The History of l’Association Canadienne-Française de l’Ontario, Conseil Régional des Mille-Îles
1973 to Today
Denis Brisebois has since left the ranks of the South-East Ontario Regional ACFO (SEO Regional ACFO), but he planted the seeds necessary for the development of the French speaking community thanks to the support given by the SEO Regional ACFO to local initiatives as well as the actions taken by the Association in relation to community development. We cannot ignore the many contributions from the SEO Regional ACFO which, since its humble beginnings in 1973, are synonymous with success for local Francophones.
In 1974, the SEO Regional ACFO lobbied for a french language elementary school in Kingston, which it would eventually obtain through contributions from individuals and organizations of the time.
In 1979, the SEO Regional ACFO gave its full support to a French daycare project which would eventually grow into ‘La Garderie Éducative de Kingston’.
Between 1978 and 1982, the SEO Regional ACFO gave its full support to the development of the Social et Culturel Centre Frontenac, more commonly known today as the ‘Centre Culturel Fontenac’ – the French Arts Centre. In 1998, the SEO Regional ACFO provided significant technical and financial support to assist the French Arts Centre through a crisis that rattled the community.
From 1985 to 1987, in collaboration with other Francophone organizations, the SEO Regional ACFO offered a French summer camp for children aged 5-12 called ‘Camp Franco-Soleil’.
In 1990, the SEO Regional ACFO defended Francophones against the municipal unilingual project of Kingston, Trenton and, Belleville. The result was none of these cities were declared English only.
In 1991, the SEO Regional ACFO’s subsidy request was approved to start a French literacy program in Kingston while providing the ncessary assistance in the training of the provisional committee that lead to the creation of the ‘Centre d’Alphabétisation et d’Éducation pour les Adultes – La Route de Savoir’, today commonly known as the “La Route de Savoir” adult learning centre.
During the 1990’s, the SEO Regional ACFO also supported the ‘Centre Scolaire-Communautaire’ that today is the site of the Centre Culturel Fontenac and Marie-Rivier Catholic Secondary School.
ACFO Mille-Îles has also helped give birth to French schools in the region including Merrickville, Brockville, Kingston, and Trenton.
This list of ACFO Mille-Îles’ achievements throughout the years is only a partial one. The successes achieved have had and will continue to have a positive impact on the French speaking community and for Francophones wanting to thrive and flourish in their native language.
ACFO Mille-Îles as it exists today, continues to claim and defend the rights for services in French for the local population. The proof? During 13 long years, ACFO Mille-Îles pursued the dream of making Kingston a designated region under the French Language Services Act of Ontario (FLSA). During that time, continued analysis of statistics of the French speaking population were completed, stratagies were developed, meetings with local political, and ministerial figures were conducted.
This cause gained momentum when, in February 2005, the MPP for Kingston and the Islands, the honourable John Gerresten submitted a formal motion seeking the designation of Kingston. The determination of Madeleine Meilleur, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs in dealing with the motion combined with the tireless work of local MP’s and the work of the Office of Francophone Affairs contributed to making the motion a reality for the Francophone community.
Finally in May 2008, the Francophone community had reason to celebrate since the Kingston area was declared a designated region under the FLSA. This meant that as of May 1st, 2009, in various provincial offices of Kingston, services would be offered and available in French to the public. This designation is the recognition of a significant French language community and its rights to receive services in their native language from the Government of Ontario.
Since May 1st, 2009, Kingston is now counted as one of Ontario’s 26 designated regions.
ACFOMI strives to welcome, develop, fulfill, and vitalize the French-speaking community in the Thousand Islands region through diversified programming and services.
We believe in integrity, collaboration, respect, and trust.
Baby changing table in the restroom