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"Ontario's Quiet Revolution"

“Men and women of French origin have played a significant role in the development of Ontario for more than three centuries, beginning with the explorers and fur traders of New France. This role continues today through the Franco-Ontarian community . . . Its strength, vitality, accomplishments and potential are immense. Ontario – indeed all of Canada – is far the richer and stronger for the presence of these French-speaking residents.” John P. Robarts, Premier of Ontario 1961-71 [Source: Ontario Department of Education, Information Branch, “French in Ontario Schools,” An Address by Hon. J.P. Robarts to l’Association Canadienne des Éducateurs de langue-française, Ottawa, 24 August, 1967. Toronto: Queen’s Printer, 1968]

In the 1960s, Ontario’s Quiet Revolution was a period of significant reform related to the rights and opportunities of French speakers in Ontario. On the occasion of the Centennial Year Convention of l’Association Canadienne des Éducateurs de langue-française, meeting in Ottawa on August 24, 1967, Premier Robarts announced the intention of his government to provide, within the public school system of Ontario, secondary schools in which the language of instruction would be French. He declared that, “the potential contribution of Franco-Ontarians to our society is too great to allow them to dissipate their energies and abilities because they are denied adequate opportunities for furthering their education to the utmost of their abilities.” The legislation establishing French-language public elementary and secondary schools was passed by his government and took effect on January 1, 1969.

Read “Ontario’s Quiet Revolution,” by Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust – an article from the May 2012 edition of Heritage Matters entitled Understanding the French experience in Ontario