Algonquin College opens its doors in 1967. It offers vocational education geared to employment, and serves the local community well, including Francophones. The College establishes quite a few French programs, so that its Francophone clientele and staff also grow rapidly. Even more importantly, Algonquin College participates in Ottawa Francophone community initiatives, providing support for economic, social and cultural development. Its continuing learning department is at the forefront of some of the most epic Francophone struggles.
The objectives of the College go far beyond teaching. It organizes a range of informal, action-oriented activities. For example, the Comité du réveil de la Basse-Ville benefits from the services of an Algonquin College social facilitator beginning in 1972. Thanks to its help, the Committee is able to assert itself as an interlocutor respected by the key players in the urban renewal of the neighbourhood.
Algonquin College’s continuing learning department also plays a central role in the C’est l’temps movement a few years later. It helps the movement with its initial triumphant coups and with its media coverage. The ingenuity and audacity of certain Continuing Learning team members are behind the movement’s success, which leads to the adoption of judicial bilingualism in Ontario. In this issue, as in many other perhaps less flamboyant but equally influential matters, the “Éducation communautaire” team’s unwavering commitment to community affairs is still remembered and appreciated by Ottawa’s Francophone community.