Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 8 - The Voyage Home

Breakfast call was early for the final day, 7:15am, since we needed to take all our luggage down and try to beat the rush for the elevators before many of the other departing groups got ready to go. Everyone (well, nearly everyone, not that we want to single out Calvin or anything) had packed up the night before, and so after the luggage and projects went down, it was off to breakfast. Then there was some time to pass talking outside (sun! warmth!), and also a few last games of foosball in the lounge, loosely organized into a "championship" by Adrian, though I don't think anyone remembers who won.


Lounging around

Our bus arrived and we loaded as soon as the Niagara team was on board, since the bus will head down to there after the Hamilton drop-off. A few last-minute packing challenges since the bus they sent was a smaller one, with less luggage space than the one we arrived with. Some careful arranging of the baggage by the CWSF volunteers and we were soon ready to go.

Waiting to load the bus 99 bottles countdown

Not much traffic, so the trip was quick, with only an occasional "bottles of beer on the wall" song towards the end... then arrival at the Dofasco parking lot, with a much sunnier welcome than when we left. Oh, and bagpipes too! (Well, at least the practice session of a drum and bagpipe marching band.)

In no time the kids were off the bus, some happy welcomes by families and some sad goodbyes to new friends, and then we all went off in our different directions for the long weekend. (I was too busy saying my own goodbyes to take pictures!)

The Final Words for 2011...

Thank you to everyone following the blog and keeping up with the progress of these great kids. And there are lots of other thanks - the Canada Wide Science Fair Host Committee and organizers, who kept people moving even with the challenges of being in such a big city, and worked hard on the many activities for everybody. Thanks also to the very many BASEF volunteers that work hard all year to make our regional fair and the trips to Canada-Wide possible. Thanks to the BASEF sponsors that making sending these projects possible. Thanks to all the Finalists from all over Canada that helped to make this week memorable - over 500 smart, talented, respectful, and enthusiastic students from every part of the country.

And from me (George) a thank you to my fellow "Delegates", Cathy, Allison, and Dan, who did an absolutely great job in keeping things for our team moving along, and even letting me miss a meeting or two...

Yet (and it should be no suprise) the biggest "Thank You!" goes to the Team BASEF kids - you all made this week fun, memorable, and a great experience. On top of all the hard work and effort everyone put in to get to Canada Wide, you all really showed the respect, talent, humour, and smarts that make you all such amazing young men and women. I was priveledged to be able to share this week with you, and I hope to see many of you again!
- George.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 7 - Public Viewing & Packing Up!

This morning started a little earlier than usual because we had to be up and fed by 7:45am to participate in the "Team Ontario" group meeting. Youth Science Ontario sponsors Science-based learning as well as providing support to Regional Science Fairs such as BASEF, and this is their chance to thank their sponsors and get a big "group picture" taken.

Breakfast on the Final full day
Our final "Full Day" Breakfast

After that it was off to the final hours of Public and VIP Viewing. This also gave a chance for parents, the Delegates, and also some others (including BASEF Committee members, as well as teachers) to come and see the great work of our students and the rest of the Fair.

Public Viewing

Unfortunately three hours is not enough to see over 460 projects, though for the students it was the end of a long week when the "Project Viewing is Now Closed" announcement came at noon!

After that was lunch, and into the Project Exhibit Hall one last time for project take-down.

Project Takedown

The take-down process was relatively easy (and always seems to go very much faster than project setup!) Unfortunately we have to store all the projects in our fourth-floor residence rooms, which are sure to create some interesting elevator issues when hundreds of students start to leave on Saturday morning.

But for now, once the projects were packed up, it was time for some free-time fun... The hint of warmth and sun brought out all sorts into the sports fields - many Team BASEF members were drawn to an impromptu soccer game behind the residence, which went on for over an hour until a short rain-burst drove us inside.

Afternoon free time Afternoon free time

Calvin found an unsual game of beachball vollyball that continued maybe a bit too long in the rain...


The fun continued inside as many Team BASEF members gathered in the lounge - some snacking, some foosball, some improvisation on the piano, and some general chillin'. Catharine and Alex in particular made the lounge piano sound good considering it was badly out of tune and many keys no longer worked, including middle C...

In the Lounge In the Lounge

The afternoon went quick, and we soon headed to dinner, which was BBQ hamburgers or hotdogs with a side order of freezies... and best of all, we could finally eat outside in the sun !!!

Sunny on the final afternoon !

After dinner we headed off to some of the "Farewell Festivities", which included music, busking, and an activity-filled carnival.

