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Gettin’ down ‘n vulgar! – Swears CI to J – Part 3 (#241)

WARNING:   These few posts are not suitable for minors.  They contain quite explicit vocabulary.

This is the 3rd post in a multi-post series on our French swear words.   A couple of things to note…

There are people want to see this series — I have received a couple of emails with questions regarding French swear words.  Thus I am presenting them in an objective format, considering there is not much comprehensive information out there – especially for language learners.   It all constitutes an aspect of culture (albeit a bit more “twisted” aspect of culture). 😉

NOTE 1:  In the examples below, it is difficult to give an exact translation for every word.   I’ve therefore given the closest approximates with respect to their degree of impact.  That is why I list more than one English equivalent after most words.

NOTE 2:  Underneath the main words, I also list the “toned-down / softened” versions of the words.   These are versions of the main swear word which are considered to be milder, and more acceptable to a wider audience.   In English, the equivalent might be the transformation of “F&@#” to “Fudge”, or “Damn” to “Darn” (the latter words which could be acceptable, even on television).


Ciboire – Shit!, Piss!, Damn it!, God damn it!

This one is a bit interesting.  It is said quite often, but it has a very “hick” tone to it.  It’s certainly not the worst of the swears, but it’s perhaps a couple notches higher up the offensive scale than mere “mild”.  That may be the reason we hear it often on the street, but not on television or the radio.   Yet, some of the substitutes below can be heard on the radio and television (“cibole” is the most common softened substitute in all circumstances).

  • Câliboire
  • Cibolaque
  • Cibole
  • Cibonte
  • Ciboulette
  • Ciboule
  • Ciboulot
  • Cinliboire
  • Gériboire
  • Liboire
  • Siblème

Cinclème – For crying out loud!, Christ!

Cré – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!

  • Crétaque

Cré maudit – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!

Cré tornon – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!

Criffe – Christ!, Cripes!,  For Christ/Cripes sake!

Crime (also “Crim”) – Christ!, Cripes!, For Christ/Cripes sake!, Adds EMPHASIS

This one is said quite often.  I would said its impact is closer to “Cripes” than it is to “Christ”.  Therefore it is acceptable to use in general conversation, even with your boss.  Now that I think of it, I say it quite a bit – perhaps more than any other “sacre”.

You’ll often hear it at the beginning of sentences to add a tad of extra punch to what is being said… it adds general EMPHASIS.

Here are some examples to let you see what I mean (don’t be afraid to use this one… it’s rather OK):

  • “Crime! Il fait beau dehors!” (Wow, it’s a beautiful day today).
  • “Crime! J’ai pas pensé à ça!” (Man! I didn’t think of that!).
  • “Crime! Il conduit mal!” (Holy smokes! He’s a bad driver!).
  • “Crime! Il a raté le but!” (Cripes! He missed the goal!)
  • “Crime! Elle a faillit bercher une bonne!” (Whoa! She just about took a tumble!)
  • “Crime! Qu’y sont sérieux” (Geez!  They’re really serious!)
  • “Crime!” (Whoa!), (Cripes!)

Crisse – Get the F*** out!, Don’t give a F****!, F***ing angry!, Shit!

When used on its own, it only means “Shit!”.

When used in other contexts, it needs to be inserted in a a sentence:

  • Je m’en crisse (I don’t give a shit / F***!)
  • Crisses-toi d’ici (Get the F*** out of here!)
  • Ch’en crisse! (I’m pissed/angry!)

Crucifix – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!

Damn – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!

Enfant de chienne – Son of a bitch!, Shit!, F***!

Personally, I would avoid saying this.  It sounds vulgar, likely because it is not as common as you would think (less common = it gets more attention when said).   There are so many other words out there which can be used to express the imperative “Son of a bitch!”   Generally speaking, any of the words which have the same impact as “Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!” also can be used if you wish to give the same impact as the imperative “Son of a bitch!”.

However, if you specifically wish to call someone a “son of a bitch”, then you could use this expression (in France & Europe they would say “fils de pute/putain”).

  • Enfant de chishe
  • Enfant de nanane
  • Enfant de néanne
  • Enfant de nénane

Esprit – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!

Étoile – Damn!, Cripes!

Eucharistie – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!

  • Caresse
  • Eucharesse

Fuck – Damn!, Damn it!, God damn it!

This word is quite interesting when said in French versus in English.  It is not nearly as bad in French as in English.

