While some parents have been compelled to camp out for a few days and nights to secure their child a spot in capped French Immersion (FI) programs, and while advocacy groups like Canadian Parents for French (CPF) battle for greater access to FI across the country, media attention to the issue has given rise to a pack of hecklers who depict FI supporters as elitists less interested in affording their children with the French advantage, and more interested in segregating their children from the mainstream. One such a cynic is Adrian Macnair, staff writer for the Surrey Now, and author … Read more »

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Elsewhere, I’ve discussed how it’s not enough to rely on the school system, or a class or a course, to learn the French language, especially in some parts of our vast home and native land, where access to native speakers is often limited at best. For a truly immersive experience in the language, we need to make French a part of our daily lives. Below, I’ve listed some of my favourite web content and digital resources that can help one to take the plunge into the language, become familiar with its nuances, and understand its cultural contexts. 1. Music Acadian … Read more »

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In another post, I discussed the degree to which English has been influenced by the French language. After defeating the English Anglo-Saxons at Hastings in 1066, the French Norman leader, William the Conqueror became King of England. And with French now the language of the government and military, the English language was changed forever. Also heavily influenced was the vocabulary of food and drink. For example, chicken, swine and cows remained chicken, swine and cows in the fields of the English peasantry. But in their more refined states on the plates of the ruling French elite, they became pouletrie, porc … Read more »

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Les 12 jours de noël – Les Méchants Maquereaux This is the 12 Days of Christmas, with an Acadian flavour. On the East Coast, it’s most certainly true love when you’re delivered the Acadian delicacy, poutine râppé on the first day of Christmas. Follow that with some mussels, a few six-packs of cold beer, herring, lobster, salted cod, clams and mackerels, and it must be pure devotion. He’s likely yours forever if you mix in some apple dumplings, another variant of the poutine râppé recipe, and nine “boiled dinners” of a mystery food that some believe to be pigs’ feet. … Read more »

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After a lot of travel in and outside of Canada, my husband and I rested for a few seasons in the hamlet of St. Joseph in Huron County, Ontario. It wasn’t until we’d lived in the village for at least a few months that, on one of our evening walks, I heard the lush sounds of French being spoken among some of our neighbours. I could hardly believe my ears: “Is that French they’re speaking?!” As I discovered, St. Joseph (first settled as “Points-à-Bouleau”) is home to the descendents of Québécois pioneers who’d arrived in the mid-nineteenth century hoping for … Read more »

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There’s a lot that’s remarkable about Michaëlle Jean’s election as Secretary-General of La Francophonie, the organization that brings together an estimated 375 million Francophones with its 57 member states. First off, and no doubt as you’re already aware, Canada’s former Governor General was chosen for the office by consensus—true to her reputation as a “rassembleuse,” someone who serves to unify people. Furthermore, as the University of Ottawa’s President and Vice Chancellor, Allan Rock has noted, “Her very election is an encouraging if very symbolic message” that the La Francophonie is ready to deal with the “widespread and systemic exclusion of … Read more »

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Some called it “an earthquake…a revolution” when, this past May, a native English speaker was elected to the Académie française, the pre-eminant scholarly body entrusted with upholding the purity and integrity of the French language.   Michael Edwards—with his emphatically British name—is the first Englishman, ever, to join this elite 400 year-old club whose members have included French literary greats like Victor Hugo and Voltaire. So, while much of the Academy’s mission has been to eliminate Anglicisms that have skulked their way into French usage, some might wonder if they’ve selected a fox to guard the henhouse. Indeed, even Edwards, a … Read more »

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In an old interview with CBC radio, beloved Acadian writer Antonine Maillet highlights the value of bilingualism by recounting the fable of the little mice. Freed into the wild world for the first time, three baby mice suddenly scurry back to the nest after a terrifying encounter with a cat. “This is no way to face the world,” their mother tells them. The next day she drags them out again. And again, the little mice meet up with the cat. “Meow!” the cat threatens. “Arf! Arf!” cries the mother mouse and, sufficiently spooked, the cat runs away. It’s a good … Read more »

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So I’ve scoured the web for good mobile apps to supplement my French learning, and I’ve come across a new favourite that’s also available for French learners of English (and a host of other languages). If you haven’t heard of it already, Duolingo (for iOS or Android) is perhaps the highest rated language learning app on the web, earning the title of Apple’s 2013 App of the Year—the first time an educational app has been bestowed such an honour. And have I mentioned, yet, that it’s entirely free, forever? Perfect for those whose pockets aren’t deep enough for the Rosetta … Read more »

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If, like me, you like to see Canada’s official languages used well, I have a mission for you! It involves an extraordinary (and free) tool that allows users to find quick answers to their language questions, and to benefit, within a few clicks, from countless language resources: The Language Portal of Canada. First, take a few moments to visit or revisit the Portal. All in one place, you’ll find articles, games, language exercises and writing tips. Links to books and reference sites, helpful writing and translation tools, and articles in English, French and some Aboriginal languages also await you. Your … Read more »

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A stay-at-home mom and freelance editor and writer, our blogger Kirsten McPherson has tried hard to improve her French in an entirely Anglophone part of Canada.

