Thursday, December 14, 2017

Winter is Franco - American Country

Mon pays, c’est l’hiver (my country is the winter), sang Gilles Vigneault, in what quickly became a Quebecois classic after its 1965 release. The tune, with its haunting melody and wistful lyrics has been seen by many as a nationalist anthem, capturing both the cultural isolation of Quebec within Canada, as well as French Canadians’ affinity for the landscape they inhabit, even during its long winter months. The association of French Canadians, and Franco Americans with this season begins long before Vigneault, and has resonated through the centuries.

In the very first years of French settlement at Quebec, in 1616, the French Jesuit Father Pierre Biard noted that they had been taken aback by the ferocity of the Canadian winter. Knowing that Canada and France lie at roughly the same degree of latitude, the early settlers had assumed the climate would be similar: more…

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