Welcome! Bonjour! Aaniin! The 2019 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo (IPM) is well on its way to being a completely bilingual event … or just about. This year’s IPM is being held in the Municipality of West Nipissing, a Northern Ontario community where anglophones and francophones rub shoulders on a daily basis, the latter making up close to 65 per cent of the population. Located on the ancestral land of the Anishnaabe, the Nipissing First Nation is also a neighbour that meets and mingles with other members of the community.

While organizing an event the size of the IPM is quite a feat in itself, doing it in two languages requires double the effort of volunteers and for this reason, is quite extraordinary! Being true to the community, its traditions and culture, is the main motivation for volunteers committed to make the IPM a bilingual event. The iconic IPM Coobook is just one example of how this translates into a recipe book that is not only in two languages, but the mirror of a community where the French Canadian Tourtière, the English Cottage Pie, the Metis Partridge with Meatballs Casserole and the Aboriginal bannock have somehow found a home and made it a most interesting one at that!

“I would like to congratulate the organizers who are doing everything possible to give the French language a place so that this year’s IPM is a bilingual event. Of all the IPM events that I have followed during my professional career, never have I seen a host town deploy so much efforts to communicate in both English and French (translation),” says Philippe Landry, retired journalist, Le Droit.

Translation is being done for all promotional material, education programs, event program, website and social media pages, news release, signage, speeches and more. Volunteers will also be encouraged to greet visitors with Welcome! Bonjour! Aaniin! during the IPM.

Welcoming Northern Ontario’s First Nations community in the Anishnaabe language will be a first for the IPM. Aaniin! Francophones migrated to West Nipissing from Quebec and the United States in the early 1900s. Farming was a way of life for these families who moved to Verner and area because of its fertile land. Today West Nipissing’s agricultural community is more diversified, but the fifth generation of the Beaudry family are still proud farmers in Verner.

Making the IPM a bilingual event is an opportunity to market the IPM and West Nipissing all across the country as a community where anglophones, francophones and Anishnaabe cohabitate and share a passion for nature and rural life. IPM organizers and volunteers are proud to provide this service to the community and to visitors that the IPM will be attracting from all over the country and beyond.

Visitors are invited to come and experience West Nipissing’s “Joie de Vivre” or Joy for Life during the IPM being held September 17-21 in Verner, Municipality of West Nipissing. For more information on IPM 2019: www.plowingmatch.org/ipm2019/