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Web-users’ favorite Francophone Québécois – Part E (#312)

This post will provide the next two personalities voted by web-users as being their favorite Francophone Québécois (versus the earlier list of favorite Anglophone Québécois I provided several posts ago).

21.  Émile Nelligan

  • Poet (Born & lived in Montréal – died 1941)
  • He was half Irish, half Québécois French.
  • If you spend any time in Québec, you undoubtedly will run across his name many times (streets, buildings, and institutions are named after him).
  • His career as a poet was extra short (a psychological disability made it so he had to cease writing poetry at the age of 20 years, in 1899).
  • It was only after going insane at age 20 that the poetic works he wrote as a teenager were publish.   They were met with such acclaim in the early 1900s that he was heralded as one of Canada’s greatest French-language poets.
  • Interest in his works went well beyond his death in 1941.


Here is one of his better-known poems (this might be a good learning exercise if you’re working to improve your French (translation provided below).

Le Vaisseau d’Or
Ce fut un grand Vaisseau taillé dans l’or massif:
Ses mâts touchaient l’azur, sur des mers inconnues;
La Cyprine d’amour, cheveux épars, chairs nues,
S’étalait à sa proue, au soleil excessif.
Mais il vint une nuit frapper le grand écueil
Dans l’Océan trompeur où chantait la Sirène,
Et le naufrage horrible inclina sa carène
Aux profondeurs du Gouffre, immuable cercueil.
Ce fut un Vaisseau d’Or, dont les flancs diaphanes
Révélaient des trésors que les marins profanes,
Dégoût, Haine et Névrose, entre eux ont disputés.
Que reste-t-il de lui dans sa tempête brève?
Qu’est devenu mon coeur, navire déserté?
Hélas! Il a sombré dans l’abîme du Rêve!


The Ship of Gold
It was a massive Ship carved out of solid Gold,
Its masts reaching azure, she sailed on unknown seas
With Aphrodite of love spreading out at the prow,
Hair dishevelled and naked under excessive sun.
But it came that the ship one night struck the great reef
On treacherous Ocean where the Siren was singing.
The horrible shipwreck tilted the hull aslant
Deep down the abyss depth, immutable coffin.
It was a Gold Vessel. Her diaphanous sides
Were revealing treasures that the secular crew,
Disgust and Neurosis, and Hatred, fought over.
What’s left of it after the brief abating storm?
What became of my heart, empty deserted ship?
Alas, it has sunk down in the abyss of Dream.

Translation posted pursuant to meeting copyright conditions stipulated pursuant to © copyright 2015 Hamilton-Lucas Sinclair

22.  Régine Chassagne

  • Singer / Multi-instrumentalist (Montréal, born & raised)
  • I would not have thought to have put Régine Chassagne on this list.  But as soon as I saw her name as one of the most well-liked Québécois, I thought to myself “What a great choice!”

Ré Cha

Here is a little insight I can offer you about Chassagne…

  • Famous for what I would describe as folk-jazz pop”.  Never heard of such a combination?  Wait until you see the YouTube videos below – it’s worth a listen.
  • I think most people refer to her as a “Jazz” singer, but she add a new-age beat with contemporary instrument combinations to what traditionally would be Jazz – and thus creates a whole new music genre.
  • Although she was born in 1977, her career took off in the early 2000s and continues to this day.
  • She is regularly featured as a prominent guest at music festivals around Québec.
  • She is known to often pick up one of a half dozen instruments, and flawlessly incorporate them into her songs – adding a sort of flare which few other singers are able to match.
  • Her music incorporates Haitian folk traits (her parents are Haitian immigrants to Canada)

I’ll see if I can wrap up the remaining “favourites” in the next posts.



You are going to know a lot more about Québec after this series of posts


Web-users’ favorite Francophone Québécois – Part D (#311)

This post continues the list of web-users’ favourite Francophone Québécois.

16.  Gabriel Aubry

  • Model (Montréal)
  • Born in 1975.
  • Best known for his international modeling appearances for some of the highest end Italian fashion houses, in addition to others such as Calvin Klein, Nautica, and Tommy Hilfiger.
  • He is one of the top earning male models in the world.
  • Has a child with his former partner, Halle Berry.
Here’s an exercise to test your patience: 

See if you can sit through the entire video below.  If you can, you are certainly more patient than me (I can tell you I couldn’t!).

