Eleventh annual Vancouver Estival Trivia Open
and two mirrors in Ontario: Hamilton and Ottawa
Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Vancouver Estival Trivia Open (VETO) is the nation's longest-running annual quiz bowl tournament. There will be two mirrors in Ontario: one at McMaster University in Hamilton, and the other at the University of Ottawa. This web page will be kept up to date with the most current information.

Also check out the VETO weblog at http://veto.caql.org

July 16:   Updated team rosters and prizes in Vancouver.

July 8:   The deadline for submitting packets to the editor has passed. Updated lists of teams in Vancouver and Hamilton. Included more detailed directions for Vancouver and Hamilton.

June 25:   All packets must be submitted by JUNE 27 to Jerry Vinokurov at either grapesmoker -at- gmail -dot- com or jerry_v -at- brown -dot- edu (with the underscore).

June 15:   VETO will be a centrally-edited tournament. All packets must be submitted by JUNE 27 to an editor who will be announced.
Updated list of teams:   5 in Vancouver, 6 in Hamilton, 5 in Ottawa.
Harbour Centre (SFU downtown) has been confirmed as the Vancouver location.

June 13:   Started the list of teams expected at each site.

In a departure from the "guerrilla" style of VETO in previous years, this time the question packets must be submitted ahead of time to editors who will edit all of the packets. The result should be a higher-quality set of questions than VETOs of years past, thanks to experienced quizbowlers Jerry Vinokurov and Hannah Kirsch. Packets must be submitted to the editors by Saturday, June 27. Send them to Jerry at either grapesmoker -at- gmail -dot- com or jerry_v -at- brown -dot- edu (with the underscore).

VETO will be free of charge at all three sites.

See the CAQL results page for links to full reports on previous VETOs and their mirrors in Ontario. There will be no Trans-Canada Championship Match this year.

Who can play

VETO is an "open" tournament in the sense that we don't exclude anyone because of age, student status, degrees obtained or not obtained, nationality, inability or unwillingness to pay us money, etc.

A team can have any number of players, but no more than four can play at a time. If you don't have a full team of four, we can match you up with other players. Solo teams are OK, too: we'll set the schedule so that other teams will have byes and you won't have to staff more than one room by yourself.


Saturday, July 18, 2009, probably starting at around 9:00 a.m. local time at each site, and ending around 5 p.m.

For quiz bowl tourists, here is how VETO fits into the North American summer weekend quiz calendar:

If you would like to participate in VETO, please notify us by June 27, 2009.


Here are the teams so far. (More are expected!) In this list, if a team is identified by a university, it may mean that its members belong to that university's current quiz bowl team, or it may mean only that its members have some association with that university as either students or alumni or friends.

VANCOUVER teams as of July 14:

  1. FARSIDE (VETO champions in 1999, 2000, 2001):   Peter
  2. Simon Fraser University:   Geoff, Brittany, Rajon, ...
  3. SFU Junta (VETO champions in 2002):   Carlos, Hanson, Mike, ...
  4. University of Washington:   Mike, ...
  5. University of Oregon alumni:   Sean, Phil, Amy, Daniel
  6. B2B minus one B:   Brock, Mischa, Shaun, ...

HAMILTON teams as of July 1:

  1. University of Waterloo A
  2. University of Waterloo B
  3. University of Guelph
  4. University of Toronto A
  5. University of Toronto B
  6. University of Toronto C
  7. University of Toronto D
  8. McMaster University
  9. Jordan Palmer + McMaster
  10. University of Western Ontario

OTTAWA teams as of June 15:

  1. University of Ottawa A:   Aaron, ...
  2. University of Ottawa B:   Ben, ...
  3. Lisgar Collegiate Institute alumni:   Chris, ...
  4. Lisgar Collegiate Institute students
  5. Paul Paquet and Philippe

VANCOUVER location

We will be returning to Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre, where VETO was held in the years 2001 through 2007. This attractive, intelligent, and extremely convenient location is at 515 West Hastings St., directly across the street from the Waterfront SkyTrain station, the SeaBus terminal, and the Harbour Heliport. Meet in room 2520, on the upper concourse.

