The passing of Gaëtan Gervais: a tribute to a great historian
Toronto – There is a profound sense of sadness in the hearts of all Ontario Francophones following the announcement of the passing of Mr. Gaétan Gervais. Ontario’s French Language Services Commissioner, Mr. François Boileau, would like to honour his memory and join other grieving Francophones to commemorate one of the most outstanding figures in the history of our country.
“Gaétan Gervais left an invaluable legacy for Francophone citizens of Ontario. In Francophone Ontario, he is a model for having successfully demonstrated the value of Franco-Ontarian studies, by combining his passion for history with his vision of Franco-Ontarian identity,” stated Mr. Boileau, French Language Services Commissioner. “He raised that famous green and white flag for the first time on September 25, 1975. Forty years later, this rallying symbol not only helped shape the future of the French language, but also instilled a sense of pride and solidarity in Francophones everywhere across the province,” he added.
After an impressive career, Mr. Gervais was able to dedicate himself to the full-time service of Ontario Francophonie. Guided by his passion for French Canadian history, he made an enormous contribution to planning a space devoted to the research and development of Franco-Ontarian studies, notably with the creation of the Institut Franco-Ontarien, the Revue du Nouvel-Ontario and the Cahiers Charlevoix.
“Historians write history. In addition to writing history, M. Gervais played an important role in our history.” added the Commissioner.
At this difficult time, the Office of the French Language Commissioner’s team extends its most sincere condolences to Mr. Gaétan Gervais’ family, and close friends.
- From 1981 to 1987, Gaétan Gervais was an assistant professor at Laurentian University and was also appointed as Director of the Comité de l’enseignement en français to revise and develop French language university programs.
- Between 1994 and 2013, he received many honours, including the Order of Canada, the Mérite Horace-Viau Award, and the Ordre du mérite Franco-Ontarien awarded by the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario (ACFO)
- In 2012, the Conseil scolaire Viamonde inaugurated a secondary school in Oakville, Ontario, which bears his name.
The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner reports directly to Legislative Assembly of Ontario and its mandate is to ensure that the delivery of government services complies with the French Language Services Act.