17.  Félix Leclerc

  • Poet, Singer Songwriter (Born in La Tuque, lived much of his life in Montréal).
  • He also made television programs, acted, was an author, and made films.
  • Born 1914, died 1988.  Known for his songs and life as a singer from 1950s onward.
  • Leclerc is one of the most historic figures in Québec’s history – known as the “Father of Québec Song”.
  • His fame is made even more pertinent owing to his role in Québec’s modern history, particularly his contributions to Québec’s nationalist awakening (which makes him a hero for many in the nationalist movement).
  • Difficult to not find roads, schools, events, and awards named after him.  A case in point; the Félix Awards (also known as the ADISQ awards) are Québec’s equivalent of the Juno or Grammy’s, and are named after Félix Leclerc.
  • Some of his better known songs are:
    • La Fille De L’île
    • Le P’Tit Bonheur
    • Le Train Du Nord
    • Le Beau Blé
    • L’Hymne Au Printemps
    • Bozo

18.  Raymond Bourque

  • Hockey Player (Montréal)
  • Multi-record holder with the NHL.
  • 21 years with the Boston Bruins (retired in 2001).   Last team played for was the Colorado Avalanche.
  • To this day, he still has the most career goals, assists, and points by a defenceman (wikipedia’s wording).  A very tall order, considering he has already been retired for 15 years.

19.  Karine Vanasse

  • Actress (Born in Drummondville, moved to Montréal).
  • One of Québec’s best known and most prolific actresses, in both French and English.
  • The part of her career saw her act in the successful French-language films :
    • Séraphin: Heart of Stone,
    • Polytechnique
    • French Immersion (C’est la faute à Trudeau)
  • In the successful French-language television series :
    • 30 vies
    • Octobre 1970
  • In the successful English-language films:
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past
    • Midnight in Paris
  • In the successful English-language television series:
    • South Park (voice of Wendy)

An ENGLISH language interview with George S.:

A FRENCH language interview on Tout le monde en parle:

20.  Thérèse Casgrain

  • Political Activist from Montréal (feminist, reformer, politician and senator).  1896 to 1981.
  • Built upon the waves of earlier suffrage movements in other provinces of Canada and brought them to Québec’s political landscape to fight for the right for women to be able to vote provincially in Québec (after the right had already been accorded in other provinces in Canada).
  • Thérèse Casgrain is to Québécois what Nellie McClung is to Albertans.  In fact, when we look at Casgrain’s activist history play out in detail, I personally believe she looked to McClung and her Alberta experience for inspiration (however, that is an angle of history you will NEVER see taught in Québec text books… [sigh]).
  • Became one of the first women politicians in Québec after winning the fight for women to vote in provincial politics in 1940.  Was a candidate for numerous political parties at a Federal level from the 1940s onward, but did not enter parliament until she was appointed a senator by PM Trudeau in 1970.

This is a video how many people remember Casgrain (clear spoken, firm, and convincing).


There are still 5 more people to name in the list of net-users’ favorite Francophone Québécois.

Web-users’ favorite Francophone Québécois – Part C (#310)

Picking up where we left off a couple of posts ago, let us now look at the #11 to #15 spots of web-users’ “favourite“ Québécois.

If you haven’t noticed already, athletes hold a prominent place in people’s minds when they think of their favorite personalities.  But then again, that shouldn’t come as too much a surprise.  Québec, like the rest of Canada, takes hockey, international titles, and its Olympians very seriously.

11.  René Levesque

  • Politician (Born in New Brunswick.  Raised in New Carlisle, Gaspésie region.  Lived much of his adult life in Montréal and Québec City)
  • Long-time, well-known reporter and international correspondent for Radio-Canada.
  • Founded the Parti Québécois.
  • Was one of the main political figures in Québec during the 1970s, the constitutional rounds of the early 1980s, and was the main figure who brought Québec nationalism into Québec (and Canadian) politics.   For most people, when they think of the politics of the end of the 1960s to the beginning of the 1980s, it is difficult to not think of René Levesque.
  • Although he passed away in 1987, he is still held in high regard in people’s minds.  His charismatic nature made him the “Jack Layton” of Québec’s nationalist politics – a personality which was difficult not to like (even for those who did not share his goals of Québec sovereignty).