By road, using Yahoo!'s directions but more realistic (longer) times, Vancouver is about:
3 hours from Seattle;
9 hours from Eugene, Oregon;
18 hours from Berkeley, California;
24 hours from Los Angeles, California, or Las Vegas, Nevada;
39 hours from Tulsa, Oklahoma, or Chicago;
60 hours from Fairbanks.
All-day parking on Saturday runs up to about $5 at lots around Harbour Centre.

Vancouver International Airport is a premier global gateway served by more than 40 airlines with scheduled direct flights from 31 communities in British Columbia, another 33 locations elsewhere in North America, 12 cities in Asia/Pacific, and 3 cities in Europe.

Devotees of Southwest Airlines or JetBlue may prefer to fly to Seattle/Tacoma and then take the Quick Shuttle or rent a car. Non-residents of Canada should have no problem driving an American rental car across the border, but Canadian residents aren't allowed to do this. Also keep in mind that even if it's cheaper to fly to Sea-Tac, if you factor in the time and money you spend on the 3-4 hours ground transportation each way, it may work out to be more worthwhile to take Air Canada or WestJet or another airline directly to Vancouver.

For lunch, you won't even have to leave the building. The Harbour Centre Food Court downstairs contains L'Orange, Sushi Harbour, Curry Express, Harbour Meats & Deli, Bali Thai, Les Crepes Et Voila, Little Japan, Joe Veg, Casablanca, Bronco Belle Texas BBQ, Vana Vietnamese Cuisine, Amazing Wok, Salad Loop, Taco Del Mar, and Quiznos.

See below for other stuff to do in Vancouver, and places to stay.

HAMILTON location

In Hamilton, VETO will be held at McMaster University. The tournament is at 1280 Main St. W, Hamilton, ON (for Mapquesters). Jay says: I'm going to stress right now that teams try their best to enter through the Sterling St. entrance (all teams should be entering Hamilton via the 403, in which case you would take the Aberdeen St. exit, turn left onto Longwood, left onto King St W, and then right onto Sterling St.), go past the kiosk, turn left and park in the Divinity College parking lot. Technically you're not supposed to park there, but I work for McMaster Parking, and I said you can (plus we're not tagging there for bureaucratic reasons). We'll be playing in the student center (MUSC), which is the big yellow building next to the library, that has the rounded face; and we'll be on the 2nd floor in those nice conference rooms we had for ACF. I'd say aim to arrive by 9am, hoping to start by 9:30 (so basically 10). If anyone would like more details or clarifications or anything, please feel free to email me and I'll try to respond within a day or so! Thanks to you all for coming out, and have fun preparing.

McMaster is about 45 minutes' drive from either downtown Toronto or Pearson International airport, which is Canada's busiest.
It's also about an hour's drive from Niagara Falls.

OTTAWA location

In Ottawa, VETO will be held at the University of Ottawa, which is just 1 kilometre from Parliament Hill.


Each team is responsible for a question packet. The tournament will also be staffed by players. We'll play at least a full round-robin, as many rounds as packets from the three sites, likely ending in a site final (which some may consider an unfair format).

At the OTTAWA site, there will be a double round-robin, followed by ACF-style playoffs, meaning:

Games will be conducted according to NAQT rules, except that:

It is to your advantage to print out and bring a copy of the rules. If some discrepancy occurred in a game and you want to protest it, it's a lot easier to convince a judge if you can point at the text that justifies your case, rather than to point into the air and say "I think the rules say..."

Question Packets

Detailed question guidelines are on a separate web page, which includes a section with useful links categorized by subject.

Rounds will be untimed, with 20 tossups played in each. But you will have to write more than 20 tossups and 20 bonuses, because:

So your packet should include (at least): Use the following subject distribution for both tossups and bonuses:
Science, Math, Technology 3 — 4
History 3 — 4
Literature 3 — 4
Geography 2 — 3
Current Events 2 — 3
Fine Arts 1 — 2
Religion, Philosophy, Mythology      1 — 2
Social Science 1 — 2
Popular Culture, Games, Sports 1 — 2
General Knowledge 0 — 3

Canadian content quota:
Of the first 20 tossups, at least 4 must refer to Canadian people, places, things, events, and created works. The same goes for the first 20 bonuses. But overall, don't exceed 50% Canadian content in your packet. Your Canadian questions should also cover diverse subject areas and not be clustered in Geography or Literature, etc.

