The COVID-19 pandemic has proven hard for everyone but especially for British Columbia‘s French-speaking speaking community. The province has more than 300,000 French-speaking people, and events all came to a stop when we learned about this new virus. But in this community (which is no stranger to fighting for a cause), not even a virus could stop it.
Ashton Ramsay, a young 20-year-old Franco Colombian, created the francophone calendar of British Columbia when he was just 16 for a school project. The goal of this project was to connect the Francophone community and its people to the various events that happened around the province. “When someone moves to British Columbia, they can feel a little lonely in their corner because they are often unaware that there are other French speakers here out in the west,” says Ashton. Since the project’s inception, it is grown year after year and has now become the biggest and only French-language calendar in the province and it’s even known nationally.
“When this virus hit, I knew that I could make a difference,” says Ashton Ramsay, founder of the francophone calendar of British Columbia. “I had this unique tool that could help bring the community together. The Neighbourhood Small Grant from the Vancouver Foundation was very helpful in helping the francophone calendar of British Columbia become a tool that the whole community can use during this pandemic, helping us reach even more people than ever before. It has allowed us to partner with different organizations across the province and Canada to present live stream shows and let the community know about different cultural events that are happening, which they can watch in the comfort of their own home, and still feel like they’re connected to the community. I think it’s super important to give back to the community that has fostered an ignition, and love of BC’s francophone community, arts, and culture. For that, I’m internally grateful.”
In November 2020, Ashton has generously given the rights to the project to the BC Federation of Francophones so that they can continue to pursue this project. The francophone calendar will be joined with the BC French language services directory so that everyone across the province will have access to its services.