The 2018 Meeting of the Francophone and Francophile Cities Network is wrapping up in the city. Over 100 representatives including mayors from the three founding cities came from across North America to discuss the best way to highlight French culture and tourism in their areas.
This is the first time the event has been held in western North America and Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given says it was a great opportunity for the city and for French-speaking residents.
“To be able to offer an opportunity for Grande Prairie residents to connect to this sort of global network of communities and understand that their French cultural heritage is meaningful and connects them to something larger is something really special.”
The three-day meeting has been held at both the Pomeroy Hotel & Conference Centre and the Montrose Cultural Centre since September 5. Given says that when the idea of participating in the conference was brought up to council a few years ago, some people were confused.
“I think there was a little bit of confusion about why Grande Prairie would participate in a Francophone Cities Network but the truth is we have a rich cultural heritage not only in Grande Prairie but in the entire Peace Country.”
Next year’s conference will be held in Moncton, NB from August 15-17, 2019. Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold says the conference will take place at the same time as another major French event.
“It’s going to take place during something called the World Acadian Congress so there will be Acadians from all over the world there. It’s also a huge conference so there will be all kinds of really fun activities going on at the same time.”
On Thursday night there will be a performance of Nouveau Monde at the Bowes Events Centre before the conference officially wraps up on Friday.