Canadian Parents for French - Saskatchewan are bringing a new tour to Saskatchewan called O Canada.
The 12-day tour will visit 15 Saskatchewan schools in nine different communities, including Holy Cross School and École Vickers School in Prince Albert.
“The biggest benefit is to show the students that French is not only for in the classroom, that it could be for spectacles,” CPF-S President Eric Bolay says. “It could be music. It could be art. It could be movies. It could be theatre.”
The tour features a workshop for students about francophone culture and Canadian heritage, as well as a bilingual performance piece by francophone performers. Bolay says they want students to learn about the practical applications for French, as well as the history.
“The students will learn a little bit more about what has happened in Canada in the past and the origin of both languages,” he says.
The O Canada tour will cross five other provinces and territories, in addition to Saskatchewan. The project is supported by the national organization Canadian Parents for French, who partnered with the provincial organizations, as well as the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Bolay says there is strong support for bilingualism in Saskatchewan, which makes their job of teaching people about French easier.
“For the last five or six years there has been incredible support from the provincial government and from the national government,” he says. “Bilingualism is just booming within Canada.
The tour is scheduled to stop in Prince Albert on Feb. 13. It will also make the trip to Debden on Feb. 11. CPF-S sent invitations to numerous francophone and French immersion schools in the province to see if they wanted to host the tour. Bolay says the focus was on elementary schools, like Holy Cross and Ecole Vickers.
“It’s a program that’s probably more oriented for that age category of student,” he says.
In the workshop students will learn about the history of French and English in Canada, going back over 200 years. They’ll also learn about francophone culture and get to watch a bilingual performance piece depicting different events and eras of Canadian history.
“It’s important for students to participate and have a show that comes into the classroom,” Bolay says. “Not only for the content that is important to the classroom, but to other activities that are related to the language that they are learning.”