March - Month of La Francophonie

March is the Month of La Francophonie — a perfect opportunity to learn about and celebrate our dynamic and vibrant community.

A bit of history

When Bytown was founded in 1826, the area already had a large Francophone population. Bytown became Ottawa in 1855 and was named Canada’s capital in 1867.

The Francophone community made plentiful and significant contributions to the city's creation. 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 education, economics, health, community social services, recreation, and arts and culture, including the Montfort Hospital, the Cité collégiale, the Franco-ontarien Festival and a Francophone community radio station, CJFO-FM.

"One City, Two Languages"

By adopting a Bilingualism Policy shortly after the municipal amalgamation in 2001, City Council reiterated the bilingual character of the City of Ottawa and the equality of the rights and privileges of the two official language communities with regard to the services it provides. Ottawa residents can receive services in their preferred official language. The City provides health prevention and promotional programs, recreational and cultural activities, child care support and social housing services — as just a few examples — in both official languages.

Let's celebrate together the Month of La Francophonie

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, visit Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie to discover the host of local activities that have been planned.

In recognition of the invaluable contributions and vitality of Ottawa's Francophone community, once a year in March, Mayor Jim Watson welcomes community representatives and staff members during the Mayor’s Annual Francophone Rendez-vous.  

To learn more about Ottawa's Francophone community, we invite you to visit Raconte-moi Ottawa, a website created by Vanier Museopark.

In March, we come together to celebrate the richness and vitality of our Francophone community!

Did you know…

  • La Francophonie consists of nearly 9.5 million people in Canada.
  • Franco-Ontarians represent approximately 50 per cent of the Francophone minority population in Canada.
  • One-fifth of Ontario's Francophones live in the Ottawa area.
  • At the time of the most recent census, Ottawa had 143,215 Francophone residents — 17.9 per cent of the total population (Census Canada, 2006). Thirty-nine per cent of Ottawa residents can speak French.
  • Between 2001 and 2006, an average of 1,000 French-speaking immigrants arrived in Ottawa each year.