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Old 01-09-2013, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Somewhere flat in Mississippi
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I read that Windsor has some French-language schools. The article stated that the French were the first to settle the area, but is there a distinct Franco-Ontarian presence in the city, possibly descended from Quebecois immigrants?
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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The French presence in this area goes back to when this area was part of New France. The main settlement was actually on what is now the American side of the river: Détroit. There were French settlements on both sides of the river as there was no border at the time. This is why you have quite a few French place and street names on both the Ontario and Michigan sides of the river today.

As for the population few people would still be French-speaking from the early days in the region, but there are people whose roots do go back several generations in the area the speak French. Almost all of the people who are "French" in the area (whether they speak it or not) would have their roots in Quebec or when it was New France.

Madonna, who is from southeastern Michigan, is half French (Canadian) by her mom who was a Fortin which is a common name in Quebec and France.

Someone once did a study and Madonna and Céline Dion actually have some common ancestors and are very distant relatives.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:23 PM
 
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CD's own data banks give some idea of windsors Franco demographic..(Scrolling 3/4 the way down the page)

https://www.city-data.com/canada/Windsor-City.html
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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The Windsor area is one of only three areas in southern Ontario with a historic francophone presence.

The other two are:

Welland, in the Niagara peninsula, where many francophones settled at one point to work on the Welland Canal.

Georgian Bay around Penetanguishene, Midland, Perkinsfield. This was the site of Jesuit mission among the Huron people a few centuries ago and francophone settlers followed. The Jesuits at one point were murdered by the Hurons and these are now known as the Holy Canadian Martyrs (Jean de Brébeuf and company).

All of the communities are quite assimilated and can perhaps be said to be on the brink, although they do have some kick in them and now have community resources like schools that they lacked for most of the 20th century. They also have some cultural life with music, theatre, community radio stations, etc.

In my life I have met and known native French speakers from all three areas.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:34 PM
 
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I live in Detroit, but my wife is fluent French speaker. My Uncle Rich is a Francophone and grew up in Windsor. A close friend of mine is also a Windsor Francophone. I am not the foremost authority, but I know of a few resources.

I'm sorry to say that I don't think you'll find the French-Canadian presence in Windsor all that great, but there is a little. There is a French-Canadian Club on Wyandotte (1253 Wyandotte, E; 519-973-9607). They don't have any web presence and I don't know how active they are.

On the Detroit side we have the French-Canadian Society of Michigan with a number of Canadian members. They only meet intermittently have some interesting exploration trips (often to parts of town where you want to go in a group but which are historically important):

https://www.facebook.com/groups/109717099063919/

You need to remember that for many years the two communities were functioned nearly as one. For example, my synagogue originally had two buildings directly across the Detroit River from each other and in the 19th century that Rabbi made his way across and conducted services in both countries. The synagogues still exist but they have long seperated and both moved. Much of the heritage of both cities lies over the border in the other.

I think you would have a really hard time trying to get by in French in modern Winndsor. A few years back I tried to find a good place to buy French language DVDs and books in Windsor. I could find a rack here or there in the box stores, but nothing solid. I also looked for small independents and did not have much luck. In my opinion, it would be far easier to buy books or DVDs in Arabic, Chinese, or Hindi in 2013 Windsor.

There is a French as a first language education in Windsor. St Joseph's Parish (Townline Road) has a French language mass. There are no French language degree programs in Windsor. I also haven't found a regular theatre companies that perform in French.

In sum, if you want to explore your historic Francophone roots, I think you'll find a fair amount to do. I think you'll struggle to live in Windsor using French as your main language.

Last edited by stufried; 01-09-2013 at 04:47 PM..
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Somewhere flat in Mississippi
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Weren't the French-language schools in Ontario a rather recent creation?
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouldy Old Schmo View Post
Weren't the French-language schools in Ontario a rather recent creation?
They existed for a while in the late 1800s/early 1900s, they were then banned for roughly the first 20 years of the 20th century. Then the ban was lifted, and they were very slowly brought back throughout the 20th century, generally starting with elementary schools in the most francophone areas (eastern and northeastern Ontario).

For a long time there were no francophone high schools, then in the 50s and 60s you started to have bilingual English-French high schools in more francophone areas. Then in the 1970s you started seeing more French-first high schools. I think the oldest French-first high school in Ontario is Garneau in the east end Ottawa suburb of Orleans. It opened in 1972.

The full French-first school system across all of Ontario (including elementary and secondary schools in places like Windsor, Toronto and suburbs, London, Hamilton, etc.) has been in place roughly since the late 1980s I would say.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
They existed for a while in the late 1800s/early 1900s, they were then banned for roughly the first 20 years of the 20th century. Then the ban was lifted, and they were very slowly brought back throughout the 20th century, generally starting with elementary schools in the most francophone areas (eastern and northeastern Ontario).

For a long time there were no francophone high schools, then in the 50s and 60s you started to have bilingual English-French high schools in more francophone areas. Then in the 1970s you started seeing more French-first high schools. I think the oldest French-first high school in Ontario is Garneau in the east end Ottawa suburb of Orleans. It opened in 1972.

The full French-first school system across all of Ontario (including elementary and secondary schools in places like Windsor, Toronto and suburbs, London, Hamilton, etc.) has been in place roughly since the late 1980s I would say.
A coworker's in the 1980s was attending a French first school in Windsor the late 1980s.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
The Windsor area is one of only three areas in southern Ontario with a historic francophone presence.

The other two are:

Welland, in the Niagara peninsula, where many francophones settled at one point to work on the Welland Canal.

....
Welland's francophones did not come to work on the canal, but were relocated from Quebec by Empire Cotton Mills to work in the mills.

There is still quite a visible francophone presence in the city, and you occasionally hear people speaking French at the mall, or at local restaurants. The public library has a decent french collection and there are francophone social clubs and businesses on the east end of Welland.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
Someone once did a study and Madonna and Céline Dion actually have some common ancestors and are very distant relatives.
Hillary Clinton on her mother's side, is also a distant cousin of Celine Dion -- they had a common ancestor who settled in Quebec in the 1600s.
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