You will even hear it said often enough on French-language radio.  The CRTC (Canada’s federal government body which regulates what is and is not acceptable to say over the airwaves) does not consider “FUCK” to be a “bad word” when inserted in French sentences.   Ironic, isn’t it?   I surprisingly hear it on the radio.

Nonetheless, you may wish to be careful when you decide in which “region” to say it in Québec.  It does not sound very nice when inserted in general French-language conversation in Montréal, simply because there is a higher concentration of Anglophones in Montréal versus other regions of Québec.   Personally, I choose not to say it when speaking French, but it doesn’t bother me when others do (it’s all in the context).

HOSTIE – Jesus f’ing christ!, For F*** sake!   Rather strong.

Try to avoid it in general conversation unless you are on very familiar terms with the person which whom you are speaking.   Personally, I rarely even use the “softened-down” words below, unless I know the person very well, or unless the “softened” word is quite different from the original swear word (such as “stie”, or “Ostination”.

It’s just best to avoid it unless your French is at an advanced or native level (and best to only say among friends, close peers and family).

  • Esti
  • Hastie
  • Hostie au lard
  • Hostie fee
  • Hostination (this can also be a noun which means “Connerie” or “Crap” / “Rigamarole” in English… “Toute cette hostination”)
  • Hostique
  • Ostie
  • Ostination (this can also be a noun which means “Connerie” or “Crap” / “Rigamarole” in English… “Toute cette ostination”)
  • Stie

Jésus-christ – Jesus Christ!, Christ!, God damn it!

  • Jésome
  • Jésus de plâtre

Joualvert – Cripes!, Damn it! (soft enough you’ll hear it on the radio).

—– —– —– —– —– —–

Crime! J’dirais que ça roule presque! Pas vrai?  I’ll see you soon with continued posts in this mini-series on swears.




Gettin’ down ‘n vulgar! – Swears A to CH – Part 2 (#240)

The last post gave an introduction to French swears as we use them on this side of the Atlantic.

This post and the next few posts will give you concrete examples.  These lists are not exhaustive, and they generally do not include swear words from Europe.

WARNING:   These next few posts are not suitable for minors.  They contain quite explicit vocabulary.  I have received a couple of emails with questions regarding French swear words, so I decided to present them in an objective format, considering there is not much comprehensive information out there – especially for language learners.

We hear these swear words all the time (sometimes even on television and the radio), and they often confuse language learners.   Thus, this resource may be useful to elementary and intermediate-level language learners (after all, I’m not writing these posts for the sake of being “vulgar”).

When developing language skills, it must be a very confusing experience for elementary (and even intermediate) learners because they would have not learned these words in school.  Yet, when curse words are encountered in the street, learners may incorrectly believe their French skills are failing them for not understanding what is being said.  But if learners are at least able to identify these words as swears, they can then forgive themselves for not understanding, and simply move on.  (Note:  Language learners will encounter Québec and Canadian French swears far more often than European French swears, and they are used more often and more liberally than English swears).

European (France, Belgium, Swiss) swear words are also used on this side of the ocean.  The most common being:

  • Merde (Shit)
  • Vas te faire foutre (F-off)
  • Trou de cul (A. Hole)
  • Vas chier (screw off)
  • Ça fait chier (piss me off)
  • Mange la merde (F-you)
  • Putain (whore)

But there are some European swears which we do not generally say on this side of the ocean.  Some which we do not generally use are:

  • Casse toi! (Piss off, F-off)
  • Chatte (vagina… rarely said – in Canada we generally say “noune”)
  • Encule (F-off)
  • Fils de pute (Son of a bitch… however “pute” can sometimes be heard by itself)
  • Fils de salope (Son of a bitch… however “salope” can sometimes be heard by itself)
  • Zut (darn)… This one makes me laugh because it is taught in so many FSL classes around the world, but is never ever said in Canada.  We’d be more apt to simply say “Merde” or something like “Crîme” in Canada/Québec.
  • Gros cul (fat ass)

NOTE 1:  In the examples below, it is difficult to give an exact translation for every word.   I’ve therefore given the closest approximates with respect to their degree of impact.  That is why I list more than one English equivalent after most words.

NOTE 2:  Underneath the main words, I also list the “toned-down / softened” versions of the words.   These are versions of the main swear word which are considered to be milder, and more acceptable to a wider audience.   In English, the equivalent might be the transformation of “F&@#” to “Fudge”, “Hell” to “Heck” or “Damn” to “Darn” (the latter words which could be acceptable, even on television).


Acré gué – Shit!, Piss!, Damn it!, God damn it!

