In the French media at least, Alberta has recently come under fire; this month, its highest court ruled that laws in the province need not be written in French. The ruling is no less than a shock partly because of Alberta’s rich Francophone heritage.   For one, French was the first European language that was spoken in the province. A significant portion of the province’s population (at least 12%) is descended from French settlers, dating back to the fur trade, and beginning with the voyageurs whose marriages to Cree aboriginals resulted in the region’s first Francophone, Métis communities. Throughout the 19th … Read more »

Posted in Bilingualism, Canadian Francophonie, News | Leave a comment

Although Netflix is altogether lacking when it comes to French Canadian cinema, it does feature a strong collection of European French films to stream. Some of my own favourites—which seem fitting to share with St Valentine’s love still in the air—occupy the romantic comedy genre. A refreshing departure from American stock plots, the French rom-coms explore the tensions between alienation, fears of intimacy and the longing for love. Always light-hearted, never are the films weighed down by such tensions. Surrender to a joie de vivre, they tell their audiences; don’t let the moment pass—take the leap and fall in love.   … Read more »

Posted in Bilingualism, Canadian Francophonie, Culture | Leave a comment

I was recently given the opportunity to record a one-minute radio clip to promote the RVF blog — en français. I’m not going to lie. The prospect was terrifying. “I’m very out-of-practice,” I explained to my colleague, Philippe. The truth is, I’m entirely out-of-practice. I can understand the sort of French spoken by the media just fine — relatively slow and clear and standardized, without a whole lot of colloquial or idiomatic phrasing. I can also read French very well — in the silent whisper of perfect enunciations inside my head. Fifteen years ago, I could even write in French … Read more »

Posted in Bilingualism, Canadian Francophonie, Culture | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Bilingualism, Canadian Francophonie, News | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Bilinguisme, Culture, Divers, Francophonie canadienne | 1 Comment

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 »

Posted in Bilingualism, Canadian Francophonie, Culture, Miscellaneous | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Bilingualism, Canadian Francophonie, Culture | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Bilingualism, Canadian Francophonie, Culture | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Actualité, Bilinguisme, Francophonie canadienne, Francophonie internationale | Leave a comment

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 »

Posted in Bilingualism, Canadian Francophonie, Culture, International Francophonie | Leave a comment

Our Blogger

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.

If you have comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact her at
Air Canada
RDÉE Canada
See more Official Words
The Hon. Shelly Glover

The Hon. Shelly Glover

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

All across the country, millions of Francophones and Francophiles are contributing in many ways to our society. On the road to the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie offers an opportunity to highlight these contributions to Canada.

This year, the Rendez-vous invites us to come together under the theme La Joie de vivre, ça nous rassemble. Whether we grew up with French or discovered the language later in life, we all share a Francophone heritage that is a source of both pleasure and pride.

On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada, I encourage Canadians to take part in the 17th Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. I would like to thank the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue for ensuring its success.

Andrée Lortie

Andrée Lortie

President of the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue

The period surrounding Journée international de la Francophonie on March 20, 2015 is an opportunity for more than 270 million Francophones on 5 continents to celebrate their various cultures.

In Canada, Canadians will express their attachment to linguistic duality and the French language in particular at the Rendez-vous de la francophonie (RVF).

The 2015 edition of the RVF will be an opportunity to celebrate Canada’s Francophones in all communities in our country. I ask Francophones to invite their Anglophone friends and neighbours to attend any of the 1,800 activities that are organized as part of the RVF this year.

With the theme Joie de vivre: Ça nous rassemble (Joie de vivre: it brings us together), the RVF wants to show that linguistic duality in Canada is not a legal obligation, but a way of life that distinguishes us as Canadians and reinforces our common values and how we identify ourselves.

I wish to thank all our partners, sponsors and friends, particularly the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Enjoy the Rendez-vous 2015.

Happy RVF 2014!

Jean-Marc Fournier

Jean-Marc Fournier

Minister responsible for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and the Canadian Francophonie

The 17th edition of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, a series of major events for Francophones and Francophiles from around the world, demonstrates a deep collective attachment to the French language and the richness of the Francophonie.

A language of pride, culture, science, reflection, innovation, and entrepreneurship, French is spoken all over the world and opens up possibilities for all who have mastered it.

The Francophonie is one of the fundamental characteristics of Canadian identity. Québec, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, wishes to highlight the Canadian Francophonie’s essential contribution to enriching the country, as well as the many possibilities it provides to the Canada of tomorrow.

The Hon. Madeleine Meilleur

The Hon. Madeleine Meilleur

Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs

The Rendez-vous de la Francophonie is a must-attend annual event. It is an opportunity to get together and celebrate Francophone culture and heritage across the country.

This year, Ontario’s Francophonie is celebrating its 400th anniversary, and numerous events and activities will highlight this historic moment, projected on to the international stage by the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games hosted by the province this summer.

2015 will be a truly memorable year for Francophones, and I invite you all to participate in this great commemoration of 400 years of French presence in Ontario.

Calin Rovinescu

Calin Rovinescu

President & CEO, Air Canada

Celebrating joie de vivre in French!

As a national carrier, Air Canada is proud to support the recognition of French-speaking Canada. For its 17th edition, Les rendez-vous de la Francophonie will highlight important contributions by the country’s francophones. Every day, we witness how the French language pulls together the different cultural communities in Canada. We are therefore very pleased to join in celebrating the bonds formed through this language that is a source of joie de vivre

John W. Crichton

John W. Crichton

President and CEO of NAV CANADA

"Joie de vivre brings us together"

is a perfect theme to express and celebrate the contributions that francophones and francophiles have made to our diverse and vibrant communities. Whether it is through the provision of bilingual air traffic services or sponsorship of Les rendez vous, NAV CANADA is proud to play a role in bringing all Canadians together to experience some of the best francophone cultural events Canada has to offer.
Bons rendez-vous!

Claude Joli-Cœur

Claude Joli-Cœur

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

The Rendez-vous de la Francophonie offers many wonderful opportunities to revel in the rich culture of Canada’s diverse French-speaking communities, and to discover—or rediscover—what makes them unique through the encounters and exchanges taking place across the country.

For the 10th year in a row, the National Film Board of Canada is joining in the celebrations, bringing French speakers and francophiles together to enjoy films that reflect these inclusive values, with three programs for the big screen and a special selection online at

Enjoy the festival!