Francophone Culture

Francophone culture and the use of the French language have a long and important history in Ontario.  While a large number of people in Ontario are fluent speakers and writers of the French language, over 600,000 people identify themselves as Franco-Ontarians, meaning that they speak French as a first language and are residents of Ontario

 Approximately 80% of Franco-Ontarians were either born in Ontario or the neighbouring province of Quebec.   Close to 20% of Francophones in Ontario were born outside of Canada, and this immigration from different areas of the world such as Africa, Europe and the Caribbean has increased the diversity of the Francophone community in Ontario.  French language schools have served as a hub for bringing Francophones together through common language ties.

The largest population of Franco-Ontarians lives in Eastern Canada, especially in Ottawa and Cornwall, and surrounding communities.  The second largest number of Franco-Ontarians lives in Central Ontario, including cities such as Windsor and Welland.  Some northern Ontario communities have significantly large Francophone populations in places such as Sudbury, North Bay and Timmins.

Francophone culture thrives in Ontario and is supported through many festivals and in a lively arts presence.  Some of the largest events which showcase Franco-Ontarian culture include the  Franco-Ontarian Festival in Ottawa, Franco-Fête in Toronto, and La Nuit sur l’Étang (in French) in Sudbury.  Francophone culture is also evident in the number of French language newspapers and television and radio media outlets, as well as in music, dance and other arts.  Several food dishes that originate from the traditional French Canadian cooking are now mainstream cuisine items, including tourtière (meat pie), poutine (French fries with cheese curds and gravy).

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