A woman in period costume eats with a spoon, from a pot, at the Sainte-Marie-des-Hurons outdoor historical site.

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

Francophone arts and culture

A woman in period costume eats with a spoon, from a pot, at the Sainte-Marie-des-Hurons outdoor historical site.

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

Feed your appetite for Francophone culture with exhibitions, festivals and visits to historic sites that showcase French-Canadian heritage and the best of Francophone talent.

Celebrate Franco-Ontarian arts and culture! There is something for everyone—inspiring artistic exhibitions, moving theatrical presentations, and heritage sites that bring Franco-Ontarian history to life.

Here is a list of must-see French-language theatrical and performing arts experiences, film festivals, museums, heritage sites, walking tours and cultural centres to add to your travel itinerary.

Every cultural site in French Ontario provides services in French. Refer to the National Classification of Services in French, which shows the level of service offered in French at each facility.

For more information on Francophone experiences in Ontario, RouteChamplain.ca and Salut Canada offer a ton of helpful tips on things to do, places to see and routes to explore.

Francophone theatre and performing arts

Theatre and the performing arts have played an important role in Franco-Ontarian identity, particularly since the 1970s when Franco-Ontarians decided to create characters in their own image. Today, there are many opportunities to attend plays in French throughout Ontario. Professional and community troops provide a vast array of offerings.


This local organization is dedicated to promoting the performing arts and heritage-themed events within the City of Greater Sudbury. Both in-person and virtual programs are offered, providing audiences with lots of ways to attend and support local performers.

Bilingual performances feature both Francophone and English talent.

Location: Sudbury

Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario

Rooted in Northern Ontario, the Théatre du Nouvel-Ontario was founded in 1971 by young artists eager to perform and recognize themselves on stage. Even today, the professional company favours contemporary works that promote social reflection. The TNO supports Francophone authors and creators from Ontario and throughout Canada.

Location: Place des Arts – Greater Sudbury, 27 Larch Street, Sudbury

La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins (LNSGD)

This performing arts centre for French-language theatre houses Ottawa theatre companies and features innovative and interdisciplinary performances by groups from across the country.

Their performing arts program includes theatre, music, dance and performance, with two theatres and a terrace bar for pre- or post-performance refreshment.

Location: 333 King Edward Avenue, Ottawa

Théâtre français de Toronto (TfT)

This French-language theatre company presents both repertoire and original works, supporting French and Francophone theatrical talent. Performances are held both virtually online and in-person at the Berkeley Street Theatre.

Location: 26 Berkeley Street, Toronto

Franc’Open Mic

The first Francophone open mic stage in Toronto, Franc'Open Mic offers artists a venue for free expression in French. Hosted at Free Times Café, the shows are open to anyone who wants to perform in French, from beginners to more experienced artists.

Comics and improv artists, actors and singer-songwriters are just a few of the many talents eager to entertain you.

Location: 320 College Street, Toronto

Several professional companies co-exist in Ottawa and Toronto and community troops are active in Kingston, Toronto, Sudbury and Timmins. There are also improvisation leagues in Toronto and Ottawa.

Francophone film

Ontario is home to some of the best Francophone film festivals in the country, with events and screenings that showcase both French Canadian and international talents.


With three annual festivals and film screenings held both in theatre and online, Cinéfranco promotes the best in French Canadian and international cinema throughout the year—from hilarious comedies to inspiring documentaries and scary thrillers.

The Festival’s Main Program is one of the most important international Francophone film festivals in English Canada. The event showcases 40 Francophone films and unites thousands of film lovers who get to vote for their favourite film.

Location: Imagine Cinemas Carlton Cinema, 20 Carlton Street, Toronto

Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF)

Francophone film buffs will want to check out the special programming offered by this film festival for Francophone cinema, which takes place in late October and early November. The program’s films cover a wide range of genres, showcasing the best in French-language cinema.

Location: various locations in Windsor; tickets can be purchased at the Box Office, at the Chrysler Theatre and the Armories, Windsor


The Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival runs for nine days in September and hosts approximately 35,000 film enthusiasts each year. Cinéfest focuses on artistic quality, excellence and diversity of genres, voices and experiences. The festival showcases the works of Indigenous and Francophone filmmakers.

