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HSBC National Public Speaking Competition

  • University of Toronto Schools 371 Bloor Street West Toronto, ON, M5S 2R7 Canada (map)
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HSBC National Public Speaking Competition

Dear OSDU Members, Coaches & Students, 

OSDU is happy to pass on the following invitation to the English-Speaking Union of Canada's HSBC National Public Speaking Competition -- a NON-OSDU EVENT -- on 17 February 2018:

"Dear Colleague,

On behalf of the English Speaking Union of Canada, I am pleased to present to you the 2017- 2018 “HSBC National Public Speaking Competition” to be held on Thursday 17 February in Toronto, Ontario at University of Toronto Schools. Each year, the ESU in London, England hosts the “International Public Speaking Competition”. Canada has been invited to select one competitor for the event which is in its 38th year and will take place May 14-18 2018. You can look at the tournament’s website located at:

There is a tournament handbook which is now online for the 2018 competition and can be accessed here:    data/assets/pdf_file/0017/18062/IPSC_Handbook_2018_final_lowres.pdf

The competition in England requires competitors to deliver a five-minute speech on a given theme. The theme for the prepared heats in the 2018 international competition in England is "Great artists have no country". However, we may not use this theme for our national tournament, but instead must use the theme “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”. Students will deliver a speech on “The best way to predict the future is to invent it” at our national tournament, and, if successful in advancing to the International competition, must deliver a speech on "Great artists have no country" for the prepared heats. This is a rule that all countries must follow. When
writing a speech, speakers may interpret the theme in any way they see fit, but they should not use the theme as their title. In choosing their title, speakers should not be afraid to be provocative, hard-hitting or humorous, as long as their intention is constructive and the speech is not offensive to other parties present. Speakers must avoid speeches that are likely to be perceived as doctrinal or political.

In order to be eligible, students, according to the ESU rules, must be between 16 and 20 years of age, and in full time education, at the time of the competition in England ( i.e. May 13th, 2018 ) and the registration fee will be £180. The judging criteria is not any different from other public speaking events with which we are familiar, and the detailed criteria can be found in the handbook online at the link above. In order to register, please fill out this form.

The qualifying tournament will have two rounds. Each student will deliver his/her five-minute speech twice, to a separate panel of judges. The top five students will then be selected for a final round, and the top student will be selected based solely on the final round’s judging.

The tournament will take place at University of Toronto Schools, 371 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario. If you are travelling from out of town, please contact Grace Nolan at for hotel recommendations.

The tentative schedule for the tournament is:
Registration and Refreshments              4:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Judge’s and Competitor’s Briefing         4:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Round 1                                                    4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Round 2                                                   5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Dinner                                                      6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Finals                                                       7:30 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.
Awards                                                     8:15 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

This public speaking tournament open is open to any school in Canada, and to first year CEGEP students. However, we are placing an initial limit of TWO students per school, as well as a maximum of 30 competitors. We may be able to accommodate more students per school, more local students, etc. depending on registration, and if so will be in touch after the initial registration deadline of 1 February 2018. Each school must provide one judge per two students. Kindly note that there is a rule in place requiring that students not participate in school uniform to maintain anonymity of competitors.

The top student who is selected will receive an ESU Canada travel bursary of $1000, to be used towards the travel costs of competing in the event in England. Please note that this travel bursary is not prize money. It can only be used towards the cost of attendance in England, and will not be paid out until the plane ticket has been purchased, and a copy submitted to ESU Canada. The competitor will also need to pay to the London organizers, the registration fee, which is 180 British Pounds. (this includes accommodation, activities and some meals)

The registration fee for this tournament is $70 per student, payable to “University of Toronto Schools”. The fees will cover refreshments upon arrival, and dinner. The initial deadline for registration is 1 February 2018. Please contact me by email with all details. It is our hope that your school will be able to participate in this prestigious tournament. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Grace Nolan
Phone: 416-926-1326 ext. 1501"

DOWNLOAD FILE: ESU HSBC National Public Speaking Competition Invitation