Argya – Shit!, Piss!, Damn it!, God damn it!

Balls – Shit!, Piss!, Damn it!, God damn it!

Baptême – Jesus Christ!, God damn it!,  Christ!

  • Baptiste
  • Bâteau
  • Batêche
  • Batéye
  • Batince
  • Bazwel

Barabbas – Christ

Bâtard – Bastard

Bondance – For crying out lout!, Christ!

Bonyeu – (short “Bon dieu”) Holy crap!, Holy Shit!, Shit!, Damn!

  • Bondance
  • Bonguenne
  • Bonguienne
  • Bongyeu
  • Bonjour
  • Bonyenne
  • Bonyousse
  • Boyenne
  • Vaingieu
  • Vingieu
  • Vinguienne

Bout de crime (sometimes said Bout crime) – Christ!,  God damn it!

Bout de crisse – Christ!,  God damn it!

Bout de Bon Dieu – Christ!,  God damn it!

Bout de calvaire – Christ!,  God damn it!

Bout de sacre – Christ!,  God damn it!

CÂLICEFor F***s sake!, Jesus f***ing christ!  (quite strong).

AVOID THIS in general conversation.  But it is quite acceptable to say one of the words below, with the most common being “Câline”.  Just to give you an idea, I don’t even say câlice (and often you’ll see it blanked out in texts:  C******).  But I will say “Câline”, or even “Câll”.

  • Câlasse
  • Câlif!
  • Câline
  • Câline de binne
  • Câlique
  • Calistirine

Calvaire – Piss!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Oh Christ!

  • Calvanasse
  • Calvasse
  • Calvenus
  • Calvette
  • Calvince
  • Calvinisse
  • Cataplasse

Chette – Shit

Chrisse qui pisse – Piss me off!, Damn it all to hell!, For Christ’s sake!, What the hell!

Christ – Christ!, Jesus Christ!, God damn it!, Shit!

  • Christie
  • Christine
  • Christophe
  • Chrysostôme
  • Clif
  • Clisse
  • Clousse
  • Crème
  • Cric
  • Cris
  • Cristal
  • Saint-sicrisse


The next posts will continue with more lists.

Restes-là câline!! 😉



Gettin’ down ‘n vulgar! – Introduction to swear words – Part 1 (#239)

Swear words lend a colloquial (spoken) impact to the message being shared.   Swear words traditionally relate to matters which are most likely to offend others. This attracts people’s attention and invokes an emotional response from those who are listening.

If you travel anywhere in Québec or listen to Francophones speak anywhere in Canada, you will certainly run into swear words or obscenities.  They are used much more loosely used in French than in English.

In East Asian societies (China for example), the most sacred aspects of society are family networks and honouring one’s parents and ancestors.  It is therefore no surprise that East Asian swear words have mostly to do with one’s mother, ancestors, and family relations (if you were to say “Your mother” to someone in Chinese, don’t be surprised if you get an angry response).

In Western societies, for many centuries the Church was the most sacred aspect of society.  Religious blasphemy was the most sure-fire way to invoke a negative or emotional reaction.  Therefore many of our Western English swear words in Canada and the USA relate to God, or subjects which were determined taboo by religion and religious puritan principles.

Examples are “Damned” (which relates to hell), “F@#$” (which is an affront to the Church’s conservative views towards intercourse), “Hell” (self-explanatory), “Shit” (which indirectly contravenes the notion of the Church’s early puritan obsessions with cleanliness and purity), “Pissed” (for the same reasons as “shit”), “C#@t” (which relates to genitalia – a subject rendered taboo by the church), etc. etc.

In Canadian and Québec French, swear words also stem from a liturgical (church / clerical) origin.   However, unlike more abstract Canadian English swear words, most Canadian French obscenities stem from the objects used in Catholic ceremonies.

Swear words in Québec and Canadian French are called “des jurons” or “des sacres”.

Important note:  French swear words in Canada are very different from French swear words in France, with only a few exceptions (such as merde/marde, pute/putain, etc.)

In Québec and elsewhere in French Canada, there’s a general consensus that most of the objects and swear words relate to traditions in the Catholic Church.  Yet what most people in Québec do not realize is that Canadian & Québec French swear words would not have existed had it not been for the Protestant church’s presence in Québec and North America from the time of Samuel de Champlain (essentially, day one).


A photo I took of a bar sign in Montréal the other day.  A photo full of irony.   A “Ciboire” is both a sacred Catholic wafer box / ciborium, but is also a French swear word.  Here, the bar is playing on the irony between its modern “obscene” meaning, and its historical “religious” meaning.

