Our Place: The Official Franco-Ontarian Anthem

The Artist: Paul Demers

Paul Demers was born in Gatineau on March 9, 1956. He was a prominent author, composer and interpreter within the Franco-Ontarian community. He worked as a cultural facilitator in educational settings, helped create the Association des professionnels de la chanson et de la musique (APCM), and served as its president, among other things.

Paul Demers played in several groups, including Purlaine and Paquette-Aymar-Demers with Robert Paquette et Marcel Aymar. He performed in front of thousands of people in Paris, La Rochelle, Sudbury, Louisiana, Ottawa, etc. He released his first eponymous album in 1990, his second album in 1999 and his last album in 2011. He was also featured on several compilation albums and opened for famous artists such as Céline Dion and Offenbach (a blues rock band from Québec).

Paul was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease at age 25. He passed away on October 29, 2016 at the age of 60.

“our place”

The song “Our Place” was written in 1989 by Paul Demers and François Dubé to celebrate the French Language Services Act (FLSA). The FLSA was implemented by Bernard Grandmaître, the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, in 1986. “Our Place” was performed for the first time in Toronto at an event organized by the Fondation franco-ontarienne and TVOntario (now TFO). It was performed by the original composers and the group Hart Rouge.

“Our Place” has been sung in schools and Franco-Ontarian communities to celebrate the Francophonie ever since. A school operated by the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) called “Our Place” was founded in 2016. This song has been a symbol of Franco-Ontarian pride ever since its composition, but it only became the official Franco-Ontarian anthem on March 2, 2017 thanks to a motion tabled by Grant Crack, the M.P.P. from Glengarry-Prescott-Russell. This was just months after Paul Demers passed away.

Audio version of the official anthem