A bit of history
When the village of Bytown was founded in 1826, the area already had a large Francophone population. Bytown became the city of Ottawa in 1855 and was named Canada’s capital in 1867.
The Francophone community made many significant contributions to the city’s creation. For example, The Ottawa Hospital was founded in 1860 by the Sisters of Charity, under Élisabeth Bruyère’s direction, and the University of Ottawa was founded by the Oblate Fathers.
Over the years, many other Francophone institutions and initiatives have emerged in a variety of fields, including education, economics, health, community social services, recreation, and arts and culture. Some examples include the Montfort Hospital; La Cité, Canada’s largest French-language college of applied arts and technology outside of Quebec; the Festival franco-ontarien (Franco-Ontarian festival); and the Francophone community radio station UniqueFM 94.5.
Let’s celebrate La Francophonie
French Language Services conducts two major events annually, the Rendez-vous francophone du maire (Mayor’s annual Francophone gathering) and Franco-Ontarian Day.
These events are two great opportunities to learn about and celebrate the many facets of this dynamic and vibrant community while helping to make Ottawa a great place to live. To be invited to upcoming Francophone events at City Hall and join the celebrations, subscribe to eSubcription.
March – Rendez-vous francophone du maire
In recognition of the invaluable contributions and vitality of Ottawa’s Francophone community, once a year, Mayor Jim Watson welcomes community representatives and staff members during his annual Francophone breakfast.
Numerous celebrations are held during the month of March throughout the world as part of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. For information on this year’s theme and to discover the host of local activities that are planned, visit Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie’s website. In March, let’s celebrate the richness and vitality of Ottawa’s Francophone community! Watch the last edition.
September – Franco-Ontarian Day
Celebrate Franco-Ontarian Day on September 25th with over 611,500 Francophones in Ontario. Almost one quarter of Franco-Ontarians live right here in Ottawa! That’s Canada’s largest francophone community outside of Quebec.
The province officially named September 25th Franco-Ontarian Day in 2010. On this day we recognize and celebrate the contributions of the Francophone community to the development of Ontario’s culture, history, society, economy and political structure.
The Franco-Ontarian flag flew for the first time on September 25, 1975, at Laurentian University in Sudbury. It was designed by history professor Gaétan Gervais and political science student Michel Dupuis. The flag became the symbol of the Franco-Ontarian community and was officially recognized in 2001. Read the Franco-Ontarian Emblem Act, 2001 and watch the last edition of Franco-Ontarian Day at City Hall.
Did you know?
- La Francophonie in Canada consists of nearly 9.5 million people who have chosen to live across the country, and Franco-Ontarians represent approximately 50% of Francophones in minority settings in Canada.
- One fifth of Franco-Ontarians live in the Ottawa area.
- Ottawa is the fourth largest city in Canada and the bedrock of the Francophonie in Ontario since its founding.
- Ottawa has a vibrant French language culture: 16% of its population is Francophone, while nearly 40% say that they understand both official languages.
- Ottawa's Francophone population is growing faster than its overall population. Between 2006 and 2011, the overall population increased by 8.8%; and the Francophone population increased by 10.3%.