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Bilingual history lesson bridges two solitudes

Paul Cournoyer performs a song in the closing scene of the Canadian Parents for French production of O Canada at KVR Middle School this week. Over 300 Penticton students attended the show highlighting Canada’s rich history.  - Mark Brett/Western News
Paul Cournoyer performs a song in the closing scene of the Canadian Parents for French production of O Canada at KVR Middle School this week. Over 300 Penticton students attended the show highlighting Canada’s rich history.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Western News

Canada’s history came to life in both official languages for over 300 Penticton students this week.

The two-man, bilingual heritage production of O Canada! featuring Paul Cournoyer and Léandre Bérubé, was played out with the participation of the young audience at KVR Middle School, Wednesday.

When the current tour is completed, the show, presented by Canadian Parents for French BC and Yukon, will have reached 12,000 B.C. students and another 36,000 in three other provinces and one territory.

“It’s been going really well and this is show 19 so we’re a third of the way through it,” said Cournoyer.

“The kids really seem to enjoy it, especially because they have an opportunity to participate.”

As well as promoting the two official languages, the one-hour performance, featuring song and dialogue, aims to help young people gain a deeper understanding of the struggles and a sacrifices of those who went before.

Nation-building events such as the cross-country railway construction, women’s suffrage, Canadian lives lost in battle and Confederation are included.

In addition to the show, students also have an opportunity to take part in a workshop put on by the performers.

The project is financially supported by the Canadian Heritage Youth Take Charge program.

 

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