Pioneering Francophone Women of Victoria
Thanks to a grant from Heritage Canada, the Association historique francophone de Victoria (AHFV) is in the process of creating a bilingual illustrated booklet celebrating a dozen Francophone women who have contributed to the development of Greater Victoria, from the 1850s to the present. Both the print and online versions of the publication will make the stories of these women better known to both the Francophone and Anglophone communities, while also encouraging young people to take an interest in the history of the capital region. During the fall of 2021, a competition is taking place among middle and high school students in French Immersion (School District 61) and at the École Victor-Brodeur who would like to prepare artwork illustrating the lives of these women.
A professional artist, Gaëlle Bercker, has been hired to provide the cover illustration. An experienced teacher of art, she has organized workshops to help guide the students in their contributions. In January 2022, a committee of local historians and artists will choose the most suitable illustrations and recommend the contest winners, each to receive a prize of $100.
The book will include an introduction to the context in which these 19th and 20th-century women lived and worked. Each of the biographies is only 500-words long, making additional context all the more important.
Two launches of the finished book will take place in March 2022, one in English and one in French, in partnership with the organizations listed at the end of this article. During these events, we will set up a temporary exhibition space to display all of the art submitted, creating the atmosphere of a gallery opening. Each launch will also include introductory remarks about the women profiled, along with the awarding of the prizes for student artwork. (The launches could take place virtually, but we hope these will be in-person events.)
The AHFV is delighted to take advantage of this opportunity to partner with the Victoria Historical Society and the Friends of Saint Ann’s Academy, Anglophone organizations whose members share our desire to promote local history.
Student participation is at the heart of this project. We wish to enhance young people’s historical knowledge of the Francophone heritage in Greater Victoria and especially the contribution of women. We want to develop their pride in this history, and involve students in disseminating knowledge about it.
The publication of Pioneering Francophone Women of Victoria would not be possible without support from Canadian Heritage, and from our community partners (in alphabetical order) to whom we offer our heartfelt thanks:
Conseil scolaire francophone Friends of Saint Ann’s Academy
Greater Victoria School District Radio Victoria
Société Francophone de Victoria Société historique francophone de la C.-B. Victoria Historical Society