Reading ESL stories and readings in English for ESL learners

Ontario

ontario map
  • population: 13.2 million
  • size: 1,076,395 square kilometres
  • capital city: Toronto
  • largest city: Toronto
  • Ontario joined Canada in 1867.
  • provincial bird: Great Northern Loon
  • provincial tree: Eastern White Pine
  • provincial flower: White Trillium

Honest Ed's

The northeast corner of Honest Ed's store at the corner of Bloor and Bathurst streets in Toronto.
   

Honest Ed's is a famous store in Toronto. Honest Ed was named after Edwin Mirvish, the man who owned the store. The store opened in 1948 at the corner of Bloor St. and Bathurst St. At that time it was one of the first department stores. It was also one of the first stores that was known for its bargains; a store where there were low prices and good deals.

The outside of the store is decorated with large signs. Some of the signs are painted with humorous sayings. The large signs with the words "Honest Ed's" are made with 23,000 (twenty three thousand)light bulbs.

The walls on the inside of the store are decorated with hundreds of pictures. There are old movie and theatre posters. There are also photographs of actors and other famous people. Shopping at Honest Ed's can be an interesting experience! You can buy almost anything there!

After 67 years, the store is still at the corner of Bloor and Bathurst streets. It is bigger than it used to be. The store is in two buildings. A walkway over an alley joins the two buildings. The property was sold in 2013 to a developer but the store will remain open until the end of December 2016.

 

 

 

Vocabulary help:

More vocabulary?  Click on the icon that looks like a book, to the left

Comprehension Check:

Did you understand the story? Are these sentences true?

1. Honest Ed's was one of the first department stores. Yes or no?

2. Honest Ed's closed in 2013. Yes or no?

3. The prices are expensive at Honest Ed's. Yes or no?

4. There are many pictures of famous people on the walls of Honest Ed's. Yes or no?

5. Honest Ed's only sells clothes and shoes.

Fill in the Blanks:

6. Honest Ed's opened in 1948. After 67 years, it is __________ at the corner of Bloor and Bathurst streets in Toronto.

7. This store is famous for its ______ prices.

8. Honest Ed's was sold _____ a developer.

9. It was one of the __________ department stores.

10. The store will stay open until the _____ ______ December 2016.

11. The outside walls are decorated with large signs. The _______ walls are covered with photographs and pictures.

>> Answers
big nickel
   

The Big Nickel

In Canada the nickel is a coin that is worth five cents. If you have twenty nickels then you have a dollar. The nickel looks round but it actually has twelve sides. The coin is called a nickel because in the past they were made from nickel. Nickel is a grey metal that is mined from under the ground. One of the largest nickel mines is near Sudbury, a city in nothern Ontario. The largest nickel in Canada is 9 metres tall and it stands at a nickel mine near Sudbury.

 

 

 

Vocabulary help:

More vocabulary?  Click on the icon that looks like a book, to the left

Comprehension Check:

Did you understand the story? Are these sentences true?

1. A nickel is worth ten cents. Yes or no?

2. The nickel has ten sides. Yes or no?

3. Nickel is a grey metal. Yes or no?

4. Sudbury is a city in Ontario. Yes or no?

>> Answers
niagara falls

 

Niagara Falls

About 12 million tourists visit Niagara Falls each year. Most people go to see the waterfalls but sixteen people have gone to Niagara Falls to do something different. They have tried to go over the falls in the water. They have gone over the falls in wooden barrels, in steel barrels or in things that look like big barrels. Other people have tried going over the falls in boats, kayaks and jetskis with parachutes. Some of these people survived the 50 metre fall but some of them died. Two people have gone over the falls twice and survived both times. Since 1961 it has been illegal to try to go over the falls. If you survive the fall, you will be fined!

Niagara Falls is on the Niagara River. The Niagara River flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. It is the border between Ontario and New York state (USA). Niagara Falls is actually three waterfalls.  The largest waterfall, Horseshoe Falls, is on the Ontario side of the river. It is 790 m wide. On the American side are the two smaller waterfalls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.

