In front of the former Guigues school, two commemorative plaques bear witness to the epic struggle of Ontario's Francophones to save their schools and maintain French as a teaching language. The plaques recall that École Guigues was a centre of the Francophone rights movement in Ontario when the government wanted to limit French-language education to the first two years of elementary school.
The outcry, particularly at École Guigues in 1915-1916, forced the government to moderate its policy and in 1927, bilingual schools were officially recognized. Thanks to their protest, this school still represents a strong symbol in the Franco-Ontarian identity and memory.
A few metres away from the former Guigues school, you can find the restaurant bar Chez Lucien. This small neighbourhood restaurant bar has been, and still is to some extent, the meeting place for the bons vivants of Ottawa's Francophone community.
In the same area, la Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins, created in 1999 by four French-language theatre companies, is the place to be for high-quality plays, concerts and other cultural events.
Beyond the shows, you will meet representatives of the region's Francophone community, known for its warm welcome.
Le Bain Champagne
If you ever go to La Nouvelle-Scène, don't miss out on the Bain Champagne next door.
The Bain Champagne was a popular public bath nearly a century ago. In fact, this type of establishment was common in the working-class neighbourhoods of large cities, where the population had little access to facilities adapted to personal hygiene and health. At the Bain Champagne, people had access to a pool and free showers.
The building is now dedicated to other activities. However, you will be able to discover on the spot a series of tiles and mosaics in commemoration of this time.