Flags of La Francophonie
There are two official languages in Canada – French and English – with French being the mother tongue of 7.3 million CanadiansFootnote 1. This large Francophone community is an integral part of Canada’s identity and contributes to its unique character.
The majority of Francophones live in Quebec, but just over one million are found in Canada’s other provinces and territories.
Since the second half of the 19th century, minority community Francophones have come together within organizations, federations and associations to ensure their development. Over the years, the Francophone communities of Canada have adopted flags and emblems as symbols of their pride and vitality.
The Acadian national flag was adopted at the Second Acadian National Convention held in Miscouche, Prince Edward Island, in 1884. It is the symbol of Acadians from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The flag is based on the national flag of France and the star represents Our Lady of the Assumption – patron saint of Acadians.
The green and white of the flag of the Ontario French-speaking community represent the diversity of Ontario’s climate (green for summer and white for winter). The fleur-de-lis evokes the French-speaking community worldwide, whereas the trillium is the official floral emblem of Ontario. This flag was first unveiled in 1975; it was officially adopted as the emblem of the Ontario French-speaking community by an Act of the Legislature of Ontario in 2001.
The flag of the Fransaskois uses the colours of Saskatchewan and has represented the Francophone community since 1979. Yellow symbolizes the wheat fields, green the pine forests, and red – the colour of the heart – represents the province's Francophones. The cross is a solemn testimony to the missionaries who founded most of the Francophone settlements in Saskatchewan, while the fleur-de-lis is a symbol of the worldwide Francophone community.
The Franco-Manitoban flag includes a red band representing the Red River and a yellow one representing Manitoba’s wheat. The deep green roots turn into a leafy plant that is also a stylized “F” signifying Francophone. The flag was unveiled in 1980.
The Franco-Columbian flag, adopted in 1982, features the dogwood, the floral emblem of British Columbia. The blue lines evoke images of the sea, while the raised lines represent the Rocky Mountains. The fleur-de-lis symbolizes the Francophone community; one of the petals points toward the sun, represented by the yellow disc.
The Franco-Albertan flag, also adopted in 1982, is blue, white and red. The fleur-de-lis symbolizes French culture; the stylized wild rose and the blue, Alberta; the white, the worldwide Francophone community. The blue and white bands represent the waterways and routes used by the explorers and early settlers.
Francophone community in Yukon
The blue in the flag of the Francophone community in Yukon symbolizes the worldwide Francophone community; the gold evokes the 1898 Gold Rush; and the white symbolizes the snow that covers the Yukon landscape for a good part of the year. The flag was later adopted in 1986.
Francophone community in Newfoundland and Labrador
The blue, white and red of the flag of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Francophone community represent the community’s French origins. The two yellow sails, the colour of Acadia, signify the arrival of their common ancestors. The upper sail is decorated with a tamarack branch, the emblem of Labrador, and the large sail has a pitcher plant, the official floral emblem of the province. The flag was adopted in 1986 and raised for the first time in 1987.
Francophone community in the Northwest Territories
The flag of the Francophone community in the Northwest Territories depicts a curved base with a bear. White symbolizes the snow and blue the Francophone community the world over. The curve represents the Territories’ location above the 60th parallel, close to the North Pole. The polar bear, a symbol of freedom and nature in the spacious North, is looking at the snowflake and the fleur-de-lis, which represent the Francophone community in the North. The flag was adopted in 1992.
Association des francophones du Nunavut
In the Franco-Nunavut flag, adopted in 1981, the blue represents the Arctic sky, and the white represents snow. The central shape evokes an igloo and contains an inuksuk (a stone structure), symbolizing the human footprint in this vast territory. At the base of the inuksuk is a dandelion, which reflects Canada’s and Nunavut’s Francophone community: tenacious and enduring, it stands strong and adapts to its environment, embellishing it with colour.
Canada and the international Francophonie
The term “Francophonie” was first used at the end of the 19th century to refer to countries under France’s influence. Today, it refers to the community of peoples around the world who speak or use French to varying degrees in their own countries or internationally.
La Francophonie also describes an international network of more than 60 states and governments that share the use of the French language. Recognizing the importance of the French language and culture at home and abroad, the Government of Canada has associated itself with La Francophonie from its beginning in 1970. Through this multilateral forum of cooperation and dialogue, Canada extends its considerable influence to promote the values that matter most to Canadians, namely:
- the development of democracy and a constitutional state;
- respect for human rights;
- sustainable development;
- cultural and linguistic diversity; and
- sound governance.
Canada is a member in La Francophonie, while the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick are recognized as participating governments.
The flags of Canada, Quebec and New Brunswick officially represent the Canadian Francophonie.
The circular form of the flag of La Francophonie conveys the idea of coming together. The five interconnected segments represent the idea of cooperation across the five continents where the members of La Francophonie are located. The five colours represent the various colours found on the flags of the participating countries and governments.
The flag of La Francophonie
Members of La Francophonie
The following is a list of all members of La Francophonie.
- ArmeniaFootnote 3
- AustriaFootnote 3
- Belgium, French Community
- Burkina Faso
- Canada-New Brunswick
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Congo, Democratic Republic of
- Congo, Republic of
- Côte d'Ivoire
- CroatiaFootnote 3
- CyprusFootnote 2
- Czech RepublicFootnote 3
- Equatorial Guinea
- Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, The
- GeorgiaFootnote 3
- GhanaFootnote 2
- HungaryFootnote 3
- LithuaniaFootnote 3
- MozambiqueFootnote 3
- PolandFootnote 3
- Saint Lucia
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- SerbiaFootnote 3
- SlovakiaFootnote 3
- SloveniaFootnote 3
- UkraineFootnote 3
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