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Flag of the Franco-Colombiens.svg
Franco-Columbian flag
Gilbert Brule.jpgModeste Demers.jpgHenriGustaveJolydeLotbiniere23.jpgGrimes.jpgDenise Savoie.jpg
Total population
Regions with significant populations
British Columbia
Canadian French · Canadian English
predominantly Christian (Roman Catholicism, other denominations)
Related ethnic groups
Franco-Manitobans · Franco-Ontarians · Fransaskois · French Canadians · Québécois · Acadians · Cajuns · French Americans · Metis · French

Franco-Columbians (French: Franco-Colombiens) are French Canadians or French-speaking Canadian (Francophones) living in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

British Columbia is, geographically, the farthest-removed province from Canada's historic francophone population, thus it is not surprising to find that francophone British Columbians are few in number. The 2001 census placed the number of British Columbians with French as a mother tongue at 57,280, 1.3% of BC's population, ranking seventh after English (3,062,430), 'other Chinese' (357,865), Cantonese (133,245), Punjabi (94,055), German (73,625), and Tagalog (66,120). A good number of these listed francophones would be European and African immigrants or migrants from eastern Canada making the Franco-Columbian community a diverse one encompassing many places of origin and differing roots in the province. The popularity of French immersion education programmes have also meant that the population of second-language French speakers outnumbers the francophone population.


Main article: Maillardville

While Francophones have a significant history in the province due to the employees Hudson's Bay and North West companies, who were mostly Metis, and during the gold rushes of the 1860s, many from France and Belgium became notable in business and society, organized migration from Quebec did not happen until the early 20th Century, when the owners of Fraser Mills imported mill workers from that province, forming the community of Maillardville, a neighbourhood of Coquitlam in suburban Vancouver. In 1909 mill workers were brought from Quebec to Maillardville[1] and their descendants constitute a small and proud community.[2] Today Maillardville describes itself as "a community with a francophone heart" and is home to a number of francophone community organizations,[3] schools, churches,[4][5] a retirement home,[6] the annual Festival du Bois,[7] and an organization of francophone scouts and guides.[8] Community organizations place the francophone population of the Coquitlam area at 13,000.[1]

Francophone service and community centres elsewhere in the province[edit]

Francophone community centres and resources also exist in Vancouver,[9][10] Prince George,[11] Nelson,[12]Kelowna,[13] Penticton,[14] Victoria,[15] Nanaimo[16] and Kamloops.[17] The Fédération des Francophones de la C.-B. ( is the giant umbrella organization assembling all other francophone associations in BC - see


The province is served by a francophone school board (Le Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique) which operates 40 schools offering education from kindergarten through grade 12 in the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, Okanagan, Kootenays, Prince George, Fraser Valley, and other parts of the province.[18] A large and vibrant French immersion programme, although intended for anglophones, also includes some francophone students. The province hosts an active chapter of Canadian Parents for French (BC-Yukon Branch).[19]

Although French courses, and training for French immersion teaching are offered at the province's universities, there is no bilingual or French-language university in the province. Simon Fraser University, however, offers five degree programmes that can be completed entirely in French.[20] Educacentre College is the province's only French-language college with campuses in Vancouver, Victoria and Prince George as well as distance education options.[20]


Vancouver-based television station CBUFT-DT broadcasts throughout the province via relay transmitters, as do French-language radio stations CBUF-FM (Première Chaîne) and, to a lesser extent, CBUX-FM (Espace musique).[21] Other French-language media such as CBC's Ici RDI, TV5 and MusiquePlus are also available but not locally based. TVA's owned-and-operated station in Montreal (CFTM-DT) is also available on basic cable. The province previously had a newspaper called Le Soleil de la Colombie-Britannique but it ceased publication in 1998.[22] There is now a newspaper published out of Vancouver called L'Express du Pacifique.[23] The Société radio communautaire Victoria, started in 1999 as an offshoot of the Société francophone de Victoria, was incorporated in 2004 and started on-air FM radio programming on 7 November 2007 non-stop as CILS-FM at 107.9 MHz and 250 watts - see


In addition to Coquitlam's annual Festival du Bois,[24] Canadian Parents for French host an annual French Celebration Week, Francapalooza, a French film festival and French-language youth camps targeting both Francophone and French immersion students.[25] L'Association des Ecrivains de la Colombie Britannique publishes a monthly youth magazine called La Moustique.[19] A French-language theatre group called Théâtre la Seizième is also active in the province [26] as well as the dance troupes Danseurs du Pacifique[27] and Les Cornouillers,[28] and the annual BC Francophone Games.[9] The Conseil Culturel et Artistique de la Colombie Britannique serves as a community organization in the area of arts and culture.[29] The Association Historique Francophone de Victoria (, started in 1985 as an offshoot of the Société francophone de Victoria, has published a book called "Présence francophone à Victoria (1843 - 1987)" - see

Other notable Franco-Columbians[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]