Experience French language, music, heritage and cuisine in Ontario.
Ontario is home to Canada’s largest Francophone population outside of Quebec with communities located across the province.
Franco-Ontarians are mainly concentrated in eastern and northeastern Ontario in key Francophone cities like Ottawa, Sudbury, North Bay and Timmins. East of Ottawa, the counties of Prescott-Russell and Stormont Dundas Glengarry are rich in Francophone culture. However, Toronto is also home to a fast-growing Francophone population and many cultural offerings in French. The French presence can also be experienced in and around Windsor in the southwest.
From guided tours and museum exhibits to contemporary festivals and events, discover Ontario’s Francophone history. Uncover stories that helped define Canada’s diverse cultural mosaic and celebrate Franco-Ontarian Day each year on September 25.
French Language in Ontario
French Language Government Services
The French Language Services Act (FLSA) of 1986 recognizes the cultural contribution of Ontario’s French speaking population and the need to preserve this heritage for future generations. It stipulates services be available in French from Government of Ontario ministries and agencies in 26 designated areas, including cities, townships, counties and municipalities. These locations are home to a large number of Ontario’s French speaking residents.
In addition, there are over 250 designated agencies that provide services in French.
In 2021, the city of Ottawa enacted a Bilingualism Policy which committed that all city services be provided in both English and French.
For more information about government services in Ontario, visit Ontario.ca. Also find travel related services, such as buying a hunting or fishing card, information about provincial parks and camping and other travel activities.
Getting Here & Around
All international and domestic airlines and airports in Ontario are bilingual. You’ll also find French language service provided by most transportation companies such as VIA Rail, GO Transit, Ontario Northland and Coach Canada.
French Language Media
Le Droit is a daily French language newspaper published in Ottawa-Gatineau. For visitors to Toronto, L’Express is a Toronto based newspaper, and Grand Toronto lists French-language events in the city.
French language community radio stations include Hearst (CINN 91.1 FM), Kapuskasing (CKGN 89.7 and 94.7 FM), Penetanguishene (CFRH 88.1 FM), Toronto (CHOQ 105.1 FM), Cornwall (CHOD 92.1 FM) and Ottawa (CJFO 94.5 FM), as well as Radio-Canada ICI Première and ICI Musique.
Champlain’s Ontario Tourism Route
Since the expeditions of early French explorers like Étienne Brûlé, Jacques Cartier and most notably, Samuel de Champlain over four centuries ago, followed by voyageurs, trappers and settlers, Francophone culture has taken root and flourished in Ontario.
Follow Champlain’s footsteps on one of five themed itineraries that celebrate our unique Franco-Ontarian culture.
Bilingual Attractions & Experiences
Create your own Francophone itinerary by visiting some of these bilingual museums, attractions and events.
Visit RouteChamplain.ca to discover more Francophone businesses in Ontario. Each operator has identified their level of French service, from services in French at all times, to French services on request to providing promotional items and/or documentation in French.
Live Music, Festivals & Events
Le Festival du loup
Celebrating all things Francophone, this annual festival takes place on the 3rd weekend in July and includes storytelling, musical entertainment and family friendly activities.
Location: Lafontaine near Midland
Bastille Day 2022
From perusing food markets, swaying to musical entertainment to watching dance performances, Toronto’s Bentway is the place to be on July 16 when French culture takes centre stage in celebration of Bastille Day 2022.
Performing Arts & Film
Toronto’s annual film festival brings French Canadian and international cinema to the big screen in February and March and promotes French language film throughout the year.
Location: Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West, Toronto
La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins (LNSGD)
A performing arts centre for Francophone theatre in Ottawa that hosts Ottawa-based theatre companies as well as interdisciplinary shows from groups across the country.
Location: 333 King Edward Avenue, Ottawa
Mouvement d’implication francophone d’Orléans (MIFO)
MIFO operates the Orléans Cultural Centre, presents performances at the Shenkman Arts Centre and offers a music school and art gallery.
Location: 6600 Carrière Street, Orléans
Théâtre français de Toronto
The TfT is a French-language theatre company presenting repertoire as well as original works. Shows are performed at the Berkeley Street Theatre.
Location: 26 Berkeley Street, Toronto
Franc'Open Mic is the first francophone open stage at Free Times Café in Toronto. The show is open for everyone from beginners to experienced artists who want to perform in French.
Location: 320 College Street, Toronto
History & Heritage
National Gallery of Canada
One of the largest art museums in North America showcasing Indigenous and Canadian art and amplifying diverse voices and talent from across the country.