 

 

Vocabulary help:

  • barrel (noun) - a large round container with a flat top and bottom that is used to keep liquids. Barrels are often made of wood.
  • border (noun) - the line between two countries or other areas that have a government.
  • bridal (adjective) - relating to a wedding or bride.
  • fined (verb) past tense of to fine - to charge someone an amount of money as punishment for breaking a rule or law.
  • flow (verb) - to move in a smooth, steady stream.
  • illegal (adjective) - against the law or rules.
  • jetski (noun) - or jet ski - a small motorized vehicle for one person that looks like a scooter but it used on water
  • kayak (noun) - a boat, used by the Inuit people, that is slim with a light frame and is pointed at both ends. Kayaks are covered with a waterproof skin that may be pulled tight around the waist of the person inside. a boat that looks like this and is used in sports and for fun.
  • parachute (noun) - a large device made of strong, thin cloth that opens up like an umbrella. A parachute slows the fall of a person who jumps from an airplane. It can also be used in the same way for something that is dropped from an airplane.
  • sixteen = 16
  • steel (noun) - a hard, strong metal made by mixing iron and another metal. It is used to make machines, cars, tools, and many other things.
  • survive (verb) - to continue to live after something very dangerous has happened.
  • tourist (noun) - a person who is traveling for pleasure.
  • twice (adverb) - two times
  • veil (noun) - a thin piece of cloth worn over the head, shoulders, and face. A veil is used as a decoration, or to hide a person's face.
  • waterfall (noun) - a stream of water that falls from a higher place; cascade
  • wooden (adjective) - made of wood

More vocabulary?  Click on the icon that looks like a book, to the left

Comprehension Check:

Did you understand the story? Are these sentences true?

1. The American Falls is bigger than Horseshoe Falls. Yes or no?

2. It is illegal to try to go over the falls. Yes or no?

3. Sixteen people have tried to go over the falls but no one has survived. Yes or no?

4. Niagara Falls is between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Yes or no?


Fill in the Blanks:

5. Some people tried to go over the falls in ___________ barrels and others tried using steel barrels.

6. The Niagara River is the _______________ between Ontario and New York state.

7. About 12 _______________ people visit Niagara Falls each year.

8. ________________ Falls is in Ontario.

9. _______________ people have tried to go over the falls.

10. If you survive going over the falls you will have to pay a ____________ because it is illegal to try to go over the falls.

11. Two people have survived going over the falls ___________.

>> Answers

Trilliums in the spring.


The Trillium - Ontario's Flower

The trillium is the provincial flower of Ontario. You can only see these flowers for a few weeks in the spring when they bloom in some of the forests and wooded areas of Ontario. The trillium flower has three white petals. The petals become light pink as the flower gets older. The shape of the trillium flower is found in the symbol that the Ontario government uses on documents like OHIP cards and drivers licences.

Vocabulary help:

More vocabulary?  Click on the icon that looks like a book, to the left

Comprehension Check:

Did you understand the story? Are these sentences true?

1. The trillium flower has three white petals. Yes or no?

2. The petals become yellow as the flower gets older. Yes or no?

3. Trilliums bloom in some Ontario forests. Yes or no?

4. The trillium is the provincial flower of Ontario. Yes or no?

>> Answers

Answers:


Honest Ed's

1. yes, 2. no, 3. no, 4. yes, 5. no,

6. still, 7. low, 8. to, 9. first, 10. end of, 11. inside,

Back ^


The Big Nickel

1. no, 2. no, 3. yes, 4. yes

Back ^


Niagara Falls

1. no, 2. yes, 3. no, 4. yes

5. wooden, 6. border, 7. million, 8. Horseshoe, 9. sixteen, 10. fine, 11. twice

Back ^


The Trillium - Ontario's Flower

1. yes, 2. no, 3. yes, 4. yes

Back to the story