Photos and story by Lucie Roy
Morinville – The Franco Albertan Flag was raised above École Georges P. Vanier School Friday morning as well as at other locations throughout the province.
The Honourable Ken Kowalski, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA, and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, joined Mayor Lloyd Bertschi at the ceremony.
There were a few essays read aloud from Primeau School’s French Immersion students on why they are glad to learn the French language,culture and heritage as well as their thoughts on the many benefits it will offer them in the future in terms of job prospects.
“Today is the kickoff of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. This is a special occasion as we join more than 9 million French-speaking Canadians to celebrate French language and culture across the country,” Kowalski said in his remarks. “Each year, Alberta’s Francophone community proudly comes together around a common language, a language that is rooted in both tradition and history. In fact, French was the first European language ever spoken in Alberta. French settlers ventured out west in search of new opportunity and ended up founding the communities of St. Albert, Falher, Beaumont, Bonnyville. Legal, St Paul and Morinville. The impact of those first families is felt today in Alberta, and many of those settling families have paved the way for Francophone and French Immersion schools, francophone cultural centres and other community institutions.”
Kowalski said the face of Franco-Albertans has changed over the past two decades as the province has welcomed more French-speaking families from across Canada and the world. “With more than 225,000 French-speaking individuals in our province we proudly raise Alberta’s Francophone flag today alongside the wild rose, as a symbol to all Albertans that we support the on-going preservation and promotion of French cultures and language in our province and the vibrant Francophone community it represents.”
The Rendez-vous de la Francophonie runs Mar. 9-25. This year’s theme is
Understanding Builds a Better Future. Each year the Rendez-vous shines the spotlight on the important contributions of Francophones to building the country, bringing people together through activities across the country.