Several cities and towns throughout New England share a rich francophone heritage, and for years have strived to preserve their similar history. Everyone is familiar with the popular French motto, “L’ Union fait la force” ~ “Unity makes strength.” So true! Why not join forces to share this grand story of a people who courageously decided to explore the opportunities that awaited them across the U.S. border, in the textile cities and towns along New England’s powerful waterways?
This collaboration first began during the preparations leading to Quebec’s 400th Anniversary celebrations in 2008. At that time, representatives from each New England State, led by the Quebec Delegation in Boston, worked together to design and dedicate a monument in Quebec’s honor. The monument is located on the Promenade Samuel de Champlain, along the St. Lawrence River in Quebec City.
This was also when the states came together to celebrate Francophonie in New England, an annual month-long slate of programs and events celebrating the French language and culture centered on March’s International Day of Francophonie.
In the summer of 2017, leaders of non-profit organizations from Woonsocket, RI and Lewiston, Maine met at the Rendez-vous des Villes Francophones et Francophile d’Amérique in Quebec City, and decided to embark on the project. With the support of the Québec Délégation in Boston and the Centre de la Francophonie des Amériques in Québec, leaders from the cities of Manchester, NH and Biddeford, Maine joined this endeavor to link “les petits Canadas” of yesteryear through the Franco-Route of New England.