Members of the Franco-Ontarian community gathered at both municipal centres, in North Grenville and Merrickville-Wolford, last Wednesday to raise the Franco-Ontarian flag in celebration of Franco-Ontarian Day in the province.
Students from both Académie Française Notre Dame and École Publique Rivière Rideau paraded through the streets from B&H Grocer to the Municipal Centre for the ceremony. Mayor Nancy Peckford, members of council, and representatives from both school boards were present to witness the third time the Franco-Ontarian flag has been raised at the Municipal Centre in North Grenville.
“Members of municipal council and all the members of our community are very proud to have two French language schools which were recently established here,” Mayor Peckford said, speaking in French. “To all the Franco-Ontarians who live in North Grenville, you can be assured that you will always be respected here. We recognize your contribution to the history, culture, society, economy and political structure of Ontario.”
Students of École Catholique Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys also gathered at the Municipal Centre in Merrickville to celebrate the day. Mayor Doug Struthers was on hand to help raise the flag in front of the Centre and show his support for the French community in Merrickville-Wolford.
September 25 was officially named Franco-Ontarian Day in 2010 to celebrate the vibrant French community in Ontario. There are almost 612,000 Francophone people living in Ontario, which is Canada’s largest Francophone community outside of Quebec. The Franco-Ontarian flag was first flown in Ontario 44 years ago, at the University of Sudbury, created by History Professor, Gaétan Gervais, and political science student, Michel Dupuis. It officially became the symbol for the Franco-Ontarian community in 2001.