We then strolled next door and tugged on Smitty’s door.  It was locked – the sign says they close at 8:00 PM on a Saturday - we really must be in a small town; I haven’t seen limited hours like these in years (at least Metro Vancouver).  In the end, the South Fraser team had a not so spectacular supper at MacDonald’s. It was the only place that could accommodate our hungry appetites at 8:30 PM. 
Aerial of UPEI
Homes en route to UPEI

 The Blanchard Hall Residences at UPEI - it will do
On our way back to campus from dinner, a few of us made a pit-stop at the local Superstore to pick up some snacks and goods to last us through the week.  The rest went ahead to the residences to work on a few last minute items before bed. We skipped the scheduled meet and greet session because many of our finalists were exhausted from the full day of travel.  
Nadine, Devika, and Shelby at the Superstore
Wyatt, Shivan and Nick doing some last minute work
 A wake up knock will be expected for 7:00AM and breakfast at 7:30.


  1. Thanks for the post and pictures. Double thanks to Nadia for remembering Sonia's poster. I can only imagine the panic that would have resulted from her project being left behind in Toronto! I look forward to seeing the group's progress.

  2. Gooo Nadia!! As always such a rockstar! And such wide smiles for getting up sooo early!!