• Young

A conference highlighting the historical, cultural and economic contributions of French Canadians from Québec to Vermont and New England. This year's conference happened on March 20, 2017 at the University of Vermont.

lire en français

Between 1830 and 1930, close to one million immigrants from Québec poured into Vermont and New England, populating towns and villages, starting new businesses and farms. While many of these new immigrants settled closer to the border, others spread throughout Vermont and into New England. The influence of these new settlers on the state and region was vast, from politics to culture, to the economy. In many northern schools in Vermont, French was as frequently spoken as English. Today, while the phone book remains heavily dominated by French surnames, this huge influx of population is largely integrated. Yet nearly some 25% of Vermonters trace their ancestry to French Canada.

In this conference we look at the past, the present and the future of these cross-border migrations and relationships. In three panels we examine this story, asking these fundamental questions:

Past: How and why was Vermont and New England populated by so many French Canadians in the 19th-early twentieth centuries? When, how and why did this massive influx assimilate? How were they received?

Present: How do cross-border connections with Québec, in tourism and in trade, continue to shape the culture and economy of Northern New England?

Future: How does the French-Canadian wave of immigration relate to current immigration trends?  What can we learn from the past as we think about the future?

Conference Program (PDF)

Annotated Bibliography (PDF)


  • Mark P. Richard, Professor of History and Canadian Studies, SUNY Plattsburgh
  • Rita de Santis, Minister for Access to Information and the Reform of Democratic Institutions, Government of Québec
  • Leslie Choquette, Director of the French Institute at Assumption College
  • David Massell, Professor of History and Director, Center for Canadian Studies, University of Vermont
  • Susan Pinette, Director of the Franco-American Centre, University of Maine
  • Ernest Pomerleau, French Honorary Consul in Burlington, Pomerleau Real Estate
  • Carole Salmon, Chair of World Languages and Cultures, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  • Adeline Simenon, Director, Paul, Frank & Collins
  • Chris Louras, Former Mayor, City of Rutland, Vermont
  • Jack Jedwab, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration
  • Governor Phil Scott, 82nd Governor of the State of Vermont
  • Father Marcel Rainville, Campus Minister, St. Michael's College
  • Ted Brady, Deputy-Secretary, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
  • Pierre Chartrand, dance historian, choreographer, founder of Danse Cadence
  • Thomas J. Donovan, Attorney-General, State of Vermont
  • Mary Rice-DeFosse, Professor of French & Francophone Studies, Bates College


Richard Watts, (802-373-1131)
David Massell, (802-656-3180)

Organizing Committee

David Massell, Canadian Studies; Richard Watts, Center for Research on Vermont; Laurence Gagnon, Government of Québec, Boston Delegation; Victoria-Brassart Jones and Linda Pervier, Alliance Francaise of the Lake Champlain Region; Tom Torti, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce; Ernest A. Pomerleau, French Honorary Consul in Burlington; Laurence Clerfeuille, Professor of French, St. Micheal's College; Lise Veronneau, City of Burlington/Honfleur Sister City.


Government of Québec, the University of Vermont, State of Vermont, UVM Humanities Center; Center for Canadian Studies, Center for Research on Vermont, Pomerleau Real Estate, Vermont Academy of Arts & Sciences, RETN | Regional Educational Television Network, and the Vermont Green Line