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Telling the story of Ottawa’s Francophones

May 22, 2018
Laura Darche, uOttawa Gazette

Francophones have helped shape the City of Ottawa since it was first founded as Bytown. Despite this, the story of Francophones in Ottawa is not well known. Le Centre for Research on French Canadian Culture (CRCCF) has decided to tell their story through a virtual museum entitled French Life in the Capital.

Combining documentary research and historical interpretation, this website presents original snapshots that recount the evolution, contributions and ambitions of the Francophone population of Ottawa. The site brings this history to life through a variety of archival documents reproduced in high definition, including photos, drawings, letters, notarized papers, audio footage, musical and video recordings. Teaching material is also provided. Here’s a brief look at some of the site’s resources.

Spaces in motion

Lower Town, LeBreton Flats, Sandy Hill, Vanier and Orléans are among the neighbourhoods built by Francophones. These areas are steeped in history and their inhabitants’ stories are told in their streets, both current and former. The great fire of 1900, urban renewal, the suburbanisation of the village of Orléans: all have left indelible traces on the landscape.

A vibrant community

Religious groups had been active in Ottawa for over a decade when the city was chosen as Canada’s capital. These Catholic orders had begun organizing the workers of the rough Bytown, and they greatly influenced the development of Ottawa’s Francophone community and its institutions.

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