by Morinville News Staff
Blue, white and pink flags will fly over municipalities in Alberta as communities begin raising the Franco-Albertan flag in honour of Rendez-vous de la Francophonie (RVF) and Mois de la Francophonie Albertaine.
Jean-Pierre Grenier created the Franco-Albertan flag as an entry in a Francophone Youth of Alberta contest. In March of 1982, the French-Canadian Association of Alberta adopted the design.
The flag has a fleur-de-lys in the upper left corner and a wild rose, the provincial flower of Alberta, in the lower right. The field of blue represents the province, while the white represents the Francophone. The blue and white stripes represent the waters and roads travelled throughout the province by Francophone explorers, settlers, and colonists.
Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, Leela Sharon Aheer, kicked off the month with a statement Sunday.
“This month, we celebrate Mois de la Francophonie Albertaine, Alberta Francophonie Month. French-speaking Albertans have been significant members of our communities for over 200 hundred years. Today, they represent one of the fastest-growing and most culturally diverse French-speaking populations in Canada,” Aheer said.
“The French were among the first Europeans in Alberta. Almost 2,000 communities and historic sites in Alberta have names derived from French settlement. Some communities are officially bilingual, such as Beaumont, Legal, Falher and Plamondon.”
Aheer went on to say French is more than one of Canada’s two official languages; it is the most widely spoken language in Alberta after English.
“It is a symbol of Alberta’s diversity, vibrancy and future vision,” Aheer said. “The descendants of francophone Albertans and immigrants from French-speaking cultures are still building and shaping Alberta, and continue to brighten our future.”
Locally, the Town of Morinville will raise the Franco-Albertan Flag in St. Jean Baptiste Park on Friday, Mar. 6 at noon. This will be followed by a French Heritage event for schools at the Cultural Centre at 1 p.m.
Friday evening will see the doors of the Cultural Centre opened at 6 p.m. for a dinner and French heritage displays, followed by entertainment by Pascal Lecours et les mauvais caractères.
Tickets for the free event sold out last week.