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The Hon. Shelly Glover

The Hon. Shelly Glover

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

On the road to Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, our Government is committed to celebrating everything that makes this such a remarkable country – including our two official languages.

This is why we are proud to support Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie 2014.

Under the theme “La joie de vivre d’hier à demain,” Les Rendez-vous invite us to open ourselves up to our Francophone culture in all its diversity, as well as to strengthen the bonds that unite all the country’s Francophones and Francophiles. This makes an outstanding contribution to the vitality of the French language and culture in Canada.

On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada, I would like to thank the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue for making this cross-Canada celebration possible.

Andrée Lortie

Andrée Lortie

President of the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue

Laughter brings people together and is contagious. It builds extraordinarily strong bridges that span cultures and languages.

This is why the theme for Les Rendez-vous de la francophonie (RVF) 2014 reflects the fact that the French joie de vivre has always been, and will continue to be, grounded in humour.
Ever since Champlain instituted the Order of Good Cheer, humour has been a vector used to bring people together, put things in perspective, call minds to reason and harmonize our differences.

As it has done for years, Canada’s Francophone communities from coast to coast will converge around the RVF for an opportunity to shine and strengthen ties with supporters of La Francophonie and linguistic duality in Canada.

Our collaboration with Just for Laughs and the National School of Humour has given rise to some pretty “entertaining” episodes. Also, in addition to the NFB viewings, a number of contests and activities have been concocted across the country.

I thank all of our partners and collaborators, and Canadian Heritage in particular for its financial support.

Happy RVF 2014!

Alexandre Cloutier

Alexandre Cloutier

Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs, the Canadian Francophonie and Sovereignist Governance

A key event for Francophones and Francophiles from all walks of life, the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie bring together different cultural expressions that enliven our rich Francophone world.

On the occasion of the International Day of the Francophonie, the Government of Québec wishes to convey its unwavering support for strengthening the French fact in Francophone and Acadian communities.

My best wishes for success with this 16th Rendez-vous, whose theme is the «joie de vivre» of Francophones, a distinguishing feature that unites us!

The Hon. Madeleine Meilleur

The Hon. Madeleine Meilleur

Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs

I warmly welcome you to the 2014 edition of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie.

Like the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, which play an important role in promoting the French fact in Ontario and across the country, the Government of Ontario will invite all Canadians to participate in the 400th anniversary of French presence here in our province in 2015.

We look forward to seeing you!

Calin Rovinescu

Calin Rovinescu

President & CEO, Air Canada

For the 16th year, Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie recognizes and celebrates francophones’ grand contribution to our country.

As the nation’s official airline, Air Canada is proud to participate in this festive cultural initiative.

We can all appreciate the extent to which the French language has enriched this country and recognize the vital role it plays cross-culturally. That’s what being a truly grand country is all about.

John W. Crichton

John W. Crichton

President and CEO of NAV CANADA

As a sponsor of Les Rendez-vous and through the provision of bilingual air navigation services,

NAV CANADA is proud to play a part in the great cultural gatherings taking place across our country.

We hope that you enjoy the festival and share in the joie de vivre that Canada’s diverse Francophone populations are known for. Bons rendez-vous!

Claude Joli-Cœur

Claude Joli-Cœur

Acting Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada

Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie celebrates the admirable richness and diversity of francophone culture, reflecting the essence of the francophone communities I had the pleasure of visiting in 2013.

The National Film Board of Canada will be contributing to this event for the ninth year, presenting four programs of screenings for general audiences across Canada as well as an exclusive Web offer on All these films combine a sense of celebration with a historical perspective.

Enjoy the films!

Carol Jolin

Carol Jolin

AEFO President

AEFO represents 10,000 elementary and secondary French-language school teachers, as well as professional and support staff employed in various Ontario workplaces.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, it is a dynamic association with an unbelievable capacity for action and dissemination.

If the Francophonie can spread its wings as well as it does in Ontario, it’s in part thanks to us. Congratulations to those who, for decades, have made their own the values that join us and make us who we are.

Alexis Couture

Alexis Couture

President of the FJCF

The Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française (FJCF) is very proud to present the 6th edition of Les jeux de la francophonie canadienne (JFC) in July 2014!

Focused on the arts, leadership and sports, this UNIQUE EVENT highlights the CULTURAL PRIDE of French-speaking Canadian youth aged 13 to 18.

I invite you to visit for all the details.

Hope to see you there!

Denis Desgagné

Denis Desgagné

President and Chief Executive Officer
Centre de la francophonie des Amériques

The Centre de la francophonie des Amériques is pleased to be a part of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, which contributes to the vitality of the French language

In cooperation with organizations representing French-speaking communities, the team members of the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques are proud to develop and create various programs and innovative digital tools. These tools are created with you in mind, and will evolve based on your feedback! Discover them, share them and continue to play an active role in the promotion of Francophonie throughout the country and continent!