Infographic: The French presence in Manitoba

The French presence in Manitoba. Details in text following the infographic.

Text version: The French Presence in Manitoba

  • Nearly 9% of the population (108,460 people) can speak both English and French
  • French is the mother tongue of 3.4% of the population (43,207 people)
  • French is the first official language of 3.2% of the population (40,973 people)


  • 57,773 students are enrolled in core French (32% of eligible enrollment) (2015-2016)
  • 24,381 students are enrolled in French immersion (14% of eligible enrolment) (2015-2016)
  • Nearly 5,400 students attend French-language schools (2015-2016). 8.9% increase over the past 5 years!
  • 23 French-language educational institutions
  • Over 2,000 students attend the Université de Saint-Boniface, the only French-language university in Western Canada (2015-2016).

Where do Francophones live?

There are 16 designated bilingual areas in the province: Winnipeg and 15 rural areas. Most Franco-Manitobans live in Winnipeg, while about one third live in the south of the province.

Economic Regions

  • Southeast: 22%
  • South Central 5%
  • Southwest: 4%
  • North Central: 4%
  • Winnipeg: 58%
  • Interlake: 3%
  • Parklands: 2%
  • Northern: 1%

Where were they born?

  • In Manitoba: 74%
  • Elsewhere in Canada: 15%
  • Abroad: 11%

Where were French-speaking immigrants born?

  • Africa: 57%
  • Europe: 28%
  • Asia: 9%
  • Americas: 7%


  • Newspaper: La Liberté
  • Radio: KXL Envol FM 91.1 (Winnipeg), and Radio-Canada ICI Première and ICI Musique
  • Television: ICI Radio-Canada Télé and Unis TV



  • Saint-Boniface hosts the Festival du Voyageur, the largest winter festival in Western Canada, where visitors from around the globe come to bask in the joie de vivre of French Canadian culture.
  • Louis Riel Day is a public holiday in the province. It commemorates the life of Louis Riel, a politician who represented the Métis people’s interests.


  • Every year on French Canada’s biggest holiday, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Francophones gather in La Broquerie and in Saint-Boniface to celebrate their French culture with concerts, sports and recreational activities, a parade and much more.


  • In 1731, explorer Pierre Gaultier de La Vérendrye and his sons were the first Europeans to reach the territory we now call Manitoba.
  • For about a century and a half, the Métis—people of mixed First Nation and European ancestry—made up the majority of the population in this territory. Most were Francophone.
  • When Manitoba entered the Canadian federation in 1870, its population comprised an almost equal number of Anglophones and Francophones. Guarantees were therefore included in the provincial constitution to preserve this linguistic duality. These guarantees protected the bilingualism of laws, courts and denominational schools.
  • Between 1870 and 1890, with the arrival of many English-speaking Ontarians and immigrants from Eastern Europe, major demographic changes occurred in Manitoba, and Francophones became a minority group.
  • In 1890, the provincial government abolished the official status of French in the legislative assembly and in the courts. The same year, it eliminated the funding that it provided to denominational schools and prohibited the teaching of French in public schools.
  • In 1979, the Supreme Court of Canada restored the bilingualism of Manitoba’s laws and courts. In 1993, Franco-Manitobans regained control of their schools. In 2016, the provincial government adopted the Francophone Community Enhancement and Support Act, which contributes to the vitality of the community.


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