The 2024 edition of Tintamarre was as happy and raucous as ever as the French-speaking Saskatchewan (Fransaskois) community celebrated their existence, culture, and language. 

The tradition of Tintamarre originated with the Acadians in eastern Canada, in the aftermath of British attempts to expel the culture and extinguish the language. 

“Tintamarre originally started out in Acadia, and it was a way for the Acadians to show that they were still a vibrant part of the community — Their community was still alive and well,” explained Todd Smith, a teacher at Ecole Ducharme. 

“What they ended up doing is they organized a big parade where all the Acadian people would come out, they bang pots, hammer drums, blow whistles, to basically let the community know, ‘Hey, we’re still here, we’re still alive.’” 

Several hundred school children from local French programs gathered in Crescent Park at 10 a.m. before marching raucously down Athabasca onto Main, then onto Ominica and finishing at Ecole Ducharme. 

They were joined by Mayor Clive Tolley, city manager Maryse Carmichael, Chief Rick Bourassa from the Moose Jaw Police Service, Denis Simard, president of the provincial Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise, and many more teachers, police officers, and supporters. 

“Ecole Ducharme has invited me the last few years to be part of this, and I think it’s a tribute to the multiculturalism of our community,” Tolley said. He noted that Moose Jaw’s French community continues to grow and contribute to the city. 

“It’s a fabulous thing for our community, for diversification, and I just love the multiculturalism of our community.” 

Denis Simard, Chief Rick Bourassa, and Paulin Apipila, vice-president of ACF Moose Jaw, pose for a photo together as Tintamarre kicks off in Crescent ParkDenis Simard, Chief Rick Bourassa, and Paulin Apipila, vice-president of ACF Moose Jaw, pose for a photo together as Tintamarre kicks off in Crescent Park (photo by Gordon Edgar)

Simard said the last time his organization conducted a survey, it showed the French community in Saskatchewan had people from 87 different countries.  

“We are, yes, one community, but we’re more than that, we’re an international community. This language is a way of drawing us all together,” he said. Simard added that Tintamarre is an important way of uniting the diverse Fransaskois in the province.  

“It’s so important for us to actually be able to see our symbols out in public, we don’t see that enough in Saskatchewan. And so, (Tintamarre) is an opportunity to gather a couple hundred kids, a bunch of adults, dressed up, having fun, with the Fransaskois flag and a bunch of makeup, going out and banging drums and, in a sense, saying ‘look at us, we’re out, we’re proud, we’re super happy to be here as part of the Saskatchewan community, but as a Fransaskois community.’” 

Maryse Carmichael, originally from Quebec and now a proud Fransaskoise, said she was proud to come out in support and see such an active, joyful group of people. 

“It’s exciting to celebrate francophonie in Moose Jaw, there’s a good, vibrant community. We see it with the schools, with Ecole Ducharme and all the other schools that have French programs. 

“I’m really impressed with the community, and I’m here to support them.” 

The Fransaskois community sang, danced, and made noise together during Tintamarre on March 15 2024