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French group organizes Welcome Day for Newcomers

A free Welcome Day for Newcomers event is scheduled to take place in Somba K’e Park on Aug. 31 at 5:15 p.m.
Welcome Day for Newcomers, organized by La Fédération Franco-Ténoise, is scheduled to place in Somba K’e Park on Aug. 31. Photo courtesy of Cécile Fagot

A free Welcome Day for Newcomers event is scheduled to take place in Somba K’e Park on Aug. 31 at 5:15 p.m.

Joining the Yellowknife Farmers Market, the Fédération Franco-Ténoise and the Welcoming Francophone Community (Communauté Francophone Accueillante or CFA) organized the event.

“We do this day once a year,” said Cécile Fagot, FFT’s coordinator for the event. “The objective is to give a sense of belonging to the newcomers (to) our city, so they can actually feel valued in our city.”

Fagot also noted that the occasion acts as a pilot project as part of the CFA initiative through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

“This program has been running for three years… to facilitate the integration and summarize the long-term establishment of the newcomer at Yellowknife,” she said.

Despite being aimed towards francophone newcomers, Fagot assured it will be a bilingual affair.

“It’s for all the immigrants,” she said. “We will have an opening ceremony by the Dene Drummers, then the mayor will have a word in English and in French to welcome to all of the newcomers — all the immigrants — at Yellowknife. Then, the executive director of La Fédération Franco-Ténoise will welcome everyone in French and in English.”

Event attractions will be held in a tent located in Somba K’e Park. The tent will contain different booths featuring various points of interest, such as a trapper who will be presenting his furs and traps, as well as an animated element as one booth contains a world map that people can use to display where they are from.

The end of the festivities will feature a draw for a Northern-themed prize.

“This draw is only for (those) who actually immigrated in Canada,” said Fagot. “The draw will be to win a big winter (expedition) to go on the ice road and looking for caribou, and all the wonders that we have around Yellowknife.”

Event organizers hope to see people happy at the welcoming day, and to give them a sense of identity and community.

“You know, sometimes you just meet a person from an event and you just have to talk because you’re both here, and that would amazing for people to leave the event with a new connection,” Fagot said.