Glendon Campus
York University
2275 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M4N 3M6
Glendon’s Francophone Week a Tapestry of Special Events


Glendon celebrated Francophone Week from the 21st to the 24th of March with a fun-filled program, underlining the importance of French culture and language on this campus. Associate Principal (Student Services) Louise Lewin’s opening remarks launched a series of musical, theatrical, cinematic and culinary events which offered something for everyone.

Left: High-school students from College Avenue Secondary School in Woodstock, Ont., visited Glendon and took part in the Francophone Week celebrations

French-Canadian folk singer Pierre Sabourin from Alberta, and
Polly-Esther, a Francophone female duo from Saskatoon – who sang original songs and accompanied themselves on the violin and the guitar - entertained the standing-room-only crowd in the Dining Hall. The setting was café-style and Chartwell Food Services provided a full-course lunch at a very favourable price. Glendon community members were joined by special visitors: over a dozen students from College Avenue Secondary School in Woodstock, Ont. They were invited by the Recruitment and Liaison team to enjoy the warm and friendly reality of living bilingually on the Glendon campus. “I want my students to experience French as a living, everyday language outside the classroom and Glendon is the best choice for this within the Toronto area”, said their teacher, Mme Marie Leduc.

Other activities included a documentary film about the cultural renaissance of the Acadians, with the film’s director, Anne-Marie Rocher in attendance. An open discussion followed the screening, hosted by Amal Maddibo, professor of Canadian multiculturalism and ethnicity. Other dignitaries included Ontario Supreme Court Judge Paul Rouleau, Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts and Prof. Yves Frenette, Chair of Glendon’s Multidisciplinary Studies Department.

Theatre Glendon was the site of a colourful Molière pageant during Tuesday’s lunch hour, displaying 17th-century characters in beautiful costumes and masks. This was a teaser, a preview inviting “the good folk” to attend the full one-act performance of Molière’s Sganarelle – or the Imaginary Cuckold, presented every evening throughout the rest of the week.

Left: Martine Rheault, director of Glendon's Cultural and Artistic Affairs, with a platter of strawberries next to the chocolate dessert fountain

On Thursday a fabulous lunch, “The Gourmet Buffet of the Francophonie” was sold out for both sittings, with a menu reflecting the various Francophone cultures of the world: European, North-African, North-American, in a dazzling display of colour and imaginative choices. The highlight was a chocolate fountain, bubbling throughout the lunch, and enticing guests to dip their strawberries and pineapple chunks into the luscious molten delight.

Sganarelle – or the Imaginary Cuckold, presented by the students of the Drama Studies program, continued to impress audiences throughout the week. Written by Molière in 1660, and directed by Glendon drama professor Guillaume Bernardi, the play explored the humour and the pathos of misunderstandings between the sexes.

Upon entry into the theatre, audience members were greeted by a wandering minstrel and invited to sit on benches in the ‘town square’. The immense yet finely detailed set, complete with stone-paved ground beneath their feet, transported both actors and audience to Molière’s time and location, surrounding them with realistic buildings and homes of the period. Of special interest were the costumes and masks, creating a rich tapestry of the period.

Left: A scene from Molière's Sganarelle

Throughout the play, the actors' impeccable comic timing and rapport led to great bouts of laughter and applause from the crowd. The acting was often accentuated by live music provided by members of the Glendon Musical Ensemble under the direction of Paulo Bittencourt, adding to the authenticity of the experience. Everyone connected with the production: Professor Bernardi who directed, the student actors and musicians, the technical team, all received a great deal of well-merited praise for this superb achievement of organization and cultural know-how.

Glendon Director of Cultural and Artistic Affairs, Martine Rheault, and the Office of the Associate Principal (Student Services) Louise Lewin were the moving force behind the Francophone Week’s oustanding programs and thus providing a memorable celebration of French language and culture on campus.

Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny

Published on April 7, 2005