Société francophone de Maillardville is Keeping it ‘Seriously francophone!’

Festival du Bois Coquitlam Maillarville 2013

Here in the Tri-Cities we are fortunate to have our own francophone community in Maillardville. A big part of keeping our French Canadian heritage alive is the Société francophone de Maillardville.

Remembering the Past, Helping People in the Present

Offices of the Société francophone de Maillardville

Offices of the Société francophone de Maillardville

Maillardville has its own rich and storied history dating back to 1909. While the Société francophone de Maillardville cannot trace its history back that far, it does reach back to a founding date of 1983 – before its inception there were 11 francophone associations serving the francophone community of about 13,000 people. The Société primarily promotes francophone and francophile culture and activities, but also provides valuable services to this community. Specifically, services in French for new immigrants and assisting French language speakers that are new to the area in their transition to life in the Tri-Cities.

With only seven staff members and about 12 volunteers, the Société takes on about 20 cases a year assisting new immigrant families adapt to a new life. Most of these families are arriving from central and eastern Africa and Maghreb, only a few are from Canada or Europe. Primarily these new arrivals need help in finding employment like preparing resumés, preparing for interviews and the other tools needed for an independent life in the Tri-Cities.

Festival du Bois

Société francophone de Maillardville

Library at the Société francophone de Maillardville

Most Tri-Cities residents have heard of the most prominent event on the Société calendar, the annual Festival du Bois. This year it’s happening from March 1-3, 2013. During festival time, the volunteer ranks of the Société francophone de Maillardville swells to over 350 people! The Festival du Bois is the largest and best-attended Francophone festival on the West Coast of Canada, with about 17,000 attendees over its three day run. Events include music, storytelling, kid events and, of course, food celebrating Francophone culture. For complete event information, check out the website at

festival logo (2)

Parlez-Vous Francais?

Of particular interest to me was another service offered by the Société, the very popular French language classes. As a parent of a recently enrolled French Immersion Kindergarten student, I have a new, vested interest in francophone culture and language in the Tri-Cities. Having been exposed to French only via public education, I do have some vocabulary to draw upon, but I will soon be surpassed by my daughter. This has spurred me onto the notion of improving my French language skills.

The Société francophone de Maillardville provides French language instruction for the likes of me (more information may be found on their website or by contacting them) as well as access to a library of French videos and books for a nominal fee. It may be that the videos and books will be the extent of my ‘immersion’ into francophone culture but it’s a start and its never too soon to get prepared to order your lunch en français at the Festival du Bois!

Société francophone de Maillardville

942-B Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam

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