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St. Jean Baptiste Day Celebration at the Waterfront

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day is a great way to celebrate culture and language and invite the neighborhood too!" -- Lou Gagne

Les Compagnons des francs loisirs celebrated  at the Bandshell at North Bay’s waterfront on Saturday.

There were activities for the whole family starting at 2 pm. Live music entertained the crowd with performances by local bands and the Les Compagnons singing contest Star Academie.

Les Compagnons Executive Director Lou Gagne was all smiles in the sunny weather.

“This event has been growing for the past four years, la Saint-Jean. Saint-Jean is the patron saint of French culture and language. We’ve grown to include the community and hopeful to get a good turnout. It’s a great day and we are hoping people down here enjoying the water come on over.”

About 250 people enjoyed the breeze on the chartered cruise on The Chief Commanda II, sailing at 3 p.m.

Supper followed when the group docked back in North Bay.

Gagne said everyone had a musical treat with the headline act, En bref. “They were very popular in the French community in the 90’s. Now they are back together and touring and we were lucky to have them.”

A group eager to get to the festivities were kind to stop for a photo. Michelle St-Onge wouldn’t miss it. She also said she really appreciated Lou Gagne’s work to organize the cultural community get-together.

“Ordinarily it would be on the 24th but because Sturgeon Falls has a big concert going on so we didn’t want to be in conflict. We are celebrating. It is the time to spend and rejoice and be part of Le Francophone of our area. I’m very proud to be here with all my grandchildren and my mother-in-law. The rest of my family is all showing up. It’s to celebrate our culture and our language. We’re very passionate about it and it is lovely that we can do that here in North Bay.”   

The first Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day was in 1646. In 1880, the song O Canada was sung at the celebration. It became La fête nationale du Quebec in 1977 and is now a statutory holiday there June 24.

KA Smith

About the Author: KA Smith

Kelly Anne Smith was born in North Bay but wasn’t a resident until she was thirty. Ms.Smith attended Broadcast Journalism at Canadore College and earned a History degree at Nipissing University.
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