Magic brings Victoria French Fest to life

15th annual event brings together region’s francophones and francophiles

Musicians Chris Frye

Musicians Chris Frye

As the Capital Region prepares to celebrate its French roots and prominent francophone subculture with the 15th annual Victoria French Fest, there’s already a heady dose of magic in the air.

Esquimalt musician Chris Frye and the Analog Ghosts plan to add to the festival’s theme of magic when they open for renowned magician Alain Choquette on Friday (March 9), at 7:30 p.m. at the McPherson Theatre.

Frye, along with vocalist, keyboardist and saxophonist Brooke Maxwell, Joey Smith on upright bass and jazz drummer Kelby McNair, will perform tunes in French and English.

Their blend will be reflective of the bilingual festival, which draws some of the Capital Region’s estimated 7,000 francophones, whose first language is French, and some of the 30,000 francophiles, who speak French as a second language.

More than 4,000 children are enrolled in French immersion school programs in the region.

“And the numbers keep going up, so I think there is an interest in our community to speak both official languages,” said Marie-Pier Courbron, cultural services manager at the Victoria Francophone Society, which is organizing the festival.

“The festival really invites people of all cultures and backgrounds to celebrate together, and you just feel it all the way,” Frye said. “It’s very inclusive, which is what Victoria is all about.”

The festival, running tomorrow through Sunday, includes free events at Centennial Square on Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

There will be French food, an arts fair, live entertainment, balloon and face-painting artists, bouncy castles and military displays.

A French-language guided tour of Victoria, which costs $5, leaves from the square on Saturday at 1 p.m.

A free circus arts workshop for children age three to eight will happen inside the lobby of the McPherson Theatre on Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m.

Then at 4 p.m. Cirque du Soleil co-founder and performer, clown Ben Labarouette, will take the McPherson stage with his Dream Circus act. Tickets are required.

For event details, please visit www.francocentre.com or call 250-388-7350.

emccracken@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Proposed design for the Topaz Park bike and skate park elements. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Victoria requesting feedback on Topaz Park redesign

Public input now being taken for proposed skate, bike park ideas

Improving safety at Keating Cross Road and the Pat Bay Highway is the goal of the flyover project currently in the works. The province aims to reveal the final cost and design this fall. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Final budget, design of Keating flyover in Central Saanich still in the works

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says information coming by this fall

Colin Davidson won $100K on a Set for Life scratch ticket in Sooke. (BCLC photo)
Sooke man does ‘happy dance’ after scratching a $100,000 Set for Life win

Colin Davidson plans to renovate his home and invest in his daughter’s education

West Shore RCMP K9 Halla. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sound of RCMP dog enough to stop suspects in Oak Bay

West Shore RCMP K9 unit called in, didn’t get to chase

Saanich Neighbourhood Place is hoping to open the doors to its new centre in July, pending final council approval. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich childcare agency awaits final approval on much-needed new facility

Saanich Neighbourhood Place keen to open new centre this summer, expand options for community

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Island man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Most Read