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Michel Dupuis, co-creater of the Franco-Ontarian flag, passes away at age 60

Franco-Ontarian flag lowered to half mast at Sacré-Cœur school
Michel Dupuis (centre) helped to create the Franco-Ontarian flag. He passed away Jan. 11. (Supplied)

One of the creators of the iconic Franco-Ontarian flag passed away in North Bay on Jan. 11. Michel Dupuis was 60 years old.

News of his death has spread across social media today, with the French Catholic school board tweeting that the Franco-Ontarian flag outside of l’école secondaire du Sacré-Cœur has been lowered to half mast in Dupuis' honour. 

When Dupuis was a student at Laurentian University in 1975, he and his professor, Gaétan Gervais, created the white and green Franco-Ontarian flag, which has since become a symbol for Francophones across the province.

Dupuis spoke to about the flag in 2015 at a ceremony at the University of Sudbury celebrating its 40th anniversary.

He and Gervais created the flag when Ontario's Francophones were in the midst of a cultural revolution. Writers, artists and musicians, like the seminal Franco-Ontarian band CANO, were telling their own stories in their own language, Dupuis said.

Even though there had been a Francophone presence in Ontario for more than 350 years at that time, Franco-Ontarian culture, as we know it today, was still in its nascent stages.

When the cultural revolution brought unique Franco-Ontarian voices to the forefront, Dupuis and Gervais decided they needed a symbol to rally behind, and to represent them.

“The success of a symbol comes from its ability to convey a message,” Dupuis said. 

An obituary and funeral information for Dupuis has not yet been released.