A large crowd gathered on the waterfront to mark both Franco-Ontarian Day and Sarnia’s deep francophone roots on Sept. 22.
Students from the city’s four French-language schools were joined by hundreds of adults dressed in green for the raising of the Franco-Ontarian flag at Seaway Park.
To mark the day, which was officially on Sept. 25, City Hall was also lit up in green and white lights.
‘You wouldn’t believe how often we hear, ‘There are French people here?’ despite out long history locally, “ Natalie Normand, director of Reseau-femmes du sud-ouest de l’Ontario recently told city council.
French Jesuit missionaries reached the area around 1640 and in the 18th century French explorers and traders often laid over at “Les Rapides.”
The first Europeans to settle what’s now called Sarnia were French, and today an estimated 6,000 francophones call Sarnia-Lambton home.