The Rendez-vous de la Francophonie is a celebration of Francophone culture, diversity and inclusiveness that takes place from March 1 to 31 all across Canada. Each year, March is proclaimed as Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie in Saskatchewan, to acknowledge the vibrant Francophone communities across the province, recognize their valuable contributions, and promote French language and culture.
Francophones living in Saskatchewan (les Fransaskois) are community-minded and warm-hearted. There’s an old saying that goes “the quickest way to someone’s heart is through their stomach,” and the best dishes start with a great recipe. We asked community members and organizations to share their “essential ingredients” for feeling at home in Saskatchewan’s Francophone community.
A recipe for community and supporting one another
The Service d'accueil et d'inclusion francophone (SAIF-SK) is a welcome centre that helps Francophone newcomers by offering personalized assistance in settling and successfully integrating into the province.
The Vitalité55+ program of La Fédération des aînés fransaskois has many activities planned during the Rendez-vous, including a conference on volunteering, told through the stories of three women who significantly contribute to the community.
According to executive director Éric Lefol, “It is a very busy time where we have the opportunity to participate in special activities and events.”
They are also presenting a culinary-themed ConnectAînés meeting; where participants make a recipe following along online with chef Walter Chizzini.
Éric describes the ‘essential ingredients’ for Vitalité55+ as “communication and sharing. Our Francophone community could not exist without meetings, discussions, joint activities and opportunities to share experiences and culture.”
Todd Smith, a teacher at École Ducharme in Moose Jaw, says that “the essential ingredients for feeling at home in Saskatchewan are to keep an open mind, to not be afraid of wandering off the beaten path, to explore the unknown, and getting to know your neighbours, which leads to unexpected discoveries.”
For the Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise (ACF), the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie “is an opportunity to make the Fransaskois community more visible and showcase its contribution to the province of Saskatchewan. March is becoming an opportunity to bring the whole community together and to discover and appreciate all the different Francophone communities across Canada.”
A unique and personalized recipe
Ingredients with different flavours complement each other and can work well together in the same recipe. Toppings and garnishes put the finishing touches on a dish. Add a dash of Francophonie flavour by participating in a variety of community groups, volunteer opportunities and fun activities, or enjoying Francophone arts, music, festivals and cultural events. The Francophone “ingredients” to choose from in Saskatchewan are abundant. What’s your Fransaskois recipe?
Rosalie Umuhoza’s essential ingredient is to “listen to Francophone music such as Nicola Ciccone or Star Académie from Québec.”
Bélise Nzeyimana shared, “My essential ingredients for feeling at home in the Francophonie are the French language and culture, because they can be found anywhere: in a book, a song, a family activity with my children, a school or a good discussion. There is a whole heritage, a cultural aspect behind it; we go to Sunday mass in a Francophone church, we eat turkey and tourtière meat pie, and all this at special times of the year. I didn’t know about this before I came to Saskatchewan. I love the French language, and I feel very close to the community of French speakers in Saskatchewan.”
“For me, the essential ingredient is the voice of Point du Jour host Elsie Miclisse, which I hear every morning on the radio when I drive my son to school,” contributed Elena Popova. “It is a reassuring voice that gives me strength and hope that the pandemic will end and we will be able to see each other again in person, a voice telling me about what is happening in our community, fuelling conversations with my French-speaking friends and colleagues, laughing and letting me listen to jokes and songs.”
According to Stevie Souvenir, it’s “the great outdoors and being able to go camping.”
For Chantal Morin, the essential ingredient is to be “‘without judgment’. No matter your accent or your level of French, you feel accepted.”
“For me, the essential ingredient to feeling “at home” in the Francophonie in Saskatchewan is the ability to participate in key events such as the Festival fransaskois or the Rendez-vous fransaskois. It is having the opportunity to express myself and flourish (work and live) completely in French in Saskatchewan,” explains Pierre-Emmanuel Komoé.
“My plans for the Rendez-vous this year are to participate in the activities that take place in my community and closely follow the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie activities and share them on my social media.”
A recipe for fun and connecting safely
Head on over to the calendar section of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie website to learn about virtual events, online games and contests that you can take part in! The Rendez-vous de la Francophonie is an opportunity to celebrate “la Fransaskoisie” in all its forms. Let’s celebrate la Francophonie across our province virtually, but all together!
This year, the Fransaskois flag will be raised at the Legislative Building in March. Catch up with us on Facebook to find out when and view the video.
The Bonjour! French-language Service Centre is a one-stop-shop for Francophones to access Government of Saskatchewan services and programs in French. There are over 100 government offices where service in French is available. For more information, visit saskatchewan.ca/bonjour.