A bright and bubbly bus is spreading a message of inclusion, respect and diversity – and it just kicked off its cross-Canada journey right here in Victoria.
The Bonjour My Friend program was started by the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue in an effort to talk to Canadians about linguistic duality and multi-culturalism.
To honour the 50th anniversary of the adoption of Canada’s Official Languages Act, the bus will travel across all 10 provinces in 50 days, working to reaffirm the nation’s commitment to linguistic duality.
“Canadians have had to live harmoniously between English and French majorities since Confederation and that has opened the doors to the incredible diversity here in Canada,” said bus ambassador Laura Lussier. “Linguistic duality is different from bilingualism – it’s the openness, appreciation and respect of the other language.”
As they tour Canada, the bus will stop at schools, community and cultural centres and even talk to people on the street.
They completed their rounds of Victoria on Tuesday, after stopping in at école Victor-Brodeur, Central Middle School and Stelly’s Secondary School.
“Everybody has been really receptive,” said ambassador Shaunpal Jandu. “Ideally we want everybody to appreciate both languages whether you speak them or not.”
While the bus focuses mainly on the relationship between English and French, it also highlights the importance of Indigenous history and languages within Canada.