Tossups should include at least four separate clues. Multiple-choice bonuses should be used sparingly, if at all, and should provide at least four choices.

In order that we can keep to a reasonable schedule, questions must not be too long:

To promote fun and variety, teams are encouraged to bring multimedia questions (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory). These tend to work better as bonuses than as tossups. Every packet must contain at least one multimedia question: It can be as simple as presenting a printout of a picture you found through http://images.google.com and asking a few questions about the picture.

For our further amusement, we encourage rounds with hidden themes. In the past four years, we've had:

Aim for a difficulty level approximating that of Division I NAQT sectionals.

Please do read the separate packet guidelines page, because it offers many helpful tips. If you can't think of what to write about, we have loads of categorized links to websites you can browse to find possible material for questions.

The Stanford archive contains most of the question packets used at VETO in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. You might note that some writers did not follow all of the guidelines. :) We've taken the list of answers that have come up in VETO in 2005 through 2007 and categorized them by subject. Try to write about things that are not on this list.


There are titles to be won by the leading individual scorer: the West Coast Dominatrix of Relevant Knowledge (WC-DORK) in Vancouver, and Nerd of the East (NOTE) in Hamilton.

Anyone may sponsor a prize and select a winner according to any criteria. In previous years, we've had up to 22 prizes awarded to individuals and teams.

Contact us if you're sponsoring a prize that you want listed on this web page. If you want to encourage others to write questions of your favourite type or on your favourite (broadly defined) subject, then announcing a prize here is a good way to do so.

Here is the list so far of prizes in Vancouver:

Award criteria Prize Sponsor
Worst repeat a broken record Peter of FARSIDE
West Coast Dominatrix of Relevant Knowledge handcuffs Peter
worst neg to be announced Sean of Oregon
person travelling farthest from Canada to be announced Peter
best trash question you'll see Hanson of Junta

VANCOUVER: Other stuff to do, and places to stay

Separate studies released in 2008 by the U.K.-based Economist Intelligence Unit and in 2009 by the U.S.-based Mercer Human Resource Consulting both concluded that Vancouver offers the highest quality of life of any city in the entire world (or the world outside Switzerland and Austria, according to Mercer). OK, it may be a great place to live, but what if you're just visiting? In 2008, the Economist Intelligent Unit did an additional study that found that Vancouver is "the best place in the world to go on business". We are not exaggerating; check the links yourself.

This will also be an opportunity for you to look around the city before you return to attend the XXI Olympic Winter Games five months later.

Special events to entice you to come for VETO:

The day before VETO, at noon on Friday, July 17, there will be a ceremony on the roof of Robert C. Brown Hall at Simon Fraser University's Burnaby campus, to celebrate exactly 10 years since the first VETO, which was also the first-ever quiz bowl tournament in western Canada.

Read or listen to the French consul's poetic tribute to Vancouver: Parler de Vancouver, / C'est vancouversifier.

See http://www.tourismvancouver.com for more information about Vancouver, including links to special promotions.

While Vancouver has a reputation for heavy rainfall, it does not rain much in the summer. Average precipitation during July is below that of seven of the 10 largest United States cities (by 2000 census population), the exceptions being the desert or semi-desert cities of Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Diego. And of course, during July, Vancouver has more hours of daylight than any American city outside of Alaska. On VETO day, sunset will occur at 9:09 p.m.

There are quite a few reasonably priced hotels in downtown Vancouver. Try findinghotel.com for looking up accommodation online, but do not be tempted by cheap rates in the East Hastings neighbourhood. This is identified by the V6A postal prefix area, which has the lowest median income in all of Canada.

Another cheap option is a dorm bed at the HI Vancouver Downtown hostel, which we've checked out and found is pretty good as hostels go. It is in a nice neighbourhood in downtown Vancouver.


For questions, etc., contact the appropriate site coordinator. Let us know by June 27 if you'd like to participate!

Updates will be posted on the web page http://caql.org/events/veto09.html which you're looking at right now.
Also check out the VETO weblog at http://veto.caql.org .

"A lot of Imperialist ladies asked me to tea to meet schoolmasters from New Zealand and editors from Vancouver, and that was the dismalest business of all."
- John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps

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