Display case
September 13th, 2022 — March 5th, 2023

The Charter of the French Language: 45 years young!


Until March 5, 2023

On the mezzanine in the main building
350 Place Royale

A moving look at the history of the French language in Québec!

On August 26, 1977, the Charter of the French Language—commonly called “Bill 101”—was adopted in the National Assembly, making French the public language in Québec, and making Montréal the largest Francophone metropolis in North America!

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of this emblematic law, Pointe-à-Callière is inviting you to look back at the events that led to its introduction, from the arrival of the French some 400 years ago to more recent debates surrounding Bill 96.

Presented in a commemorative display case, explore some thirty authentic objects, alongside posters, photographs, and archival documents relating to the history of the French language in Québec, along with its supporters. Travel back in time to 1848, when the Parliament of the Province of Canada recognized French as the second common language. Then, delve into the 1960s and 70s, when the protection and promotion of French were a driving force on the political and cultural scenes.

One of the key objects on display is the original copy of the Charter, tabled in the National Assembly by Camille Laurin—known as the Father of Bill 101—under the government of René Levesque. This rarely exhibited document alone is worth a trip up to the mezzanine! A concert guitar owned by Félix Leclerc and the book Les insolences du Frère Untel by Jean-Paul Desbiens—which aroused passionate debate and whose influence on reforms in Québec is evident—also bear witness to this important chapter in the history of Québec.