There were three major parishioner groups in North America in the 1600s and early 1700s:   (1) the French Catholics, (2) the French Protestants (known as the Huguenots) who were prosecuted in France and who fled to the North America to escape persecution from French Catholics, (3) Anglophone (as well as Dutch speaking) Protestants.

(On a personal note, I’m in part descended from several families of the original Protestant French settlers, not the Catholic French settlers… among them Louis Dubois, the head of the Huguenots, and several others from 1614 to the late 1600s.  The Protestant French colonialists made their way westward, and Western Canada is now populated with many of their descendants.  Interestingly enough, the total number of descendants of the original Protestant French settlers now probably outnumbers all the descendants of the original Catholic French settlers in North America.  All of this is something which is not taught in Québec’s education system… which unfortunately contributes to the notion of the Two Solitudes [It can be a bit frustrating]).

The “Protestant French” population in North America was viewed by the “Catholic French” population as being blasphemous and as “outsiders” (despite being of the same French origins).  The Catholic French population in North America made a specific point of demarcating the difference between “Catholic French settlers” and “Protestant French settlers” by creating swear words which related to “Catholic-specific” ritual pieces (this is why North American French swears are based upon Catholic “objects”, versus North American English swear words which are based upon general abstract religion).



Swear words in Canadian & Québec French are often inserted into sentences in the same way as in English.   In very general terms, the most common ways of using them follow four simple rules. (There are other ways to use them, but the following are the main ways we use them the most often):

1.  As an imperative:

  • F#@#!  I’ve had it!
  • Tarbarwatte!  Que j’en ai marre!
  • Shit that’s great!
  • Crisse qu’y est bon!
  • God-damn it!
  • Câlisse!

2.  Using “de” (of a) to link the swear word with the object to which it refers:

  • C’est un ciboire de char!
  • That’s a hell of a car!
  • Toé, le p’tit câline de morvaillon!
  • You, ya little pisser of a brat!

3.  As a tensified verb:

Generally by adding the equivalent an English “-ed” at the end (which is “é” in French).   Thus, hostie (damn) can be conjugated to a past/present passive tense, hostié (damned).

  • Son hostié char!
  • His damned car!
  • C’t’un cristié bon gateau!
  • God-damn that cake is good!

4.  Adding “en X” after a verb, an adjective or an adverb

  • Je suis tanné en cimoinak!
  • I’m so F’in tired of it!
  • Le ciel et si bleu en ostie!
  • The sky is so god-damned blue!



You can have a lot of fun with our French swears.  They’re much more flexible than English swears.  You can mix and match them, and play on sounds.

Example 1 :  My main gym buddy for many years was Francophone.  He always used to tease me about one physical aspect or another of mine.   But I would throw the insults right back at him.    I played on the French swear expression of calling someone “Viande de chien” (dog meat).  But I modified it and always called him “Viande de bouche de cheval!” (horse-mouth meat).  His busted a gut every time!  (“Hé, toi-là!  Viande de bouche de cheval, que c’est qui se passe?”, “Hey! Horse mouth meat, what’s up?”).

Example 2 : Instead of saying a hard-core swear word, you can substitute it with a less-offensive word which takes the first letter of the offensive swear word, or which sounds similar.

Take this sentence for example: “Il a trop acheté en ciboire!” (Christ, he bought too much!).

“Ciboire” can be replaced by something as mundane as s’il vous plaît, Simon, cite, etc. 

They all start with a “SEE” sound.    Thus you can say “Il a trop acheté en s’il vous plaît“.   This is best when you are unaware of how the obscenity (such as “ciboire”) would be taken by the person you’re talking to.  Creative, isn’t it?



One of the reasons why there are so many swear words in Québec and Canadian French is owing to the number of “softened” swears.    Softening makes them much more acceptable and allows them to be said to a larger audience.

In English a softer version of “Damn” would be “Darn”.  A softened version of “Shit” would be “Schnoot”.  A softened version of “F#@$*” would be “Fudge”.   “Pissed” is softened to “Peeved”.   “C*&#” is softened to “Pussy”, and so on.

Unlike in English, the softening possibilities in French go on and on and on – to the extent that there are hundreds of them (English likely only has a few dozen, or less).



The next few posts will give alphabetical lists of many swear words in Québec and Canadian French, and related “softened” words.   Best now to charge your pace-makers, and to put passwords on your computers for the kiddies!!



