Author: Frédérica Dupuis, Liaison Officer for the 400th anniversary team of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario
Dressing up in period clothing and promoting the French presence in Ontario since its founding? A golden opportunity, and an invitation not to be missed! Every year, the New France Festival, which is held in Old Québec City in August, showcases Francophones from other regions. The spotlight this year was on Francophone Ontario.
Franco-Ontarians and their heritage did not go unnoticed.
“The song in L’écho d’un peuple dedicated to the great Champlain really stood out for me at this year’s festival, and I absolutely loved it,” said Gisèle Bourdeau, President of the SAQ New France Festival. No wonder! There were also numerous performances featuring regional music and songs, historical re-enactments, a pageant onboard a float built to look like the Griffin (the name of the first sailing ship on the Great Lakes), talks on the history of Ontario and storytelling. Artists from all over Ontario proudly performed, and an entire day was devoted to the province’s Francophones. Festival-goers were treated to a cornucopia of dishes with a distinctly Ontario flavour, which were served to the accompaniment of a number of talented artists from the province. Damien Robitaille, one of the province’s best-known ambassadors, also put on a show, which was attended by Ontario dignitaries and residents alike.
The primary mission of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario was to charm history buffs and give them a taste of the local gastronomy to be served up in 2015. The result was a tailor-made opportunity to discover Ontario by retracing the route of Samuel de Champlain from a touristic, historical and cultural perspective.
A series of festivities in the Greater Sudbury region, a new Huronia Historical Park, a festival of historical re-enactments in Penetanguishene and a major gathering of Franco-Ontarians in Toronto are just a few examples of events that are planned to mark 400 years of French presence in Ontario, next year. Keep an eye out for other community celebrations to be announced! The Assemblée accomplished its mission to promote Ontario at this year’s New France Festival. Canadians from coast to coast are now invited to join in the festivities in Ontario in 2015!