Monuments de la francophonie d’Ottawa
 
The Monuments de la francophonie d’Ottawa project is a community heritage initiative led by a volunteer committee composed of dynamic and committed members of the Ottawa area Francophone community. Initially sponsored by the Samuel-de-Champlain branch of the Société franco-ontarienne d’histoire et de généalogie (SFOHG), and then by the Richelieu International District no. 1, this project actively promotes the following objectives: development of a distinct identity among Francophone students in the Ottawa area; recognition of the French fact, the value added by La Francophonie in the national capital, and the symbols of La Francophonie in Ontario; development of Franco-Ontarian heritage and tourism spaces.

The idea of erecting monuments to La Francophonie around the city was the brain-child of Alain Vachon, an ACFO president in Ottawa. The plan was to erect monuments in the form of huge Franco-Ontarian flags 15 feet (4.5 metres) by 30 feet (9 metres) on 80-foot (24-metre) poles, surrounded by spaces dedicated to commemorative and heritage symbols celebrating the contribution of the Ottawa Francophone community in such spheres as education, arts and culture, youth, women, seniors, ethnocultural minorities and business people.

Further to the launching of the website (www.mondrapeaufranco.ca), the fund-raising campaign and the sale of “builder’s cards,” the project prompted thousands of letters from supporters in the community and in the schools, as well as donations of money, goods and services. The City of Ottawa and Beechwood Cemetery are valued partners in the project. They are joined by various private financial partners, six institutions that are monument sites, as well as individual donors known as Builders.

Between September 2006 and October 2007, six monuments were erected on the properties of Francophone institutions, at their request: Conseil des écoles catholiques de langue française du Centre-Est; Cité collégiale; Caisse populaire Trillium; Mouvement d’implication francophone d’Orléans; Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario; Centre franco-ontarien de ressources pédagogiques.

At each unveiling ceremony, there were presentations and speeches, as well as entertainment: Brian St-Pierre and singers Manon Séguin and Martine Lafontaine sang “Mon beau drapeau” while the giant Franco-Ontarian flag was raised; artists performed: ZPN, Tricia Foster, drummers from Burundi and Swing; actors and performers played historical characters from L’écho d’un peuple under the direction of Félix Saint-Denis. Dignitaries and special guests included two of the creators of the Franco-Ontarian flag, Gaétan Gervais and Michel Dupuis, and guest speaker Gisèle Lalonde.

Over 15,000 people, youths, adults and seniors from Ottawa and Eastern Ontario attended the unveilings. More than 4,000 people attended the very first unveiling on 25 September 2006 at the head office of Le Conseil des écoles catholiques de langue française du Centre-Est. The most imposing unveiling was at the Charlotte-Lemieux Public Elementary School on 25 September 2007, with over 10,000 people in attendance.