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Flag of the Franco-Manitobains.svg
Franco-Manitoban flag
Total population
3.2% of the population of Manitoba
Regions with significant populations
Canadian French · Canadian English
Mainly Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Franco-Albertan, Franco-Columbian, Franco-Ontarian, Fransaskois, French Canadians, Québécois, Acadians, Cajuns, French Americans, Métis, French

Franco-Manitobans (French: Franco-Manitobains) are a community of French Canadians and other French-speaking people living in Manitoba. Most Franco-Manitobans have roots in Quebec. However, many are of Métis and Belgian ancestry, while others have ancestors that came directly from France, its former colonies and other francophone countries throughout the world (Congo, Laos, Vietnam, and Tunisia among others). Many have partial English, Scottish, Irish, Ukrainian and German / Mennonite ancestry through inter-marriages.[citation needed] Many Franco-Manitobans live in the Saint-Boniface and Saint-Vital districts of Winnipeg as well as in communities along the Red River and Seine River.[2]

As of the 2016 Canadian Census, Franco-Manitobans are 3.2% of the province's population. This percentage has decreased each census since 1991.[3]

Notable Franco-Manitobans include Métis nationalist Louis Riel, former Manitoba Premier Marc-Amable Girard, writer Gabrielle Roy, international singer-songwriter Daniel Lavoie, journalist, entrepreneur, and magazine publisher Tyler Brûlé, current federal Member of Parliament Kevin Lamoureux, former federal Members of Parliament Ronald Duhamel, Raymond Simard and Robert Bockstael, former provincial MLAs Jean Allard, Albert Préfontaine, Edmond Préfontaine, Neil Gaudry and Laurent Desjardins, former member of the Canadian Senate Maria Chaput, professional hockey players Jonathan Toews and Travis Hamonic, and country singer Lucille Starr.

The province's primary French language post-secondary educational institution is l'Université de Saint-Boniface, located in the Saint Boniface neighbourhood of Winnipeg.

Map of main Francophone communities in Manitoba

Although 90% of the Franco-Manitoban community lives in the Greater Winnipeg area, rural Franco-Manitoban centres do exist in Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Saint-Claude, Saint-Pierre-Jolys, Sainte-Anne-des-Chênes, Saint-Adolphe, Saint-Alphonse, Sainte-Agathe, Letellier, Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Sainte-Rose-du-Lac, Saint-Malo, Île-des-Chênes, Lorette, La Broquerie, Saint-Laurent, Somerset, Marquette, Saint-Eustache, Saint-François-Xavier, Richer, Grande-Clairière, Saint-Labre, Rathwell, Saint-Léon, Saint-Georges, Laurier, La Salle, Tourond, La Rochelle, South Junction, Fisher Branch, Marchand, Bruxelles, Otterburne and Saint-Lazare.[4]


Prior to 1870, the majority of the population of Manitoba was francophone (Québécois and Métis.)[5] The Manitoba Act of 1870 had provided that English and French be co-official languages in the newly created Province of Manitoba, (which initially included only the region surrounding Lake Manitoba).[6] In 1871, there were about 5,500 francophones in the newly-formed Manitoba - about 50% of the province's population, and almost solely Métis.[7] Within ten years, francophones became a demographic minority in Manitoba, as settlers from Ontario moved to the province in large numbers.[7] Following this demographic shift, in 1890 (at the same time as the enactment of the Public Schools Act), the Manitoba Legislature passed another act, which made English the sole official language in the Province.[8] Two years later, in 1892, the neighbouring Northwest Territories, (which at the time covered the Canadian Prairies west of Manitoba) also abolished French as an official language.[citation needed]

Société de la francophonie manitobaine logo

Law 113, passed in 1970, established both English and French as official languages of instruction in Manitoba schools, giving additional legal and institutional support for the use of French in both elementary and secondary schools. The following year, Law 71 was passed, which allowed students to attend French-language schools outside of their school division if none was available within it. The Bureau de l'Éducation Française (Bureau of French Education) was created in 1974 to oversee the administration of French-language education in Manitoba.[2]

In 1979, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Manitoba's 1890 law - which declared English as the only official language in the province - is unconstitutional, as it was in conflict with section 23 of the Manitoba Act. This made both English and French the official languages of the province once again.[2]

In the present-day, the Franco-Manitoban School Division is in charge of French-language schools across the province.

The Société de la francophonie manitobaine (SFM) is currently the main advocacy group for the Franco-Manitoban community.

Media and Culture[edit]

The Franco-Manitoban community is served by Radio-Canada's CKSB (Ici Radio-Canada Première), CKSB-FM (Ici musique) and CBWFT-DT (Ici Radio-Canada Télé), the community radio station CKXL-FM and the weekly newspaper La Liberté.

In 1925, the Franco-Manitoban community founded Le Cercle Molière. It is the oldest French-language theatre organization in Canada.[5]

The Festival du Voyageur, held annually since 1970 in Saint Boniface, is a major celebration in the Franco-Manitoban community.[9]

Franco-Manitoban Heritage Sites[edit]

Maison Gabrielle-Roy National Historic Site

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Census 2016, focus on geography series - Manitoba - Official language minority community". Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Gill, Robert M. (1982). "Federal, Provincial and Local Language Legislation in Manitoba and the Franco-Manitobans". American Review of Canadian Studies. 12 (1): 30–52. doi:10.1080/02722018209480735. ISSN 0272-2011.
  3. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (2017-02-08). "Focus on Geography Series, 2016 Census - Province of Manitoba". Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  4. ^ "Profiles of francophone communities in Manitoba". 5 April 2009.
  5. ^ a b Moss, Jane (2004). "The Drama of Identity in Canada's Francophone West". American Review of Canadian Studies. 34 (1): 81–97. doi:10.1080/02722010409481686. ISSN 0272-2011.
  6. ^ Manitoba Act, 1870 Archived 2012-03-23 at the Wayback Machine, s. 23.
  7. ^ a b Driedger, Leo (1979). "Maintenance of Urban Ethnic Boundaries: the French in St. Boniface". The Sociological Quarterly. 20 (1): 89–108. doi:10.1111/j.1533-8525.1979.tb02187.x. ISSN 0038-0253.
  8. ^ An Act to Provide that the English Language shall be the Official Language of the Province of Manitoba, S.M. 1890, c. 14.
  9. ^ "50th Anniversary of Festival du Voyageur". Manitoba History (88): 11A+. December 22, 2018 – via Gale Academic Onefile.

External links[edit]