June 1985 – for already ten years, Francophones in the National Capital Region have been meeting each spring to celebrate their presence and assert their pride. The Festival franco-ontarien has become a major event, hosting the biggest names in Franco-Ontarian, Acadian and Quebecois music.
The 10th edition of the Festival brings together Ginette Reno, Édith Butler and Zachary Richard, who perform on the big stage on the evening of June 24th. The 10th-anniversary show on the evening of the 21st unites all major Franco-Ontarian music figures: Paul Demers, Robert Paquette, Marcel Aymar and CANO, along with members of the former Garolou and the duo of the hour, Allan Walsh and Denis Farmer. “Those who were there will be categorical: not to be missed.”1 The show is broadcast simultaneously on TVOntario and Radio-Québec in September, a great showcase for Ottawa Francophones.
For its 10th anniversary, the Festival sends representatives dressed in period costumes to welcome delegations from Acadia and Western Canada. The former is greeted at the Ottawa train station by none other than Étienne Brûlé, played by Blaise Marchildon, accompanied by Samuel de Champlain who has joined, in Québec, the twenty or so Acadians coming from Caraquet, New Brunswick. The delay of the train bringing Louis Riel from the West means he cannot join the Franco-Ontarian heroes at the station. Their eventual reunion is no less moving, marking the 100th anniversary of Riel’s hanging, following the defeat of his people in Batoche, Saskatchewan.
1 Fernan Carrière, “La 10e édition du Festival franco-ontarien : Un rassemblement communautaire d’envergure nationale,” Liaison, no 36, Autumn 1985, p. 19 (translated from the original).