A variety of activities aimed at promoting the French language in Hay River are planned for March.
Ecole Boreale has events planned from March 1 to 24, while other activities will take place as part of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, an annual celebration of the French language that takes place across the country March 8 to 24.
This year’s theme is Joie de vivre – happiness for life – a feeling many associate with Canada’s francophone communities.
Almost three per cent of the NWT’s population is francophone.
One of the main events in Hay River will be the raising of the territorial Francophonie flag at town hall, scheduled to take place on March 13 at 2:15 p.m. This is the fourth year the flag hoisting will take place.
Students and staff from Ecole Boreale and members of the Association franco-culturelle de Hay River will be at the ceremony, as well as members of council.
“We live in a community where francophones are a minority,” said Justin Carey, president of the Hay River francophone association. “We only get to promote ourselves once a year, so we need to point out that there is a healthy, living community of francophones here.”
The school has planned its annual spelling bee on March 8.
There will also be a visit by Yves l’Ecuyer, a translator from Yellowknife who will run some workshops for the students.
French music will also be played throughout the school every morning for 15 minutes.
“It sets a nice atmosphere for the students,” said Grade 3-4 teacher Jessica Gilbert, part of the committee of teachers who organized the activities at the school.
In addition, the francophone association is hosting a celebratory supper on March 9 in honour of its 25th year of existence in Hay River.
Carey said he wants to get together with board members and plan more events to celebrate the language upon his return to Hay River at the beginning of March.
“Usually we have time to organize for the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, but unfortunately not this year,” Carey said, noting some board members have been out of town lately.
— Myles Dolphin