UNIS (la toute nouvelle chaîne de télévision au Canada) — Tout franco, tout beau (#226)

Il y a un nouveau joueur sur la scène.   “UNIS” est la toute nouvelle chaîne de télévision de langue française – et croyez-moi, qu’elle est différente.

Leur expression fourre-tout : Tout franco, tout beau 


(Toutes les images dans ce billet ont été fournies à Québec Culture Blog par UNIS)

Jusqu’à l’introduction d’UNIS sur la scène du monde télévisuel, nos chaînes et réseaux de télévision (de langue française) au Canada étaient soient :

  • des réseaux nationaux, basés de Montréal. Toute programmation “locale” à travers le Canada qu’ils offraient n’était que quelques créneaux horaires assez restreints (Radio-Canada et RDI en sont de bons exemples).  Cela avait l’effet de “projeter” des points de vue axés sur “Montréal” et “le Québec”, ainsi que des points de vue qui favorisaient le Québec, sans présenter l’angle de quelqu’un qui se retrouvait dans les souliers d’une audience Francophone à l’extérieur du Québec.
  • des réseaux plutôt “locaux” qui portaient peu d’intérêt à poursuivre le mis en œuvre d’une programmation à l’extérieur de leur région ou province (TVA et LCN servent de bons exemples).
  • des réseaux ou des chaînes spécialisées (RDS sport, Argent, TFO de l’Ontario, etc.)

Mais l’instant même qu’UNIS a pris l’antenne en septembre 2014, elle a pu bousculer ce mélange de réseaux et de chaînes qui depuis longtemps étaient les seuls à être solidement cimentés dans leur propre terrain.   De ses studios de production basés à Toronto (Ontario), UNIS diffuse une grande diversité de programmation aux intérêts des Francophones et Francophiles de partout au Canada.   Son approche reflète la perspective d’une chaîne qui présente à la fois à son audience l’idée et la réalité d’une seule famille francophone, de Victoria en Colombie-Britannique, jusqu’à St-Jean à Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador.

Son approche nous permet de constater que, pour de larges étendus du pays, le Canada est autant un pays francophone de langue française (dans toutes ses provinces et territoires) qu’il l’est un pays anglophone de langue anglaise (pour d’autres étendus du pays).  UNIS accorde beaucoup d’importance sur la diversité des sociétés francophones du Canada, que ce soit (sans toutefois s’y limiter) :

  • les modes de vie Montagnarde ou Pacifique modernes des Francophones de la Colombie-Britannque,
  • le mode de vie Prairienne moderne des Francophones de l’Alberta et de la Saskatchewan,
  • le mode de vie de la Valée-de-la-Rivière-rouge moderne des Francophones au Manitoba,
  • les modes de vie super-urbaines ou des forêts rurales modernes des Francophones en Ontario,
  • la diversité de plusieurs modes de vie au Québec, ou
  • le mode de vie Atlantique moderne en Acadie.

Avant l’arrivée sur scène d’UNIS, on avait souvent l’impression que nos diverses sociétés Francophones au Canada se gardaient entre eux, et qu’ils portaient des traits plutôt introspectifs (autant les Québécois que les Franco-Albertains, autant les Néo-Écossais que les Ontarois).  Mais UNIS sert de briser, d’un seul coup, ces murs et cette mentalité artificielle.  Cette chaîne nous permet de voir que nous faisons tous partie de la même société, famille, et pays Francophone et Francophile.  Nos enjeux, modes de vie, passe-temps, intérêts, joies, et nos préoccupations sont partagés dans tous les coins du pays.

En écoutant la programmation dans une même journée, on entend les couleurs d’une multitude d’accents français différents – des accents qui reflètent les lieux de tournage à travers le pays.  Au Canada nous n’avons jamais vu une telle chose auparavant.   Pour la première fois dans l’histoire du pays, on peut se voir ensemble les Francophones et Francophiles, d’un océan à l’autre – comme faisant partie d’un tout.

Ce que j’apprécie beaucoup c’est que nous avons également l’occasion de voir très souvent les “Francophiles” du Canada dans les émissions d’UNIS.  À quelques reprises dans ce billet j’ai fait mention de nos “Francophiles”.  Ils nous appartiennent eux aussi.  Ce sont les Anglophones du pays qui ont expressément décidé, de leur propre volonté, de consacrer une partie de leur vie au fait français du Canada.  Ils sont devenus bilingue.   Mais trop souvent ils se voient reprocher pour quelques lacunes dans leur accent, grammaire, ou vocabulaire.  Pourtant, tout ce qui compte pour moi (et tout ce qui devrait importer pour vous aussi) c’est le fait qu’ils sont là – peu importe leur niveau de français.  Ils sont là en grand nombre.  Ils sont nos alliés, et ils sont nos ponts avec le reste du Canada.   Ils se tiennent debout, coude à coude avec les Francophones du pays.  J’en ai déjà parlé dans mon billet qui s’appelle L’Importance du programme d’immersion française au Canada anglophone – pour le Québec.  (À mon avis, ce billet vaut la peine d’être lu).