Location: 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa
Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons
Founded in 1639, this French Jesuit Mission to the Huron-Wendat people served as the first European headquarters for ten years and featured barracks, a church, workshops and residences. The recreated attraction provides insight on the interaction between the Wendat nations and French visitors.
Location: 16164, Highway 12 East, Midland
Located below Parliament Hill at the Ottawa Locks of the Rideau Canal, this museum tells the story of the city, and is housed in the oldest building in Ottawa, Colonel By’s storehouse built in 1826.
Location: 1 Canal Lane, Ottawa
Canadian Museum of History
Facing Parliament from across the Ottawa River, Canada’s national museum of human history is one of the top attractions in Ottawa and features the Virtual Museum of New France.
Location: 100 Laurier Street, Gatineau
Peterborough Lift Lock & Museum
Get a fascinating look into the history and engineering marvel of the Peterborough Lift Lock and the Trent-Severn Waterway with models, exhibits and tours.
Location: 353 Hunter Street East, Peterborough
Muséoparc Vanier Museopark
This unique museum is dedicated to the preservation and progress of Francophone history and culture through various exhibits and events, including the Sugar Festival at its operational onsite sugar shack.
Location: 300 des Pères-Blancs Avenue, Vanier, Ottawa
Maison du patrimoine d'Orléans
Orléans is an east end suburb of Ottawa, and home to the Société franco-ontarienne du patrimoine et de l'histoire d'Orléans (SFOPHO), a group dedicated to promoting the history and heritage of the community to both Francophones and Anglophones. Book guided tours in advance.
Food & Drink
C’est Bon Cooking – ByWard Market Food Tour
Taste your way through one of Ottawa’s most popular attractions, the ByWard Market on this gourmet food tour. Meet the merchants, discover outstanding ethnic and fine food shops, and sample award-winning dishes.
Location: 200 Dalhousie Street, Ottawa
Brasserie Étienne Brulé Brewery
Enjoy the flavour of craft beers of Étienne Brûlé Brewery, an organic brewpub named after the famous explorer who is often considered the first true Franco-Ontarian.
Location: 893 Notre-Dame Street, Embrun
L'Autochtone Taverne Americaine
Anglo, Francophone and First Nations traditions are woven into the innovative menu at this bar & grill style eatery in downtown Haileybury.
Location: 484 Ferguson Ave Haileybury
Farms, Tours & Outdoor Attractions
Forêt Larose Forest
Approximately 60 km east of Ottawa and just outside the community of Clarence-Rockland, Larose Forest encompasses almost 200 km of multi-use trails that offer year-round outdoor adventure, from hiking to snowshoeing.
Rideau Canal Cruises / Croisières Canal Rideau
Sail the Rideau Canal, take in amazing views of downtown Ottawa and enjoy the live, bilingual commentary on board a 100% electric vessel. Operates May to October.
Location: 2 Rideau Street, Ottawa
Paul’s Boat Line
Board the Paula D for a scenic and thorough 1.5 hour cruise along the Ottawa River, the same waterway that carried French explorer Samuel de Champlain on to new adventures. There’s a licenced canteen and bar on the lower deck.
Location: 2 Rideau Street, Ottawa
This rustic rural attraction is a popular wedding venue, as well as an operational sugar shack during maple syrup season. Visit for a self-serve maple inspired pancakes meal, including maple taffy, and let your little ones enjoy tubing, bouncy castles and a playground.
Location: 1230 Route 400, Casselman
Les Fruits du Poirier
Organically grown fruits, berries and vegetables on a farm located in the rural community of St- Eugène in the township of East Hawkesbury.
Location: 2535 Concession Road 3, St-Eugène
With nature trails, maple syrup production, pick-your-own summer berries, seasonal veggies and a Pumpkinfest each fall, there’s always something fun at this French Canadian family owned farm.
Location: 1865 Chemin O’Toole, Cumberland
Cedar Meadows Resort & Spa
This upscale resort brings to you the edge of northern Ontario’s majestic wilderness while also treating you to ultimate comfort and luxury. Take a tractor-drawn wagon tour of the wildlife park to view bison, elk and deer. Savour contemporary Canadian cuisine inspired by Northern Ontario’s Francophone heritage in the Voyageur Dining Room.
Location: 1000 Norman Street, Timmins
Fairmont Château Laurier
Ottawa’s gorgeous heritage castle-like hotel located within walking distance from some of the most prominent attractions like Parliament, the Rideau Canal, ByWard Market and the National Gallery of Canada.
Location: 1 Rideau Street, Ottawa
Additional Francophone Resources
Last updated: September 26, 2022