It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Jacques de Courville Nicol. He passed away at the age of 79 after a long illness.
Mr. de Courville Nicol adopted Franco-Ontarian identity at an early age. He quickly became a pillar and luminary in many movements affecting Ontario’s Francophonie over the last 50 years. He was certainly a leader in the Francophone business world across the province.
His last great battle was to have the City of Ottawa recognized as an officially bilingual city. He was national coordinator of the Movement for an Officially Bilingual Capital of Canada (MOCOB). But was there ever a campaign that he wasn’t involved in? He fought for the recognition of French at Laurentian University in Sudbury, the establishment of the collège La Cité in Ottawa, the retention of the Montfort Hospital and École secondaire publique De La Salle’s centre of excellence, and even the adoption of the French Language Services Act! The record of his activities reads like a chronology of French Ontario in a period of turmoil, struggle and creativity and in circumstances that were notably less “easy” than the situation we have today. And if it is easier today, it is precisely because of his involvement in establishing key institutions, such as the management of our schools, institutions where we can grow.
His involvement and dedication were recognized by the community on a number of occasions and with many great honours.
A businessman, staunch defender of Ontario’s Francophone community, and proud family man, Mr. de Courville Nicol’s passing is an inestimable loss for the entire Franco-Ontarian community. If you open the dictionary to the word “builder,” you will find his name there in capital letters. He gave the gift of self-confidence to a generation of Franco-Ontarians, in particular by founding the Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la région d’Ottawa. He was definitely not born to be a bit player. For him, being in business was a question of autonomy and independence so that he could better support his family, his community and his country. He always advocated early instruction in financial literacy at school, even in elementary school for the principles of saving, and in high school regarding investing. Not a bad idea, by the way.
On behalf of the team at the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner, we extend our sincere condolences to his family, especially his daughter Isabelle and son-in-law François, and to his friends and loved ones. We are very grateful to the family for sharing this great man with an entire community for such a long time!