• Explore on the water

About Explore

The GP Vanier Explore Program is an integrated outdoor education program that incorporates leadership, learning and outdoor skills. We work hard and we play hard.

The first few months we move through course work at a quick pace, which gives us time for our outdoor experiences. This program requires students to push themselves in many areas in which they may not feel entirely comfortable, but through this experience they will grow.

Explore is a team that relies upon each other. We practice both interdependence and independence. Through amazing outdoor experiences, students will challenge themselves personally, physically and mentally. Working together, they will build memories to last a lifetime.

The Explore program offers 18 credits towards graduation and courses consist of: Physical Education 11, Outdoor Education 11, Pre-Calculus 11, English 11 and Biology 11. (See Course Content page for more detailed course descriptions.)

Twenty years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour.

Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

– Mark Twain

Biology 11

Biology 11 examines a wide variety of organisms with respect to the following themes: Unity and Diversity, Evolution and Ecological Relationships.

The major areas covered in this course include: taxonomy; DNA and evolution; microbiology (bacteria and viruses); plant biology (moss and ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms; animal biology (examining the complexity of the major Phyla of animals); and, ecology.

Pre-Calculus 11

This course is designed to provide students with the mathematical understandings and critical thinking skills identified for post-secondary studies in programs like Mathematics, Science, Arts or Humanities.

Topics include: absolute value, radical and rational equations, polynomial factoring, quadratic equations and inequalities, reciprocal functions, trigonometric ratios, sine and cosine laws, sequences and series (arithmetic/geometric). There will also be several hands-on projects and activities to help enhance student understanding of these topics.

English 11

Designed to inspire a deeper examination of language and literature, this course will help students develop a greater understanding of our place in the natural world as well as be introduced to other cultural viewpoints.

Units to be covered include: writing – paragraph development; journaling; peer editing; novel/literature studies using Lord of the Flies (Golding) and Julius Caesar (Shakespeare); short stories – to develop reading comprehension, written responses and critical thinking; and poetry – emphasizing form, theme and literary devices.

Outdoor Education 11

This course will work in conjunction with the Outdoor Pursuits of Physical Education 11 to prepare students for positive experiences in the outdoors. The well-prepared outdoor enthusiast is better able to cope with unpleasant situations that can occur in the outdoors.
Outdoor Education 11 will cover the following topics: camp comfort; camp food; navigation; survival; trip preparation; teamwork; journaling.

PE 11 Outdoor Pursuits

In addition to various games and physical activities, community hours have always been an important aspect of the Physical Education program at G.P. Vanier. As such students are expected to participate in a certain amount of volunteerism.

PE 11 Outdoor Pursuits – 10 hours of community work are expected which must be completed during the 5 months of the course (this is the same for all PE 11/12 courses)

Outdoor Recreation 11 – 20 hours of community work are expected. 10 hours must be Explore related and only Explore-related hours are accepted from first semester. All Explore students are expected to participate in the running of the Garage Sale in the first weekend of May.

The registration process

  1. Print an application.
  2. Complete your application. Have your references write about you directly onto your application. Have your parent(s) read and sign the application. Staple a cheque to it.
  3. Submit your application at Vanier. Round 1 applications must be received by the end of March. You will be contacted for an interview.
  4. Show up for your interview.
  5. Round 2 — get those late applications in and arrange an interview. We fill many positions in round 1 but some seats are still available for latecomers.
  6. Stay positive and keep working hard whether you get into Explore or not. We do keep a wait list.

Talk to us if you want to be in Explore but have concerns. We may have a way around something you think is a huge problem!

Explore Application Form

The itineraries and packing lists are based on past trips and may be subject to change. Another version will be emailed to parents/families prior to each trip. ​

Crystal Gaudry

With the Explore program since 2015, Ms. Gaudry teaches Math. When she isn’t busy reducing fractions, Crystal can be found doing tarot card readings and pruning her bonzai trees.


Dave Miller

Mr. Miller joined the program in 2017 and teaches English, PE and Outdoor Ed. A lifelong outdoor enthusiast, Miller is happy to bring his tie-dye skills and love of puppetry to the Explore team.


Grayson “Gerald” Pettigrew

Everyone needs a biologist on hand and Mr. Pettigrew is ours. He also teaches Outdoor Ed and PE. Since 2009, Grayson has been sharing his enthusiasm for fungi and invertebrates to anyone who will listen. Away from the Explore classroom, he loves nothing more than a soothing cup of chamomile while listening to jazz after some hot yoga.