A British-style pub in Little Burgundy has received a letter from Quebec's language watchdog about some troubling English signage on its front window.
However, the problem the Office québécoise de la langue française (OQLF) has with the Pub Burgundy Lion isn't its name.
It's a sticker the size of a beer coaster that says the bar was reviewed by the website TripAdvisor.
"I'll be honest with you. When I got the letter, I couldn't remember putting [the sticker] up. I actually had to go outside and find the sticker," Toby Lyle, co-owner of the Burgundy Lion, told Montreal's Daybreak.
French stickers exist, OQLF says
Lyle said the letter he received is vague, saying only that he contravened a law and that future action may be taken.
A spokesman for the OQLF said the letter is only for information purposes, and there are no penalties involved. The agency's goal, Jean-Pierre Le Blanc said, is to let business owners know that French-language versions of such promotional stickers exist.
"This is one of about 300 to 400 letters we sent this month to businesses," said Le Blanc. "It's not an investigation. It's not a complaint. It's an incentive."
Le Blanc said the OQLF contacts the companies that produce the stickers to see if they make French versions. TripAdvisor offers its stickers in nearly 30 languages.
Lyle said said he's going to leave the sticker in place.
"We're proud of it. TripAdvisor is an international website," Lyle said.
Other controversial interventions by the OQLF
- An Italian restaurant was ordered to change certain words on its menu to French, including "pasta." The story, dubbed Pastagate, made international news, compelling the OQLF to review its policies.
- Last holiday season ,the OQLF urged merchants to stop using the term "Boxing Day" and adopt "soldes de l'Après-Noël."
- Board game shop Chez Geeks received three notices over carrying English-only games, even though French versions don't exist.
- Bar and barbershop Blue Dog Motel received a letter demanding it change its name, but it was cleared after it added the general descriptor "bar barbier" to the front.
- A clothing store in Chelsea, Que. was ordered to change its Facebook page to French, but the OQLF later softened its stance.