Former French-language newspaper commemorated at Moncton Press Club
L'Évangeline was a daily newspaper in Moncton that printed its last edition in 1982
The former French-language newspaper L'Évangeline now has its 95-year history represented on the walls of the Moncton Press Club.
Two framed front pages were unveiled at the press club on Saturday, one from one of its earliest editions printed in 1887 and the other from one of the last editions in 1982.
Bernard Poirier, the president of the committee responsible for the commemoration, said that it was about time a French-language newspaper was represented there. Poirier is a former editor-in-chief of the paper.
He said he started working at the paper in 1957 as a translator. He spent several years as a reporter, then editor-in-chief. He left the publication in 1967.
"Well, we're quite proud that finally there is a French presence in the press club," said Poirier. "There's all kinds of English newspapers posted on the wall, but there was nothing at all in French."
Poirier said the newspaper focused on the French-speaking communities of the Atlantic provinces. He said it was a way to keep those communities informed.
"It gave encouragement to the Acadians to take charge of their lives and develop their potential," he told Radio-Canada in French.
He estimated there were up to 16,000 subscribers when he worked there, but that the number of printed editions fluctuated over the years.
Louise Imbeault, a longtime journalist and former director of Radio-Canada, said she started at L'Évangeline as a reporter covering Moncton city hall in 1969. She eventually became news editor.
"It was the porte-voix of Acadian causes at the time, on education, on municipal reform," she said in French. "It was a loaded era regarding Acadian identity."
She said it never should have died and that it was a strong newspaper that would still be relevant today. She said it was celebrating 25 years as a daily news publication in its final year.
"It was a bad combination of circumstances," Imbeault said about the closing. "It was not because we could not support it."
The paper was founded in November 1887 as a weekly based in Digby, N.S.
According to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Valentin Landry founded L'Évangeline.
Landry was a teacher and journalist from the Acadian peninsula. He taught and lived in Nova Scotia and believed strongly in Acadian culture.
Landry moved the publication to Moncton in 1905.
According to Poirier, its owner shut it down following a labour dispute.
With files from Babatunde Lawani, Radio-Canada