New provincial plaque commemorates Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague School

SUDBURY — Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust, in partnership with the Uptown Sudbury Community Action Network (CAN), unveiled a provincial plaque commemorating the Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague School. The school is significant for its role in protecting access to French-language education during the challenging period of Regulation 17.

“The Uptown Sudbury Community Action Network (CAN) is thrilled to see the historical and linguistic significance of École Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague recognized with the installation of a provincial plaque,” said Cortney St-Jean, Chair of the Uptown Sudbury CAN. “This will be the icing on the cake for our CAN's efforts in successfully advocating to protect the exterior façade of the building with a heritage designation. The school's use of French as the language of instruction during the period where the provincial government enforced 'le règlement 17' in 1912 was made possible by a well-prepared and discreet plan collectively executed by our community. It is a great story of Sudbury's ability to resist language discrimination.”

“The Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague School played a crucial role in protecting and nurturing the French language and Franco-Ontarian identity in Sudbury,” added John Ecker, Chair, Board of Directors, Ontario Heritage Trust. “This new provincial plaque celebrates the strength and resilience of this community, and all those who were educated and taught at the school. The Trust is pleased to be in Sudbury to bring this story forward today, on Franco-Ontarian Day."

The plaque reads as follows:


    The protection of language and education rights has been an ongoing struggle in Franco-Ontarian history. Regulation 17 (1912-27) forbade teaching in French in Ontario's primary schools beyond Grade 2. Despite this, the Board of Trustees of the Roman Catholic Separate Schools of Sudbury (RCSSS) chose to separate English and French students by building the Central Separate School in 1915, where the English-speaking minority could have its own classes and the French-speaking majority could continue teaching in French between the provincial inspector's visits. In 1923, the school was renamed École Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague and, from this point forward, educated Franco-Ontarian pupils exclusively. Following the suspension of Regulation 17 in 1927, the trustees of the RCSSS persuaded Sudbury High School officials to subsidize a bilingual Catholic secondary program within Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague between 1930-40, an unusual scheme since it was prohibited by provincial law. In 1940, the French High School program was reduced to a simple French language course, folded into the regular English program, and transferred to the Sudbury High School, while Saint-Louis continued to be a French elementary school from 1923-2000. Although Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague closed in 2000, the school is a testament to the passive resistance of Franco-Ontarians to the suppression of their language in Ontario schools, as well as the beginnings of publicly funded French-language secondary education, which was fully recognized in 1968.

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For more information about the Ontario Heritage Trust, contact David Leonard, Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist, at 437-246-9065 or

For information about Uptown Sudbury Community Action Network, contact Cortney St. Jean at

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About the Ontario Heritage Trust

The Ontario Heritage Trust (the Trust) is an agency of the Government of Ontario. The Trust conserves, interprets and shares Ontario’s heritage. We conserve provincially significant cultural and natural, tangible and intangible heritage, interpret Ontario’s history, celebrate its diversity and educate Ontarians of its importance in our society. The Trust envisions an Ontario where we conserve, value and share the places and landscapes, histories, traditions and stories that embody our heritage, now and for future generations.