12.  Anne Hébert

  • Author & Poet (Born north of Québec City)
  • Anne Hébert can be credited as being one of the finest French fiction and poetry authors in Canada’s and Québec’s modern incubation age (a 50 year period which encompassed the mid 20th century).
  • Because of her stature in such an era (one of only a handful of individuals), she played a hand in establishing and charting the National Film Board, Radio-Canada, and cementing literature as a desirable “home-grown” cultural institution in the minds of the public.
  • Hébert won the Governor General’s Award three times.
  • Her most well known works are
    • Torrent, and
    • Kamouraska (compulsory school curriculum reading in Francophone schools across Canada).
  • To show how appreciated she is across Canada, there is even a Francophone school in Vancouver, British Columbia named after her.

Here are some examples of her poetry.

13.  Martin Brodeur

  • Hockey Player (Montréal, born & lived).
  • Three-time Stanley Cup winner with the New Jersey Devils.
  • Two-time Olympic gold medalist in hockey.
  • Multi-record holder (wins, losses, shutouts, games played).
  • Retired last year.

14.  Jean Beliveau

  • Hockey Player (Longueuil / Montréal).
  • One of the other greats of NHL hockey history.
  • Multi-record holder who played for the Montréal Canadiens for 20 years (until 1971).
  • Known for having won more Stanley Cups than any other person.
  • Passed away in 2014.

15.  Geneviève Bujold

  • Actress (Montréal).
  • One of the few people in the acting profession to have held major roles in Québec films from the inception of the modern film industry of Québec, right until present (for more information on the timelime of these eras, refer to the previous post, Denys Arcand: A quick Québec film industry backgrounder)
  • Best known in her historic role of Anne Boleyn in the 1969 classic film Anne of the Thousand Days.
  • She’s still starting in roles today, and has become a living legend.

(As an aside, Bujold played in the 1973 classic, Kamouraska, based on Anne Hébert’s novel, which I mentioned above).

Here is a very nice interview with her in FRENCH on TFO (Ontario’s French public broadcaster).

Here is an interview in ENGLISH regarding the same film you saw in the above clips.

The next posts will continue to offer a list of web-users’ favorite Francophone Québécois & Québécoises.

La Franco-Fête de Toronto – la version torontoise des Francopholies (#309)

ADDENDUM 30-07-2015

Usually I add addendums at the end of blog posts, but owing to the significance of this one, I’ll it at the front.  By the end of this years Franco-fête in Toronto over the course of two weeks, 100 concerts took place with over 350 singers.  Estimates were that between 700,000 and 1,000,000 (million) people attended the concerts in Dundas Square at one point or another.  HUGE SUCCESS!

D’habitude j’ajoute des addendum à la fin des billets…  Mais compte tenu du succès de la Franco-fête cette année, je le crois une bonne idée de mettre cet addendum en haut du billet.   Durant les deux semaines de la Franco-fête, plus de 100 concerts ont eu lieu avec plus de 350 chanteurs participants dans la place Dundas à Toronto.   Les organisateurs croient qu’entre 700,000 et 1,000,000 (million) personnes l’ont assisté les concerts à un moment ou à un autre.  Un ÉNORME SUCCÈS!

I’m inserting a quick post about an event that is going on right now in Toronto (this will be of interest to followers in South-Central Ontario).

Franco-Fête is the Toronto equivalent of Les Francofolies de Montréal outdoor concert week (click here for last years’ post on Les Francofolies).  

Along with la Fête Franco-Ontarienne in Ottawa, FRANCO-FÊTE is one of the larger French-language concert weeks in Ontario.   This is my first year attending it, and there is no shortage of events!!

The main concerts are being held in downtown Toronto at Dundas Square, in addition to other venues all around the city.



Franco-Fête is going on right now.   Some of the big names, from various provinces this year are

  • Arianne Moffatt
  • Radio Radio
  • Swing
  • Zachary Richard
  • Lisa Leblanc
  • Kevin Parent
  • Louis-Jean Cormier

A good number of well-known Franco-Ontariens are also being featured, such as

  • Mélanie Brulée
  • Les Chiclettes
  • Yao
  • Stef Paquette

And there are many many others!