Alex gets Dunked
Alex in the Dunk Tank - those looking for pictures of me (George) will need to visit facebook or flickr...

The team had lots of fun, and before long it was 11pm and time to wander back for one last sleep before our final early-morning wakeup call. Though we're all tired and running on the last of our energy, there were also a few comments of sadness that these were the final events of the 2011 Canada-Wide Science Fair...

Check back tomorrow for the final blog entry for 2011, as we wrap up and head home.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 6 - Awards Day !!!!

Today started quietly enough - sleeping in until 8:00am, our latest yet! - and the day began with the Secondary School tours. For the most part the tour visitors and the occasional VIP visitor didn't give a lot for the kids to do, though Adam did get an interview by Sun TV at one point... Otherwise it was a rather low-stress morning of talking to other students and having some pictures taken at the projects.

Lunch was "grab and go" sandwiches, since we had to get back to change into our spiffy clothes for the Awards Ceremony. Shortly after 1pm it was on to the buses and on the way to Roy Thompson Hall...




Roy Thompson Hall certainly gave the Awards Ceremony a touch of class, and it was very well done, with a brief musical intermission by Canadian singer Suzie McNeil. Then it was on to the Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal Awards...

Bronze Medal for Nick and Adam!

Bronze Medal for Gaven !

Silver Medal for Patrick !

Gold Medal for Calvin !

An excellent showing by Team BASEF, though there is no doubt that this year our projects were all terrific and any of them could have been the winners tonight. Congratulations for all of Team BASEF and the excellent work that everyone has done on their projects and their efforts at Canada-Wide!

Canada-Wide 2011 Gold Medal Winners

Once the Awards Ceremony was complete, there was a bit of time to visit with relatives and others, and then off to the Awards Banquet ! The food was great (and very fancy)... top-notch treatment for some top-notch students!


After the Banquet it was time for the Awards dance. Some of the Team was a bit tired from the day (and week's) events, and so called it quits a bit early, though many stayed until the very end after 11pm.


But in the end everyone got back and off to bed, another Canada-wide awards day complete.

Great work by everyone on Team BASEF !!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 5 - Toronto Tours and Downtown

Today was our early rising day, ready to catch the buses by 7:30am to take us on our various Toronto Tours.

Our itinerary took us to the Finch Subway station, to catch the subway train to Union station - yes, hundreds of Science Fair students all catching the subway at the same time. Most native Toronto riders managed to ignore us, though some seemed a bit startled that we would take up all the space on their transit as we came through - at rush hour!


Subway! Subway!

From Union Station we took the Skywalk to the CN Tower, and then up the tower... and into the clouds!

CN Tower

Unfortunately the view was made somewhat unspectacular by the foggy, cloudy and rainy weather, which was particularly disappointing for teams that have come from far and wide to Toronto... but even the weather did not dampen the spirits of these kids.

CN Tower

After the CN Tower, it was a walk to Harbourfront, where we had a quick bite to eat at a Subway sub shop (which managed to very efficiently handle an order for 20 subs that unexpectedly walked in off the street). We had some free time available at Harbourfront, and some activities were were improvised by the BASEF Team - including hill-rolling, boardwalk surfing, and a large game of catch.

Free Time

By mid-afternoon we boarded the subway again, in slightly smaller groups, and headed off to the Royal Ontario Museum. A few hours of browsing through the exhibits were available, and the team headed off in all different directions depending upon their interests.


After the ROM we popped out for one last, short subway ride, to Dundas Square, where we were "set free" for our night-on-the-town dinner. Chaperone Cathy had made reservations at the "Mr Green Jeans" restaurant, which came recommended by many. The food and service were very good, and the team seemed very satisfied with the choice!


After dinner we had some more free time, which we used in the Eaton Centre - primarily attacking the Apple Store.

Eaton Centre

After that it was onto buses, and back to the Campus, and a very tired team was ready for some well deserved rest!

Thursday is Secondary School tours in the morning, and then the highly anticipated Awards Show in the Afternoon!!!

Good Luck Team BASEF!

You can also check out more pictures on either:

- the Team BASEF Facebook Page
- The BASEF CWSF 2011 Flickr Photo Set

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 4 - Judging Day!

The big day has arrived - judging day! Some of the team were practising their presentations and looking over their work last night, and there were a few signs of nervousness, but Team BASEF were certainly showing their "pro" attitude and were all ready to roll in the morning.

Ready to head to Judging

Heading to judging! Looking sharp!

