Franco-Ontarians in Sudbury will once again raise their flag on Sept. 25, and you can be there at the exact spot it first occurred, at the University of Sudbury, on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
The flag itself was designed by Gaétan Gervais, professor of history at Laurentian University and Michel Dupuis, one of Gervais’ students, conceived the project with a group of students including Jacqueline England, who sewed the flag, Yves Tassé, Normand Rainville and Donald Obonsawin.
The flag, green for Ontario’s summers and white for its winters, has the fleur-de-lis to represent the place of Franco-Ontarians within the global Francophonie population; it also has the fleur-de-trille (Trillium), the official flower of Ontario, on one side to identify their roots in this province.
Wearing green and white to mark the day has become part of the celebrations.
The flag became officially recognized by the Government of Ontario as the symbol of the Francophone community in 2001.
The City of Greater Sudbury permanently raised the Franco-Ontarian flag on Dec. 1, 2006, in front of the Provincial Building at City Hall. On June 24, 2019, the flag was permanently raised in the central courtyard of Greater Sudbury City Hall, alongside the flags of Canada, Ontario and the City of Greater Sudbury. Since then, it has been permanently raised in other parts of the city, such as the A.Y. Jackson Lookout and the Flour Mill Museum.
On Sept. 21, 2020, the Ontario government unanimously passed a bill making the Franco-Ontarian flag an official emblem of Ontario.
"It is the youth who created it and flew it, and it is the youth who continue to carry its societal project. Intrepid young people, accomplices and great friends, steeped in the experience and tradition of this institution, would create this great symbol of French Ontario,” said Serge Miville, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Sudbury.
“A symbol that brings people together, is inclusive and open to the world."
Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon students also took part in festivities, holding their events on Sept. 22. The students enjoyed musical performances, sweater design contests, opportunities to show their green and white pride, and the creation of a collective Franco-Ontarian flag.
"The green of the flag is the green of our summers, and the white is the white of our winters," said Joanne Gervais, executive director of Association canadienne-francaise de l'Ontario du grand Sudbury. "The fleur de lys reflects our membership in the global Francophonie, but the trillium flower also identifies us as full-fledged Ontarians.
For more information about the event, visit the University of Sudbury’s website here.