French schools play a critical role in maintaining the French language
In 1912, the provincial government passes Bill 17, which forbids the
teaching of French in Ontario schools. Several members of the local French
clergy rebel against their bishop, Mgr Fallon, who champions the government's
position. Father Lucien Beaudoin, from Our Lady of the Lake parish in
Ford City, becomes a symbol for the resistance. At his death in 1917,
Mgr Fallon's choice to replace him sets off the Ford City Riot.
In 1927, the government repeals Bills 17 and French once again takes
its place in the curriculum. Today, with L'Essor, Lajeunesse and Paincourt
High Schools, area francophones can attend classes in French from kindergarten
to the end of high school.