Iqaluit’s École des Trois-Soleils now has room to grow

Twenty years ago, the world’s most northerly French language school, the École des Trois-Soleils, opened its doors in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Now, thanks to new federal and territorial funding, the school will be able to expand to host all the region’s Francophone students under one roof. At the moment, the school lacks some amenities and students must transfer to another high school after Grade 8, where they study only partially in French.

The school’s name, “Trois-Soleils” has a double meaning. It refers to an atmospheric phenomenon found in the north that produces the illusion of three suns in the sky, and it also symbolizes the harmony between Francophones, Inuit, and Anglophones, three major cultures present in Iqaluit. 

Nunavut’s Francophone community is centred in Iqaluit and includes about 800 people, many originally from Quebec. French is one of three official languages in the territory (the others being Inuktitut and English) and the community enjoys a French-language community radio station (CFRT-FM), newspaper (Le Nunavoix), a performing arts venue, a community theatre, and other services in French. 

The funding to expand École des Trois-Soleils results from a lawsuit that Nunavut’s francophone school board filed against the territorial government in 2015, demanding that Nunavut offer French-language education and school facilities on par with Iqaluit’s other schools, as per Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It will help the Commission scolaire to build a gymnasium, a science lab, and four new classrooms, as well as to expand the school’s child care centre, Les Petits Nanooks.   

If you are curious, this video is a great introduction to the school. 

Catherine Fisher, blogger

Image: Nunatsiaq News