Lors du tournage des émissions d’UNIS à travers le Canada, ces Francophiles sont présents et on les voit à l’écran.  Ils participent pleinement aux émissions afin que l’on puisse voir les histoires (nos histoires) des Francophones à l’écran.  Comme j’ai dit, c’est du jamais vu dans l’histoire de l’industrie de la télévision au Canada.   J’ai un drôle de sentiment que cette nouvelle chaîne va changer la perspective du Canada pour beaucoup de gens.

La chaîne UNIS appartient au même consortium qui détient “TV5 Québec Canada”.   Les deux sociétés forment une seule société qui s’appelle “UNIS TV5 Québec Canada”, qui en revanche appartient au “Consortium de télévision Québec Canada”.

Ce consortium lui-même appartient à trois de nos diffuseurs publics les plus grands au Canada :

  • CBC/Radio-Canada (le diffuseur public français/anglais et appartient au gouvernement du Canada),
  • TFO (le diffuseur public provincial français qui appartient au gouvernement de l’Ontario),
  • et Télé-Québec (le diffuseur public français qui appartient au gouvernement du Québec).

UNIS est désignée par la CRTC comme appartenant à la catégorie A des chaînes de télévision.  Cela veut dire que chaque abonné du câble au Canada (que ce soit au point le plus au nord de l’arctique, que ce soit le village le plus à l’ouest ou le plus à l’est du pays) doit le recevoir dans le service de base de tous les câblodistributeurs au Canada.  Si vous avez le câble, mais si vous ne la recevez pas, vous pouvez appeler votre câblodistributeur afin de la recevoir.

Personnellement, je crois qu’UNIS a le potentiel de devenir un moyen de programmation bien plus puissant.  La chaîne est encore jeune, et sa programmation n’a pas encore eu le temps d’évoluer.  Mais j’ai le sentiment qu’elle pourrait devenir bien plus importante, en tant que chaîne de télévision — au fur et à mesure qu’elle continue d’évoluer (qui sait, peut-être un jour elle va introduire un component de nouvelles nationales quotidiennes).  Dans ce sens, UNIS pourrait contribuer à définir l’avenir du pays et la façon dont sa population se voit, et ce au cours des prochaines années et décennies.  Seul le temps dira quelle direction elle prendra, mais j’ai un bon sentiment à ce propos.

Sa ligne de programmation nous offre un assez grand éventail d’émissions :

  • des téléromans
  • des programmes pour enfants
  • des émissions et magazines de société
  • des jeux télévisés
  • des émissions de variété
  • des émissions culinaires

Les émissions suivantes sont parmi mes émissions préférées.  Je vous offre les descriptions qui se trouvent au site-web d’UNIS:

Couleurs locales 

C’est un point de rencontre entre les communautés francophones. Accompagné d’un quatuor de chroniqueurs venant des quatre coins du pays, l’animateur Frédéric Choinière s’intéresse aux sujets qui interpellent les francophones, mais aussi aux grands dossiers de l’heure au Canada. C’est un rendez-vous hebdomadaire à la fois instructif et convivial.


Ma caravan au Canada – 

Rejoignez Vincent Graton et Damien Robitaille à bord de leur caravane pour une virée complètement folle à travers le Canada.  À chaque escale, rencontrez des gens chaleureux qui aiment leur coin de pays.


Canada plus grand que nature  

À pied, en kayak de mer, à vélo de montagne ou en canot de rivière, découvrez les plus beaux parcs canadiens, en compagnie de Patrick Hivon. Que vous soyez passionné de plein air ou promeneur du dimanche, cette émission est pour vous !


J’habite ici – 

J’habite ici présente des villes et des villages à travers le regard de leurs habitants franco-ontariens. Entrez dans le quotidien de ces gens attachants, arpentez leur quartier et laissez-vous charmer par la douceur de vivre en français en Ontario.

