(Left to right) Anik Johnson, Lukas Fontaine, Vahida Fontaine and Leyla Fontaine making maple taffy on snow at the 10th annual Winter Carnival, hosted by Red Deer’s French-Canadian Association of Alberta at Festival Hall Saturday. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

WATCH: Celebrating francophone Canadians at the 10th annual Red Deer Winter Carnival

The event was hosted by the Red Deer region of the French-Canadian Association of Alberta Saturday

The importance of celebrating culture was front and centre for French-speaking central Albertans this weekend.

The French-Canadian Association of Alberta hosted the 10th annual Winter Carnival at Festival Hall in Red Deer Saturday.

“We should celebrate diversity and culture every day, whether it’s the language you speak, the country you come from, the colour of your skin, your religious practice or your spirituality,” said Serge Gingras, the Red Deer regional director of the French-Canadian Association of Alberta.

During the Winter Carnival, attendees could enjoy local francophone entertainment, feast on maple toffy on snow and get their faces painted.

The event started a decade ago as a day of activities for students in French-immersion schools.

“It was pretty much exclusively for those students, but over time there was a desire from the francophone community to open it up to the broader public,” said Gingras.

For the past five years the event has been more about the community.

“Part of our mandate is gathering the community together,” he said. “We’re at the point where people are asking about it. They call us at the office and ask if we’re having the carnival this year and if we’re having maple taffy on snow.”

The carnival is usually held in February, but was pushed back so it didn’t interfere with the 2019 Canada Winter Games, which ran from Feb. 15 to March 2. Gingras said the French language was promoted as “part of the Canadian fabric and part of our community” during the Games.

About 50-60 people attended the carnival’s first-ever pancake breakfast Saturday morning – the event had instead featured a “Sugar Shack” dinner in the past, said Gingras.

Gingras said he’s already excited for next year’s Winter Carnival.

“We’ll build on what we’re doing – we always do that year after year. Even before we started the carnival today we were already talking about ideas for next year.”

The francophone community in Red Deer is quite large, Gingras said, adding there are an estimated 285,000 French speakers in Alberta.

Some of this comes from the “migration happening, whether it’s people coming from other countries or other parts of Canada. In the last year and a half I’ve seen people who were living in Quebec who came to live in Western Canada because of work or other reasons. I’ve also seen newcomers in this country who … wanted their children to be bi-lingual.”



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

2019 Women of Excellence Awards nominees announced

The nominees were announced in Red Deer Thursday

City watching speed limit debate

Blackfalds, Calgary and Edmonton the latest to consider reduced residential speed limits

Movie shot in Red Deer and Lacombe is nominated for Alberta film award

‘Cor Values’ is up for a Best Feature Rosie

Red Deer developer ordered to replant some of the levelled College Park trees

Some residents don’t believe restoration plans go far enough

Red Deer election forum set for April 11

Presented by Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce

Local Sports: Queen’s Avery Lajeunesse not afraid to get physical

A year ago Avery Lajeunesse made a commitment to join the RDC… Continue reading

Seniors: Exposing the hype surrounding supplements

Do we need dietary supplements as we age? Do these supplements actually… Continue reading

Eight warning signs you won’t finish college

Forty per cent of students who enrol in a four-year college don’t… Continue reading

Photos: Deer spotted in Red Deer

Spring has sprung. One Advocate reader has been seeing a herd of… Continue reading

Ken Johnston competes in Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off

Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off will be held April 13

Oil field worker to show off his moves on the dance floor

Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off will be held April 13

Radio show host is Sheraton Celebrity dancer in Red Deer

VINNIE TAYLOR You may have heard Vinnie Taylor on the radio in… Continue reading

Dancing dentist of Innisfail

Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off will be held April 13

Most Read