Views and Visions: Canadians clash Part 1

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. face off / feɪs ɔf / (phrasal v.) – to fight or compete with someone

    The two boxers are going to face off for the first time tonight.

  2. hand-to-hand combat / ˈhænd təˈhænd ˈkɒm bæt / (n.) – a fight where the people involved are close enough to touch each other

    We learned techniques for hand-to-hand combat.

  3. tune in / tun ɪn / (phrasal v.) – to watch a show on television or listen to a broadcast on the radio

    Over five million people tuned in to the season finale.

  4. rivalry / ˈraɪ vəl ri / (n.) – a situation in which people or organizations are competing with one another

    The rivalry between the two fast-food restaurants has been going on for decades.

  5. date back to (time) / deɪt bæk tʊ / (phrasal v.) – to have begun or have been made at a particular time in the past

    This family recipe dates back to the 1940s.


Read the text below.

You may not have heard about it on the news, but Canada has just been through an intense fight.

Representatives from the English and French parts of the country faced off in May, exchanging shots and hits and even engaging in hand-to-hand combat.

Casualties were limited to minor injuries, but all were left with bumps and bruises and those watching the fighting from home are still recovering from the intense experience.

In the end, the French side won thanks to strong defending by veterans Carey Price and Shea Weber and a timely offensive push from Brendan Gallagher.

Thankfully, I’m not talking about anything more serious than a series of games of ice hockey, Canada’s most popular sport. But it would be difficult to find a Canadian who wasn’t affected in some way when the Montreal Canadiens played the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs for the first time since 1979. Back then, the final game, a 3-1 Montreal victory that eliminated the Leafs, saw an estimated 6 million Canadians tune in for the majority of the game. That’s almost 16% of the entire country.

The rivalry between Canada’s two most famous teams is almost as old as the sport of hockey and dates back to 1917. Together they’ve won 37 Stanley Cup championships, although as any good Montreal fan would tell you, the Canadiens have won 24 compared to the Leafs’ 13 and Toronto hasn’t won a championship since 1967.

What makes this rivalry special is not just the hockey itself, but also the rivalry between the two cities and languages. (Joel Tansey)

To be continued…

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Toronto and Montreal have a strong rivalry. What cities/regions would you consider to be rivals in your country? How far does that rivalry go back, and what do you think is the cause? Discuss.
  • The author says that the players were left with bumps and bruises, and those watching the fighting from home are still recovering from the intense experience. Some people feel that sports act as a substitute for war. Do you agree? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t won a championship since 1967. Have any popular sports teams in your country also gone decades without winning a championship? Do you think a team’s winning/losing record is a good reason to like or dislike them? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Almost 16% of Canada tuned in for the majority of the 1979 final game. What kind of TV events are most popular in your country (ex. the Olympics, the season finale of a popular show)? Do you like to watch those events on TV? Why or why not? Discuss.