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French Culture

Who they are

French Canadian-Francophone Canadian-Franco Ontarians

  • Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups. Within France, the French are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence.
  • French Canadian  generally refers to the descendants of French colonists who arrived in New France (Canada) in the 17th and 18th centuries
  • The French are private people and have different rules of behaviour for people within their social circle and those who are not.


Language and Education : French

  • French or la langue française is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France. French is a descendant of the spoken Latin language of the Roman Empire, as are languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish; Romanian, Catalan, Sicilian and Sardinian.
  • French is the second most common language in Canada, after English, and both are official languages. French is the sole official language in the province of Quebec, being the mother tongue for some 7 million people, or almost 80.1% (2006 Census) of the province.
  • Francophone Ontarians represent only 4.4 percent of the province’s population.
  • According to Statistics Canada (2006), in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario , 4% ( 3035 citizens)of the population speak  only French, and 3%(280) is fluent in French and English.



  • Ontario is the largest Francophone community outside of Quebec.  Ontario is home to nearly 533,665 Francophones.
  • In Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario the average French population broke down as such:
    • 1871– The total population of people in Sault Ste. Marie was 879, with an average of 16% being of French descent.
    • 1879– the total population dropped drastically to 468, as people started to move elsewhere in search of sustainable food and income
    • 1900– The total population grew to over 4000 and expanded even further to 7000 in 1901.  At this point, people from all cultures began to settle in Sault Ste. Marie to connect with our expanding industry.
    • 1911– The Sault saw another increase in population and 20% were of French descent.
    • 2006 – According to the 2006 Canadian census, there are 7,765 (10%) francophone in Sault Ste. Marie
  • Most of the recent immigration (last hundred years) of French people to Sault Ste. Marie is not necessarily from France, but rather from Quebec and Nova Scotia.



  • French settlers of Canada were Roman Catholic.
  • Until the 1960s, religion was a central component of French-Canadian national identity, as religion influenced schools, hospitals and other aspects of everyday life
  • In Sault Ste. Marie, the predominant religion among the French Community is Roman Catholic.
  • Diversity in religion has also grown with continued immigration particular to cities such as Montreal. The influx of new residents into the French culture has led to many residents and members of French Canada being practicing Muslims, Jews, as well as Roman Catholics.


How did they contribute to like in Sault Ste. Marie

  • The contributions of the French people were essential to Aboriginal people and the fur trade in the history.
  • The trade between French and First Nations contributed to the life improvement, both culture exchanges technologies and material goods that made easier their common environment.
  • The Métis played a vital role in the success of the western fur trade. Not only were the Métis skilled hunters, but they were also raised to appreciate both Aboriginal and European cultures..
  • René Cassin made one of the most important contributions to the humanity. René Cassin of composed the first draft of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968 for his work.
  • The French have invented and designed many products that are used in Canada and around the world today. These inventions have improved industry, health, and everyday life such as: rabies vaccine, antibiotics, tuberculosis vaccine, blood transfusion, hand transplantation, the taxi service, the bicycle, the helicopter, the brassiere, the bikini, A-line skirt, evening or cocktail dress, pencil skirt , the polo shirt , the margarine, the coffee maker, the champagne, the waste container, criminology to name a few.


 Holidays and Celebrations

  • The Franco-Ontarian Day. September 25. September 25th is the anniversary of the first raising of the Franco-Ontarian Flag in 1975.
  • Day of La Francophonie.  March 20. It is celebrate in Canada and around the world.
  • April Fools’ Day. April 1.Tradition in France, it is a day full of jokes. It is celebrated in different countries on April 1 every year.
  • Dollard Day May 25th. (In May 25th, Victoria Day in honor of the Queen is celebrated throughout Canada except in Quebec). In Quebec on the same day as Victoria Day the culture chooses to celebrate Dollard Day which honors a 17th century war hero.
  • St. Jean Baptist Day June 24. This marks a celebration of their patron saint through parties, bonfires and fireworks. In Sault Ste. Marie, each year, the Francophone Society holds events such as a St. Jean Baptiste Day, Flag Raising, the Sugar Shack, Christmas Parties, the Rotary Parade and Summer Camps for children.


Notable Canadian French Descent

  • Édouard Cyrille “Newsy” Lalonde (October 31, 1887 – November 21, 1970) was a Canadian professional ice hockey forward in the National Hockey League (NHL). Lalonde made the trek to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in 1906 to play in the International Professional Hockey League, hockey’s first known professional league. In his one season in the Sault, he was named to the IHL Second All-Star Team.
  • Paul Maurice. Born January 30, 1967 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is a former Canadian professional ice hockey player and current head coach of Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. At age 43, Maurice became the youngest coach in NHL history to coach 1,000 games.
  • Francis Hector Clergue (August 28, 1856 – January 19, 1939) was a businessman who became the leading industrialist of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in Canada, at the turn of the 20th century.
  • Daniel Cloutier is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey goaltender.  He moved with his family at a young age to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, as a result of his father’s work as a logger.
  • Guy Phillipe Delparte born August 30, 1949 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey player.
  • James Eugene “Jim” Carrey is a Canadian and American actor, comedian, and producer. Carrey has received four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning two. Known for his highly energetic slapstick performances, he has been described as one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood.
  • Calixa Lavallée, (December 28, 1842 – January 21, 1891), born Calixte Paquet dit Lavallée, was a French-Canadian-American musician and Union Army officer during the American Civil War who composed the music for O Canada, which officially became the National Anthem of Canada in 1980.
  • Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier (May 8, 1839 – June 27, 1920) was a Canadian judge, author, and lyricist. He wrote the lyrics of the original French version of the Canadian national anthem O Canada. He was born in Saint-Placide, Quebec to Charles Routhier and Angélique Lafleur.
  • Mauril A. Bélanger, PC, MP (born June 15, 1955) is a Member of the Canadian Parliament. He is a member of the Liberal Party. Bélanger has been involved in advocacy for the rights of Franco-Ontarians.
  • Joseph Montferrand, also known as Big Joe Mufferaw. A notable figure in Franco-Ontarian folklore and legend.
  • Paul Martin Former Prime Minister. He was born in Windsor to a Franco-Ontarian father (from Pembroke) and an Anglophone mother, although many Canadians consider him a Quebecer as he represented a Montreal riding in Parliament.
  • Céline Marie Claudette Dion. Born March 30, 1968, is a Canadian singer.  


Franco Ontario Flag
Flag of France
Douard Cyrille Newsy Lalonde
Francis Clergue
Joseph Montferrand
Sir Adolphe Basile Routhier
Guy Phillipe Delparte
Daniel Cloutier
Paul Maurice
Paul Martin
Jim Carrey
Celin Dion
Mauril Belanger
Calixa Lavalle