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Under the theme “Honouring our B.C. Francophone History,” Adrian Dix, Minister of Health and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs in B.C., has announced that March 20, 2019, will be proclaimed B.C. Francophonie Day.

La Journée de la francophonie en Colombie-Britannique celebrates French language and the diversity of francophone cultures. Last year, British Columbians nominated places of significant historic value to the francophone community through the B.C. Francophone Historic Places Recognition Project. The B.C. government is formally recognizing 23 historic places rich in francophone history.

“Today, we celebrate the great contributions made by francophones to the development of the cultural, social and economic life of British Columbia,” said Dix. “This heritage recognition project demonstrates just how much the francophone community has contributed to the building of B.C.”

Last spring, a public nomination process, as part of the project, resulted in the nomination of more than 100 sites, including structures, buildings, districts and landscapes.

“Through the Provincial Heritage Recognition Program, we acknowledge the places and memories that are significant to the peoples that have contributed to the culturally diverse province that we experience today,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “This year, we will add these 23 francophone historic sites to the BC Register of Historic Places.”

The Francophone Historic Places Project is part of a collaborative project between the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development’s Heritage Branch and the B.C. Francophone Affairs Program through the Canada-British Columbia Agreement on French-language Services. The project is part of the Provincial Heritage Recognition Program, which seeks to identify and celebrate historic places for their diverse heritage values.

Places that receive formal recognition will be put forward for inclusion on the BC Register of Historic Places and submitted for inclusion on the Canadian Register of Historic Places. The recognized sites are included in an online map hosted on Heritage BC’s website. All the sites nominated by the community will be included within the next couple of weeks.

Each year, the Journée de la Francophonie honours the contribution of francophones to their communities. Dix recognized Gisèle Samson for her lifelong commitment to francophone history in British Columbia. Samson has been a member of the Association Historique Francophone de Victoria for 33 years. She is passionate about history and has worked on several partnership projects with the Government of B.C.