Balade à Toronto – 

Une série musicale consacrée aux artistes francophones de la relève. Quittant leur coin de pays pour une promenade à Toronto, ils nous offrent des performances et nous livrent leurs confidences captées à la volée au fil de la découverte de la Ville Reine. Le groupe acadien Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire, la Québécoise Chloé Lacasse, le Mehdi Cayenne Club de l’Ontario, le duo franco-albertain Post Script et plusieurs autres se baladent !

Elles pêchent – 

Mordues de la pêche, Louise Laparé et sa grande amie Suzanne Beaudet taquinent le poisson ensemble depuis plus de 18 ans. En exerçant plusieurs types de pêches, d’un plan d’eau à l’autre, elles démontrent que la pêche ce n’est pas sorcier, et que la pratique de ce sport peut être adaptée à toutes les bourses.  Suivez-les, chaque semaine, dans cette odyssée à travers lacs et rivières !


Le goût du pays

Bien au courant que la bonne chère est le faible de Vincent Graton, quelques-uns des plus réputés chefs canadiens ont l’ambition de lui en faire voir de toutes les saveurs ! Sur les routes du Canada, de Saint-Jean de Terre-Neuve à Vancouver, notre animateur épicurien se laisse prendre au jeu de la gourmande séduction.


Vous pouvez accéder au site d’UNIS en cliquant ici:  http://unis.ca/

Certains vidéos d’émissions peuvent être visonnées ici: http://unis.ca/videos

Prenez le temps d’y explorer un peu.  Lorsqu’on constate que le lancement d’UNIS n’était planifié qu’un an d’avance avec un budget plutôt limité, je crois bien que l’on peut s’entendre que le fruit de leurs efforts est bien évident.

UNIS (Canada’s newest French-language TV station) — Tout franco, tout beau (#225)

“UNIS” (which means “United” in French) is Canada’s newest French-langauge television station – and boy is it different.

Their catch-phrase is Tout franco, tout beau (Everything Franco, Everything great)


(All images in this post contributed to Québec Culture Blog by UNIS)

Until the introduction of UNIS, our French-language television has

  • consisted of national networks, but based out of Montréal. They would offer limited locally presented programming across Canada (Radio-Canada and RDI are good examples).  This often had the effect of projecting a Montréal-centric, Québec-centric or Québec-biased view upon the rest of Canada’s Francophones,
  • consisted of localized networks with little interest in pursuing programming outside its province or region (TVA and LCN are good examples).
  • consisted of specialty stations (RDS sports, argent, Ontario’s TFO, etc.)

The moment it went on air in September, 2014, UNIS instantly shook up this mix in numerous ways.   With its main production studios based out of Toronto (Ontario), it broadcasts a wide variety of programming of interest to Francophones and Francophiles across Canada.  Its approach is from the perspective of producing and presenting its programming to an audience of one Francophone family/country, from Victoria, BC to St. John’s Newfoundland, and everywhere in between.

It allows us to see how Canada is just as much a Francophone and French-language country to large swaths of is population, as it can be an Anglophone and English-language country to others.   It also places much emphasis on the diversity of Canada’s Francophone societies, be it (but not restricted to)

  • the Mountain or Pacific lifestyle of Francophones in BC
  • the Prairie life-style of Francophones who live in Alberta and Saskatchewan,
  • the Red-River lifestyle of those in Manitoba,
  • the uber/hyper-urban or the rural woodland lifestyles of Francophones in Ontario,
  • the diversity of various Québécois lifestyles, or
  • the Atlantic lifestyle lived by Acadians.

Before UNIS’s introduction, we could easily get the the impression that each of Canada’s various Francophone societies were often introspective, and did not mix much among themselves.  But UNIS breaks down these artificial mindsets and self-imposed borders in one-fell-swoop.  UNIS allows us to see that we are all part of one giant Francophone / Francophile society, family and country.  Our issues, ways of life, pass-times, interests, joys, and concerns are shared in every corner of the country.

In one day’s programming, you will hear a multitude of different French accents, reflecting the regions where each day’s programming was filmed.  We have never before seen something like this in Canada.  It’s allowing Canada and Canada’s Francophones / Francophiles to view themselves differently, and as something much bigger.

What I particularly appreciate, as I am sure do many others, is that we see how Anglophones across Canada have also become bilingual over the past couple of decades.  When filming various programs across the country, it is inevitable that Anglophones will be involved in telling the various programs’ stories on air.  We are able to hear and see bilingual Anglophones across the land, even in the most remote corners of the country.  My personal guess is that many are the products of Canada’s successful French immersion programs.   Again, before now, we have never seen anything like this on Canadian television.   I have a feeling it will give more than a few people a different perspective on what Canada is all about.

