Unveiling of Collège Boréal’s Armorial Bearings
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Unveiling of Collège Boréal’s Armorial Bearings and
a Discussion with Students
Sudbury, Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Before Collège Boréal was established in 1995, there was little opportunity for Francophone high school students to continue their education in French in Northern Ontario.
If they chose a path other than university, their only options were to enrol in an English-language program or leave the area.
Many lost their French along the way or lost interest in returning to Northern Ontario and contributing to its development.
This meant that the community was deprived of its strongest resources.
But 15 years ago, things turned around.
Some local Francophones decided that this gap had to be addressed: a French-language college was needed.
A college with satellite campuses that would meet local needs and labour market requirements in an economy based primarily on forestry and mining.
For the Franco-Ontarian community here, this was not just a matter of access and fairness; the community’s very future was at stake.
Fast-forward 15 years, and you have a college with 2,000 students in full-time programs, 4,800 in continuing education, and 500 in apprenticeship and trades programs.
The coat of arms being unveiled today is a reflection of your extraordinary vitality, your vision of education and your profound attachment to the French language and culture, which resonate in your voices and in your hearts.
The mottos you have chosen, “Nourrir le savoir” and “Faire vibrer la culture” — nourishing knowledge and vitalizing culture — are testimony to this.
These armorial bearings also illustrate your special bond with the area and with the Aboriginal cultures that have called it home for thousands of years.
The coat of arms is the fruit of a long thought process, in which the heralds of Canada cooperated closely.
Indeed, I would like to take a moment to recognize Ms. Claire Boudreau, Herald at the head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, who has joined us here today. As you have seen, Ms. Boudreau’s commitment is equalled only by her passion for this age-old art form and science known as heraldry.
Heraldry was born of our basic human need to tell others who we are, where we’re from and where we are headed. Our need to affirm and express what makes us “us.”
This also holds true for institutions such as yours, which are entities unto themselves.
Although still young, Collège Boréal is part of a tradition, which you are called to carry on, after your own fashion.
In a short period of time, Collège Boréal has become one of the finest French-language educational institutions in Ontario and Canada.
It is a place that imparts not only knowledge and know-how, but also a language, a culture and an identity that the Franco-Ontarian community holds high like a torch, to be passed on to the generations to come.
Let us hope, in this year marking Collège Boréal’s 15th anniversary, that these armorial bearings will help perpetuate a strong Francophone identity, of which our young people will be proud, and will help your institution to weave itself into history while looking to the future.
This is a truly moving moment, and I am so happy to be here to witness it alongside these young people who will, in a few moments, share with us their conception of the Francophone culture and the way in which they can enrich it and extend its reach.
Long live Collège Boréal!