FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has joined with other provincial governments in welcoming the federal government announcement of $ 2.4 million to develop a Francophone Heritage, Cultural and Tourism Corridor in recognition of the contribution of francophones to the Canadian identity to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

“This corridor will constitute a permanent legacy, thereby fulfilling a request supported by the provinces and territories,” said Economic Development Minister Francine Landry who is also minister responsible for La Francophonie. “Our government welcomes this positive initiative which supports our economic and promotional efforts and those of other francophone communities in the country. The corridor will be an opportunity for us to promote New Brunswick’s Acadie and our francophonie. We are a valued asset that makes us unique and helps in the development of our communities.”

For the ten million francophones and francophiles who traced, explored and named the country, the 150th anniversary Confederation is the perfect occasion to commemorate their historical footprint. The points of interest and tourism products that make up the corridor will be identified in partnership with the organizations involved, including provincial and territorial tourism departments. The towns and cities linked to the francophonie through history, culture and language will also be involved.

“Our two official languages are at the heart of who we are, and we are proud to support the French language and culture in Canada,” said Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly. “This project, adopted by all provinces and territories, will promote community development and make Canada’s francophone communities better known across Canada and around the world. It will leave a major legacy of the 150th anniversary of Confederation for the country’s francophones and francophiles.”

The project emerged from the 2015 Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie in Toronto, which brought together the provincial and territorial ministers responsible for francophone affairs. The corridor will highlight the tourist attractions of all provinces and territories in Canada with a francophone cultural heritage.

“The Francophone Heritage, Cultural and Tourism Corridor is a significant unifying initiative for the Canadian francophonie and for all Quebeckers and Canadians. French is the common language in Quebec and a key part of our distinct identity, an identity that resonates across Canada thanks to the 2.6 million other francophones and francophile Canadians,” said Jean-Marc Fournier, Quebec’s minister responsible for Canadian Relations and the Canadian Francophonie. “Our government will actively contribute to the corridor’s development in Quebec to make it a platform of choice for our regional culture and tourism attractions and as a clear economic driver. Let’s continue to work together for the French language and culture!”

The corridor will connect points of interest across the country based on their cultural and heritage value, thereby strengthening the tourism sector of the Canadian francophonie and the economic vitality of francophone and Acadian communities. Funding will also be used to develop high-quality tourism products offering French-language services, special signage, a website and mobile applications. It is planned that the corridor will be launched by July 1.

“The Francophone Heritage, Cultural and Tourism Corridor will showcase the Canadian francophonie overall while promoting the unique expression and development of Ontario’s francophonie,” said Marie-France Lalonde, Ontario’s minister responsible for Francophone Affairs. “On both national and regional levels, this high-profile project is a testament to the attachment of each francophone community to its history and heritage as well as a tool for promoting a renewed and tailored tourism offer. The Ontario section follows Samuel de Champlain’s route through our waterways and well represents the breadth of tourism attractions that make Ontario a destination of choice. The corridor will not only showcase our heritage beyond our borders but will also bring together francophone communities across the province and the country and stimulate co-operation and development of new integrated and complementary tourism products.”

“I wish to express my deepest congratulations to the ministers from Ontario and Quebec, and all governments across the country who led us to this important announcement for the Canadian francophonie,” said Michel Samson, Nova Scotia Minister of Acadian Affairs and Francophonie.