I’ve never been shy to celebrate the fact that I’m Canadian and that French is my first language. In fact, it’s the cornerstone to my identify. This year is a special one for the French speaking people of Ontario and, in light of the theme of this season’s The Conversation Hub, I thought it be fun to share a little bit more about my origin story!
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…. Oh wait, that’s an entirely different story!
Actually it was back in the summer of ’69 when I came into this world in the small, eastern Ontario town of Alexandria. I spent my elementary and middle school years there and moved to Timmins, Ontario for my high school years. I then moved on to l’Université d’Ottawa for my college years. All of my education was done in French. For as long as I can remember, my parents have been advocates for the French language heritage and culture.
This year, Ontario is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the French presence in that province. As noted on the website dedicated to this celebration,
The French were the first to explore the province and establish permanent settlements. They are an integral part of Ontario’s history. (source: ontario400.ca)
My father, Denis Vaillancourt, serves as the president of l’Assemblée de la Francophonie de l’Ontario. In this capacity, he was recently interview by the CBC’s Fresh Air program to discuss our (the franco-ontario) history and his vision for the future of francophones in Ontario. You can hear the interview here:
I’m proud of who I am and where I come from. I may live an “expat life” but being Canadian and a Franco-Ontarian is at the core of who I am!
I’m extremely proud of the work being done by my parents, and in this case, my father when it comes to helping celebrate our French heritage! Thanks for all you do Papa!
“Ma francophonie … j’y tiens!”