Location: SilverCity Sudbury, 355 Barrydowne Road, Sudbury

Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the world's largest film events. The festival shows on average more than 300 films from over 60 countries and attracts more than 280,000 film enthusiasts. It has become a launching pad for international, Hollywood and Canadian film. The festival continues year-round thanks to the TIFF Bell Lightbox room. 

Location: Toronto

Francophone museums and heritage sites

The cultural heritage of Francophone communities—dating all the way back to the earliest arrival of French settlers in the country—is showcased at many fascinating museums and historic sites throughout the province: A full list of Ontario museums and Ontario Heritage Trust sites is available in French on both sites.

Ancienne Prison de L'Orignal Old Jail

Built in 1825, this is the oldest jail in Ontario and the second oldest in Canada. The jail  is open seasonally and offers guided tours to visitors who want to know what the lives - and punishment - of inmates were like in the 19th century.

Exhibitions and special tours provide visitors with information on the history of the justice system in Ontario and the role of the prison in the Franco-Ontarian village of L’Original.

Location: 1023 Queen Street, L'Orignal

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

Not to be missed if you’re travelling around Georgian Bay, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was founded in 1639 as a French Jesuit Mission to the Huron-Wendat people. Serving for 10 years as the country’s first European headquarters, the site featured barracks, two churches, workshops, homes and a curious water canal.

Destroyed in 1649, the buildings have since been rebuilt, and costumed guides offer a vivid glimpse into what life was like in 17th century Ontario.

Location: 16164 Highway 12 East, Midland

Martyrs’ Shrine

The National Shrine to the Canadian Martyrs is an imposing building that commemorates an equally profound history. Dedicated to Saint Jean de Brébeuf and his companions, the French Jesuit missionaries who founded and managed the nearby settlement of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, the sanctuary is located in the picturesque valley of the Wye River. Learn about the vital relationships between the martyrs’ and Indigenous Peoples in the 17th century.

Location: 16163 Highway 12 West, Midland

Heritage Sawmill Community Gathering Centre

A visit to the Francophone community of Hearst should include a visit to this centre, where history and culture come together. Preserving the fascinating and important stories of generations of pioneers who built this community, the centre is easy to spot — just look for the giant saw at the entrance.

Learn all about the region’s traditional forestry heritage, and why it’s so important to the locals. Experience the triumphs and challenges faced by the pioneers, which paved the way for Hearst to become a leader in Ontario’s lumber industry.

Location: 925 Alexandra Street, Hearst

The Hearst Ecomuseum

Located in one of the oldest houses in the Francophone community of Hearst, Maison Blais, this unique museum is run by volunteers and dedicated to celebrating and preserving both local and Franco-Ontarian cultural heritage.

Thematic exhibitions cover subjects as diverse as snow, toys and the history of local work. Don’t miss their collection of objects that trace the commercial and industrial evolution of the city and its surrounding area.

The museum is open seasonally, from June 1 to September 1, as well for Christmas and the local Carnival season.

Location: 53 Ninth Street, Hearst

Muséoparc Vanier Museopark

One of the few French-language museums in Canada outside Quebec, the Vanier Museopark is located in the center of an urban park, just five kilometres from downtown.

Vanier is home to a large Francophone community and was the headquarters of the secret society of the Commandeurs de l’Ordre de Jacques-Cartier, founded in 1926 to promote and defend French-Canadian culture. Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Francophone history and culture through various exhibits and events, the Museopark also hosts a Sugar Festival at its on-site and fully operational sugar shack.

Location: 300 Pères-Blancs Avenue #200, Vanier

Maison François Baby House

This permanent exhibition at Museum Windsor explores the deep and fascinating French roots of the Windsor region, the oldest continuously inhabited French colony west of Montréal.

Located in the 18th century home of local politician François Baby, the property was once a French-Canadian ribbon farm that was used as a headquarters for both the British and American forces during the War of 1812.

