French Canadians began settling in Ontario at the beginning of the 18th century with the establishment of an agricultural settlement on the site that is now Windsor, Ontario. It was almost a century later that this small colony expanded and further settlements were created to meet the demand for industrial labour as Ontario developed. The majority of Franco-Ontarians settled in the area between Ottawa and the Québec border, and this remains the region with the highest concentration of French-speaking people and those of French origin. As of 1981, Franco-Ontarians made up 7.5% of Ontario’s population, of whom about two-thirds spoke French as their mother tongue. In the 20th century the question of language rights in education was a primary concern of the Franco-Ontarian community. Franco-Ontarians pressed for, and won, the legal right to French-language education, which allowed French-language schools to join the public system.
The French-language newspaper Le Courrier d'Outaouais was published from 1869 to 1876 in Ottawa. Publication may have been irregular, and not all issues are available or complete. We include here several issues of a newspaper called Le Courrier d’Ottawa, published in the 1860s, which may have been a precursor to Le Courrier d’Outaouais. The earlier publication described its mission to be "An entity capable of defending their interests, and able to appreciate their position regarding Canadian nationality." The second publication described its coverage as "politics, literature, commerce, industry and agriculture."
Contributed by Multicultural History Society of Ontario.