You can find the complete concert and event listings at


Last night some friends and I checked out the concert given by the popular Acadian group Radio Radio.


Have fun!!


Web-users’ favorite Francophone Québécois – Part B (#308)

This is a continuation of web-users’ favourite Francophone Québécois.

The last post featured the first to fifth places.   Picking up from where we left off…

6.  Mario Lemieux

  • NHL player (from Montréal).
  • A few posts ago which featured Québec’s favourite hockey players, you will recall that Mario Lemieux ranked #4.  It is no surprise that he ranks high on this list too.
  • Lemieux made his name as one of the best of the best in the NHL during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins (with them for 17 years from 1984 to 2006), during which the team won two Stanley Cups.
  • He was also on Team Canada when it won an Olympic gold in 2002.
  • He currently owns the Pittsburgh Penguins.

7.  Patrick Roy

  • NHL player (from Québec City).
  • Patrick Roy ranked as web-user’s #3 favourite hockey player a few posts ago.
  • One of the NHL’s most valuable players, he was with the Montréal Canadiens and then with the Colorado Avalanche for many years.  He won Stanley Cups with both teams.
  • Prior to his NHL career, he was with the Québec City Remparts (he is originally from the Québec City region).  Following his NHL career, true to his roots, he returned to Québec City to coach the Remaprts – an act which galvanized his place in his fan’s hearts.

8.  Mylène Farmer

  • Singer (from Pierrefords, Québec, raised for a large part of her life in France).
  • With over 30 millions records under her belt, there are very very few French-language singers anywhere in the world who are bigger than Mylène Farmer.
  • She has 13 number one hits to date (with eight being consective!!)
  • Her better known songs are:
    • “Désenchantée”,
    • “Pourvu qu’elles soient douces”,
    • “Sans contrefaçon”,
    • “Libertine”,
    • “Ainsi soit je”, “California”,
    • “Je t’aime mélancolie”,
    • “XXL”
    • “L’Instant X”,
    • “C’est une belle journée”,
    • “Rêver”,
    • “Les Mots”,
    • “Appelle mon numéro” and
    • “Oui mais… non”.

Check this video out and tell me how many other French singers are able to fill stadiums like this – in several countries!  (this particular video was filmed in the Stade de France which holds 81,000 people.  Fast forward to 1:44 in the video, and you’ll get an idea just how many people are at her concert.  Check out 8:20 to see her song end with a “bang”!

Here is one which shows her from a different style (same song, but different “feel”)

9.  Roy Dupuis

  • Actor (Actually, he’s Franco-Ontarian from Northern Ontario, but spent ¾ of his life in Québec).
  • I wrote a post about him a few months ago.  Click here for the link:  ROY DUPUIS https://quebeccultureblog.com/2015/04/20/roy-dupuis-247/
  • The above mentioned post has a lot of information, so I won’t say much more (most Anglophone Canadians would recognize him also owing to his English roles in Canadian television).   But to drive home the point just how popular he is, the post I wrote about him from April was unexpectedly picked up by someone on his official fan club’s facebook page.  They made a link to my post and within only a few days, over 1000 people visited the post I wrote on him.  I would say that shows he has a pretty die-hard fan base, wouldn’t you?

Here is a video of an interview (with English subtitles).

10.  Maurice ”Rocket” Richard

  • NHL player (from Montréal).
  • He ranked #2 in the list of favourite hockey players from Québec.
  • He passed away in 2000, but he continues to garner huge public attention to this day.
  • The new Champlain bridge in Montréal (which, when completed, will be one of the most expensive in Canada) came very close to be named the “Maurice Richard Bridge” (after very vocal public debate a few months ago, the Federal government determined it would retain its current name, the “Champlain Bridge”)”
  • He holds many “firsts” in his chest of NHL titles (goals, consecutive goals, etc.).
  • Winner of eight Stanley Cups with the Montréal Canadiens.

The lists are not finished… more to come!



You are going to know a lot more about Québec after this series of posts