Ottawa’s Francophone leaders

The Ottawa Francophone community has been able to count on men and women who, through their courage and determination, have secured a better future for their community. Ardent defenders of French, they have fought epic battles not only to maintain the language, but also to support its development in various sectors of collective life. We have selected a dozen of these leaders, who left their mark at different points in our history. They deserve our admiration and respect.



Samuel Genest [ca. 1920]. Samuel Genest is one of the leading figures in the Franco-Ontarian resistance to Regulation 17 prohibiting the use of French in Ontario schools. In 1912, as president of the Ottawa Separate School Board, he instructs teachers to ignore the regulation. An Ottawa secondary school has carried the name Collège catholique Samuel-Genest since 1979.

Université d'Ottawa, CRCCF, Fonds Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario (C2), Ph2-33.

Black and white studio photograph, three-quarter view, of an elderly man with white hair, beard and mustache. He wears a white shirt, and pin-striped suit and tie, looking very distinguished.