UNIS is actually owned by the same Canadian consortium which owns “TV5 Québec Canada”.  “UNIS & TV5 Québec Canada” actually forms one company.   The consortium which owns them is called Le Consortium de télévision Québec Canada (the Québec Canada Television Consortium).

The consortium itself is owned by three public broadcasters, owned by three separate governments in Canada:

  • CBC/Radio-Canada (Canada’s French/English public broadcaster owned by Canada’s Federal government),
  • TFO (Ontario’s French language public broadcaster owned by the government of Ontario),
  • and Télé-Québec (Québec’s French-language public broadcaster owned by the government of Québec).

UNIS is rated as a CRTC Category A station.  This means that it has to be included (by law) in everyone’s basic cable bundle across Canada.  If you do not receive it in your television package (even if you are in the furthest reaches of the Arctic), then contact your cable-distributor.  It is supposed to be included, regardless of what package you have or where you live.

I personally believe that UNIS has the potential to morph into a much more powerful programming medium.   It is still very young, and their programming has yet to evolve.  But I have a feeling that it may become a very influential television station as additional programs and divisions are added with time.  In that sense, it could have the ability to help shape the country’s view of itself over the next several years and decades.   Time will tell where it all will go, but I have a good feeling about it.

It’s programming offers a wide variety of genres :

  • adult dramas
  • childrens’ programming
  • societal magazines
  • game shows
  • variety programs
  • cooking programs

Some of my preferred programs include:

Couleurs locales (Local Colours): Every week Frédéric Choinière hosts of panel of columnists and engaged members of society in the studio to discuss what is happening in the four corners of the country.  Topics are of interest to Canada’s current events as a whole.  Matters are often approached from the perspective of Francophones and Francophiles who live in all of Canada’s provinces and territories.  In addition to the regularly featured panel, the show also features a guest (usually an influencial / well-known individual) to give their perspective on matters related to Canada’s Francophonie.


Ma caravan au Canada – (Driving my camper across Canada):  The duo Vincent Graton and Damien Robitaille, take their camper on the road and drive everywhere throughout Canada.   They stop in communities and at lesser-known places of interest.  They meet people from all walks of life, and manage to find Francophones and bilingual Anglophones everywhere in Canada who are doing remarkable things, simply through living what they consider to be their normal lives.


Canada plus grand que nature – (Canada, Bigger than Nature!) :  The well-known celebrity actor, Patrick Hivon, explores Canada’s natural scenery, national and provincial parks, from coast-to-coast-to-coast.  He meets people who lives are closely tied to the land he explores (usually other Francophones and Francophiles, and bilingual Anglophones across Canada), and it’s a great way to see parts of the country we would not otherwise have a tendency to see.


J’habite ici – (This is Where I Live):  The show follows and learns about Franco-Ontarians going about their daily lives in the towns and cities where they live.  It gives us an intimate perspective into the homes of those who it shadows.  And more importantly, we learn about la belle vie of living in French in Ontario.  It is something quite special and unique.

Balade à Toronto – (Around Toronto):  When we think of Francophone musicians who leave their towns and cities around Canada to develop their musical talents in a more structured & professional environment, we usually think of people who head to Montréwood (Montréal’s music, film, TV and arts scene).  However a good number of Francophones are deciding to head to Toronto instead.  This show allows us to meet them, follow them, and simply enjoy what they have to offer us.  Shows like this truly let us see what great a place Toronto is to live in if you are a Francophone or Francophile, or just want to add something different in your life.

Elles pêchent – (And they fish!):  We’re all familiar with weekend fishing shows.  This one is a little different in the sense that it is hosted by two ladies who have a love of the sport.  These two women, Louise Laparé and Suzanne Beaudet are best friends and have been fishing together since the age of 18.   They take us to hidden rivers and lakes and let us into their lives and conversations as they engage in what has been called the world’s “most relaxing sport”.


Le goût du pays – (A taste of the country):  The celebrity Vincent Graton takes us across Canada to discover its regional culinary delights.  He meets local chefs and joins them when preparing their meals, in a natural outdoor setting – often using ingredients from the land and settings in which the program is filmed.


The official website for UNIS can be found here: http://unis.ca/

You can stream past programs here:  http://unis.ca/videos

Take the time to explore what UNIS has to offer.  When you consider that the station was quickly thrown together in the period of about a year, with limited funds, I think you will be impressed.