Volunteers and work crews are putting the finishing touches to the Université de Moncton as it prepares to host les Jeux de la Francophonie du Canada or Canadian Francophone Games.
For many, the week long event is more than just a sporting competition.
“There’s also some arts competition and leadership competition, so we have three fields of competition so that everyone,whether you’re into sports or not, has a chance to participate in the games.” said Joelle Martin, general manager of the games.
Launched in 1999 and held every three years, the games stress the importance of practicing sport and recreation in French as a means to promote the development of a Franco-Canadian culture.
The idea of hosting the Jeux de la Francophonie Canadienne was born out of the success of other competitions between young Francophones in other regions of the country.
Eventually, the many regional and provincial games prompted organizers to extend the celebrations to the entire Canadian community.
“It’s Francophones from all the provinces and the three territories of Canada, and in all of these regions they are in the minority, they speak French at home they go to French schools, we have English kids in French immersion,” said Eric-Mathieu Doucet, vice president of Jeux de la Francophonie Canadienne.
“But when they got out of the school system everything is in English, so this is their chance to live an experience for one week totally immersed in French.”
Close to 1000 athletes between the ages of 13 and 18 will participate in the games which kick off on Tuesday and run until Sunday.