Yann Lacoste, chair of the British Columbia Francophone Youth Council, speaks at the press conference last summer, when officials announced the 2020 Canadian Francophone Games would be coming to the area. Organizers say they need 600 French-speaking volunteers to ensure the games are a success. (Black Press File).

Francophone Games coming to Victoria in 2020 need 600 French-speaking volunteers

Victoria will be host with the lowest share of residents who consider French their first language

A competition for Canadian francophone athletes is still one year away from coming to Greater Victoria, but organizers have already expressed concerns about the need for French-speaking volunteers.

Casey Edmunds, executive director of the Victoria 2020 Canadian Francophone Games, will appear before Saanich council Monday to highlight the need for French-speaking volunteers.

According to the group’s scheduled presentation, the organizing committee will need to recruit over 600 French-speaking volunteers from around Victoria to “ensure the success” of the games scheduled to run from July 14 to 18 2020. The competition will draw more than 1000 competitors aged 14 to 18 from Canada’s ten provinces and three territories.

RELATED: Canadian Francophone Games come to West Coast in 2020

RELATED: Census shows Saanich departing from national trends

According to the 2016 Census, the Greater Victoria is home to 5,890 people, who only consider French their first language. Another 975 consider English and French their first spoken languages. This means 6,375 — or 1.8 per cent — of the regional population consider French their first language. About 36,460 residents — or about 10 per cent of all residents — claim to have knowledge of both English and French.

The event happens every three years and Victoria will be the eighth and most western community to host the event. Quebec — the historic home of French-speaking Canada — and New Brunswick — Canada’s only province with official bilingualism — have each hosted the event twice since the inaugural competition in 1999.

Manitoba (Winnipeg), Alberta (Edmonton), and Ontario (Sudbury) have hosted the games once.

Victoria will be the host with the lowest share of residents, who speak French as their first language, when compared to the other host cities, including Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Sudbury.

READ ALSO: Feds launch review of official-languages law 50 years after its introduction

READ MORE: B.C. road map features 23 historic francophone destinations

When Winnipeg hosted the games in 2005, its share of speakers who considered exclusively French their first language was 4.3 per cent (based on 2001 census figures). When Edmonton hosted the games in 200, 2.1 per cent of the region’s resident exclusively considered French their mother tongue (based on 2006 census). When Sudbury hosted the games in 2011, more than 25 per cent of residents considered French their mother tongue.

Compared to other languages, French is a distinct minority language in the Greater Victoria area. For example, the area is home to 11,815 people, who considered either Mandarin or Cantonese their mother tongue.

Victoria is not even home to the largest number of francophones in the province. According to the Office of Commissioner of Official Languages, 58 per cent of B.C.’s francophones live in Lower Mainland-Southwest region of the province, with 20 per cent living on Vancouver Island and Coast. Other regions vary from 12 per cent (Thompson-Okanagan) to one per cent (North Coast and Nechako).

This said, the share of French speakers in Greater Victoria of 1.8 per cent is higher than the provincial average of 1.4 per cent, and demand for French language programs has increased in recent years, with demand outstripping supply.

READ MORE: Province announces 74 new French teaching spots at SFU, UBC

The games themselves include three competitive sectors — arts, leadership and sports — and award over 400 medals across 13 official disciplines and more than 90 competitions.

Game locations include Willows Park for opening and closing ceremonies, Oak Bay high school, and the University of Victoria.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Tenants above Wellburns uncertain after ‘nightmare’ sewage flood ousts them indefinitely

Tenants evacuated after sewage flooded basement of century-old building

Victoria cycling community raises concern over new bike lane designs

High traffic along a corridor needs to be considered, Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition says

Hundreds of students gather at Government House to decorate Christmas Trees

The annual tradition let Grade 2 and 3 students help celebrate for the holidays

Trauma sufferers support group takes shape on West Shore

Aaron’s Society open to more peer support groups with certified trauma practitioners

Mental health call temporarily shuts down Trans Canada Highway in View Royal

West Shore RCMP cite 14 percent increase in calls concerning mental health in 2019

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Camosun for annual checkup

The RBCM, Camosun College and Carriageworks Restorations teamed up to care for the car

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Oscar Hickes: Longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

Most Read