Location: 254 Pitt Street West, Windsor

Maison du patrimoine d'Orléans

Orléans Heritage House (Maison du patrimoine d’Orléans) is home to the Société franco-ontarienne du patrimoine et de l’histoire d’Orléans (SFOPHO)—a group dedicated to promoting the history of this French-Canadian community and its many heritage sites to both Francophones and Anglophones.

Location: 1420 Youville Drive #16, Orléans

Fort William Historical Park

One of the most important heritage sites in Canada, this enormous area—which has been reconstructed to bring its early 19th-century setting back to life—offers visitors the chance to experience an important phase of the fur trade era.

Once the headquarters of the North West Company — the largest fur trading company in the world — the fort comes to life through costumed guides. This company was formed through a unique partnership between European fur traders, First Nations peoples, the Métis, and French Canadians.

Watch birchbark canoe-making demonstrations, try some delicious bannock (a kind of sweet flatbread that was a must-have for voyageurs), listen to the songs of fur merchants, and pay a visit to the farrier, cooper and baker to watch them ply their trades.

Location: 1350 King Road, Thunder Bay

Sturgeon River House Museum

This museum showcases the diverse cultural and natural heritage of the West Nipissing region with exhibits on the fur trade era and the lives of pioneers from the 17th century to the early 20th century.

Enjoy a family picnic by the river in the museum’s inner courtyard, where you’ll also find a working forge and Major House, the home of a pioneer family. The museum also hosts concerts, plays and many other seasonal events.

Location: 250 Fort Road, Sturgeon Falls

Francophone cultural centres and organizations

Enrich your travel itinerary by choosing some of the cultural activities and special events presented by the Francophone community and cultural centres across the province. Find a list of cultural centres.

Mouvement d’implication francophone d’Orléans (MIFO)

MIFO is a vibrant cultural organization offering extensive French-language programming, including plays, dance performances, and an international film festival that promotes Canadian and foreign French-language cinema. Performances take place at the Shenkman Arts Centre.

Location: 6600 Carrière Street, Orléans

Alliance Française Toronto

This cultural organization offers a wide range of French-language cultural and educational programs and events for all ages, including exhibitions, performances, film screenings, special events, conferences and language courses.

Location: Various locations in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

Centre Culturel La Ronde

The Centre Culturel La Ronde seeks to promote and enrich French life in Timmins. La Ronde offers performances and various activities and organizes a large annual winter carnival.

Location: 32 Mountjoy Street North, Timmins

Les Compagnons des Francs-Loisirs

Les Compagnons des Francs Loisirs are at the heart of the Francophonie in the North Bay and Nipissing region. In addition to their annual cultural programming, they offer two major events during the year: Le Carnaval d’hiver (winter carnival) and La Fête de la St-Jean (Saint John the Baptist festival).

Location: North Bay

Centre régional de loisirs culturels

Located in the heart of Northern Ontario, the Centre régional de loisirs culturels has, over the years, become a pillar of the regional French community. In addition to its on-stage cultural programming, exhibitions and activities, the Centre régional de loisirs presents the annual Festival de la St-Jean de la région de Kapuskasing, the largest St. Jean celebration in Ontario. It also organizes a beer festival, Festibière, in the fall and a winter carnival.

Location: 7 Aurora Avenue, Kapuskasing

La Slague

Created by the Centre des jeunes de Sudbury in the 1960s, La Slague promotes Francophone art, music and cultural experiences in Greater Sudbury. Find an array of music and performing arts shows and celebrate Franco-Ontarian Day at the end of September at French Fest.

Location: Place des Arts – Greater Sudbury, 27 Larch Street, Sudbury

Centre francophone Hamilton

The Centre francophone Hamilton is a multidisciplinary and inclusive centre that promotes the French language. Each year, around St. Jean Baptiste Day, the Centre francophone Hamilton organizes FrancoFEST, a celebration for Francophones and francophiles.

Location: 56 Mulberry Street, Hamilton

For more information about Francophone experiences in Ontario, Salut Canada offers useful tips on things to do, places to see and routes to explore.

Last updated: May 28, 2024

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