collectif Post-néo Rieliste
Maison des Artistes Visuels francophones
Université de Saint-Boniface
le Théâtre Cercle Molière
la Fondation Alliance Française
French Embassy in Canada
Province of Manitoba
La Caisse - Financial Group
Alan Nobili, Alliance Française du Manitoba
Jean Vouillon (Université de Saint-Boniface)
Alliance Française du Manitoba
Huguette Le Gall
Featuring movies by
Huguette Le Gall
Lori Mc Intosh
Lise Gaboury Diallo
Thanks to all women and men, volunteers and employees, that contributed and are still contributing to the Alliance Française du Manitoba’s movement
Manitoba is a Western Canadian province situated in the prairie section of the country, bordered to the West by Saskatchewan, to the East by Ontario, to the North by Nunavut and to the South by the American states of Minnesota and North Dakota. Covering a land area of 649 950 km2 (one larger than metropolitan France’s), Manitoba is Canada’s sixth largest province. It is populated by 1.3 million people, predominantly English-speaking (95%), of which 5% identifies as francophone, and 10% as bilingual..
By virtue of its size, Winnipeg is the 8th agglomeration in Canada. Only one city located outside of Winnipeg counts more than 15 000 residents, that city being Brandon. Winnipeg is a multicultural and multiethnic hub where diverse communities thrive, notably the Ukrainian, Indian, Filipino, African, Chinese, German and Mennonite communities. Also of great importance are its citizens of aboriginal descent (17%), which makes Winnipeg North America’s city with the largest proportion of people of aboriginal background.
Winnipeg is home to three universities, including the Université de Saint-Boniface, which is Western Canada’s only francophone university. Since about ten years ago when Winnipeg welcomed back a professional hockey team, the city has seen a genuine cultural renewal, marked in 2014 by the grand opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the first national museum built outside of Ottawa. The Manitoban capital boasts fascinating infrastructure in order to offer varied programming in numerous fields. It has its own ballet, a symphony orchestra, a music conservatory, not to mention dozens of theatre and concert venues, museums and art galleries. At different times throughout the year, locals and foreigners gather in the city’s neighbourhoods to celebrate the multiple festivals it hosts.
Manitoba’s Aboriginal nations were the Ojibwas and Assiniboines. Fur traders arrived in the area near the end of the 17th century. Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye, visited the Red River around 1730, paving the way for new exploration and leading to a French colonization around the fur trade. Numerous travellers—often French-speaking—took up residence in the province’s western regions with their Native American wives, giving birth to a new people: the Western Métis.
Following the British military occupation of New France in 1763 (during the Seven Years War), Manitoba became part of Rupert’s Land, which was owned by the Hudson Bay Company and sold to the Canadian government in 1870.
The Alliance française du Manitoba celebrated its 100 anniversary on October
29, 2015. Initiated during the centenary year, the Portrait of a francophonie on
the move project has three main components:
-a series of creative writing activities, entitled Notre printemps de poètes,
which featured six seasoned writers giving writing workshops and laying down
writing challenges, and invited the public to breathe life into poems in the
Poèmaton, a camera recording booth;
-a historical look at the French speaking community and the contribution of
the Alliance française du Manitoba through historical signs and this web-
-a look at the contribution of the Alliance française du Manitoba using historical panels and this web-documentary
-an online video channel showcasing the poetry from the Poèmaton
Through this heritage and cultural legacy, the Alliance Française du Manitoba
wants to demonstrate its contribution to the expansion of francophonie in
Manitoba and in Canada.
Manitoba’s Francophone Community
French was the language of Canadian travellers arriving from Lower Canada at the
beginning of the 18th century. Later, it was the language spoken by the Metis, who were also
the children of these travellers and their Native American wives. French was also the
language of the catholic community and religious leaders who worked through the Red River
Colony and Western Canada as of 1818.
French-speaking Manitobans constituted a majority when the province was created. The
1871 census revealed that the population encompassed 5700 Francophone Metis, 4000
Anglophone Metis and 1600 representatives of the white population (Scottish people and
French-Canadians). Francophones received a certain linguistic protection as long as they
formed an important minority.
The situation took a turn in 1890 with the implementation of the Official Language Act, which
made English the sole language of records, minutes and Manitoban laws. In 1916, the
Province adopted a new Schools Act (the Thornton Act) that suppressed all teaching in
French. Further, this law obliged primary education (in English) for young Manitobans.
That same year, the Association d’éducation des Canadiens français du Manitoba (AECFM)
was born. This group worked for as long as fifty years as a sort of parallel Ministry of
education, always with the objective of defending and bettering the francophone community’s
education. This initiative was a major part of a quiet resistance in which the francophone
community took part during fifty years. It is not until the year 1955 that French was
reintroduced in some schools, but only in certain classes between grades 4 to 12. Under a
1967 amendment to the Manitoba Public Schools Act, teaching in French was allowed for up
to half a school day.
1994 was an important year for francophones: it was then that the province introduced the
Division scolaire franco-manitobaine (DSFM) to manage the French school system. In its
beginnings, the new school division flourished as 21 schools offering a homogenous French-
language program. Almost half of the 10 000 right holders enrolled in these schools. In 1997,
though, the francophone community saw the fruit of their labour threatened with cuts at the
provincial and federal levels.
Despite waves of African and European immigrants in the prairie province, Franco-
Manitobans live as a minority. With 3.5% of the province’s population, the community counts
42 000 people (2001 census) of which half speak French at home. With this said, if we add to
this number the francophiles living in Manitoba, it is more than 110 000 Manitobans who form
the province’s French-speaking community, protected once more through legislation since
French-speakers throughout Manitoba benefit from French media including the weekly
newspaper La Liberté, La Gazette de Saint-Claude, Envol 91 FM’s community radio station,
as well as ICI Radio-Canada’s multiple radio and television shows.
Today, these francophones mainly reside in Winnipeg’s historically French-speaking
neighbourhoods of Saint-Boniface, Saint-Vital and Saint-Norbert, and in nearly forty
francophone villages located in rural Manitoba, mostly in the southern region.
Source : Société Franco-Manitobaine, sfm.mb.ca