Dressed to impress, the team arrived at the Project Exhibit hall by 8:30am, and shortly after the judging began. Most of the kids had almost ten (or more!) judges, both the regular "merit" judges and some special awards judges as well. Some minor worries were reported (judges that didn't seem to understand or didn't ask a lot of questions), but the Canada-Wide judging system is meant to assure that such issues are worked out in the "consensus" meeting that the judges hold after the interviews.

After a 3 1/2 hour morning judging session, the kids got a one hour lunch break and then back for the 4 hour afternoon session. Until at 5:00pm the announcement was made, Judging Day officially over, and the kids were let loose.

Release the Finalists!

After changing and dinner break, we regrouped to get on board busses and off to the Ontario Science Centre.

Heading to the busses

A couple of hours of "free roaming" time kept most of the kids occupied, there was lots to see (though some of the rooms were a bit hidden).

Science Centre visit Science Centre visit

Science Centre visit

Shortly after 9:00pm it was back on to the busses and back to the Residence.

More pictures from the Science Centre on our TeamBASEF Facebook Page.

Tomorrow is the "On the Town" day, with an early start (must be ready for breakfast at 6:45am!). It's going to be another busy day tomorrow, but you can also feel the relaxation in the air .... judging is over!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 3 - Elementary Tours & "Science Chase"

A smooth start to the first morning in the project exhibit hall, everyone had a nice leisurely breakfast and off to the projects for the first tour groups, which was a morning of Elementary School students. There was even time for a morning "warm up"...
Morning Warmup

For most of Team BASEF the Elementary students did not provide much in the way of interesting questions, though some used the time to practise and look over their notes in prepartion for judging tomorrow.

After lunch began the "Science Chase" set of events, which began in a dramatic fasion with a staged "kidnapping" from the cafeteria. The projects and activities that followed were a mix of things with different students going to different tasks, including "crime scene" science and, um, making windmills...

Windmill project

... though some of the activities did stretch a little long...


Dinner received generally favorable reviews (steak and mash potatoes or vegatable lasagne), and after dinner there was a short team meeting to discuss judging and a couple of details.

Team Meeting

After that, another evening of free time. Which for Calvin is always a reason to bring out the juggling clubs and balls...

Calvin juggling Evening free time

A talent show was held in the student centre, with some excellent performances by many fair participants (ranging from piano to musical theatre to rap to frog calls ... yes, frog calls). Unfortunately the sign-up sheets filled up quickly, so BASEF students hoping to participate were unable to get a spot, combined with the fact that lack of advance notice left some of our very (very!) talented group without their music and/or instruments.

Yet for most of the team, tonight was an early night, back to the rooms to practice their presentations and brush up on last minute details, before turning in for an early night.

(In the darkness of the hallways it was already possible to see the scurrying of judges in the shadows, as they finished their orientation meeting and went to take an advance look at the projects while the students were not there...)

Tomorrow .... Judging Day! Good Luck Team BASEF!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 2 - Project Setup and Opening Ceremonies

The team was up and on the way to breakfast shortly after 7:30, and in fact we were all done eating long before the Orientation meeting was to start at 9:00am. So we took a bit of a stroll around the Cafeteria area, and Dan showed the team the Tim Horton's he found earlier... not sure this was an impressive spot to visit, but the rain outside kept us from wandering too far.

Killing time...

Orientation welcomed us all to the 2011 fair and covered some of the basics, and soon we were off to the exhibit hall for Project Setup. Setup proceeded with very few issues - a broken abstract stand and an unfortunately placed spelling error were the most serious, and easily corrected.

Project Setup Project Setup Project Setup

Soon we were off to lunch, and then the students had an hour to spend in the exhibit hall while the adult delegates had a briefing, which I (George) managed to miss with a feeble excuse of helping fix stuff.

Once that was done, we were back to the residence to change and then off to the Opening Ceremonies Banquet - after the huge line for the busses, that is.

Waiting for the bus

The Banquet was very nice - good food, and an interesting 50th-anniversary retrospective of the Canada-Wide Science Fair. Oh, and dancers, too.

Opening Banquet

After we got back from dinner (this time we beat the lineup for the busses!), a bit more free time - some more battles with the Evil Ball, some juggling, some and some XBox Kinect (which I do not have photos for yet).

Evening Day 2

Then off to bed, though many were watching the end of the Vancouver Hockey Game first...

Monday will bring the first school tours, and chance for everyone to sharpen their presentations before Judging on Tuesday.

For more pictures check out our Facebook page and also the Flickr photo stream.