Alliance Française de Toronto is over a hundred years old. It welcomes more than 6,000 students in its French classes and hosts more than 80 cultural events every year.
Alliance Française de Toronto since 1902
At the dawn of success:
- October 28, 1902: Alliance Française de Toronto (AFT) is founded on the campus of the University of Toronto by professor Charles Saint-Elme de Champ and several of his faculty colleagues, with the purpose to “help students learn modern languages”.
- 1914-1918: Alliance Française de Toronto gives its first French classes to Canadian military officers about to be shipped away to the French front during World War One.
- April 22, 1927: Alliance Française de Toronto’s board of directors has its first corporate letter patent registered.
- Until 1960: Alliance Française de Toronto is a university club based on Victoria campus. Its first director from France is appointed at the end of the 1950’s.
- End of the 60’s: Alliance Française de Toronto begins to offer French classes in the basement of one of its professors’ home.
The expansion of Alliance Française de Toronto:
- 1970’s: Alliance Française de Toronto settles in a two-storey dwelling at 60, Charles Street West. With the arrival of French director André Petit in 1977 and the election Bill Graham as President in 1978, Alliance Française de Toronto begins to grow as a specialized language school and to develop its cultural activities. In addition to drafting its by-laws, Alliance Française de Toronto becomes officially recognized as a non-profit organization.
- Early 1980’s: Alliance Française de Toronto purchases a building at 895, Yonge Street. The space consists of eight classrooms over four floors and a gallery space for exhibits.
- 1986: Alliance Française de Toronto purchases a Victorian house at 24, Spadina Road. Although it was initially considered a financial risk, this decision will ensure the growth and future of the institution. At the same time, Alliance Française de Toronto opens the first Montessori school on Spadina road.
- January 1987: Alliance Française de Toronto moves into its new Spadina home. The Montessori school faces a significant increase in enrolment and is forced to move.
- 1991: A new branch opens in Mississauga.
- September 1991: A new branch with five classrooms opens in North York at 1, Elmhurst Avenue.
- December 1997: The Mississauga branch moves to 1140, Burnhamthorpe Road West.
- 1998: The Spadina branch opens a library on its first floor.
The consolidation of existing assets:
- 2002: Alliance Française de Toronto purchases a large building in North York, located at 95, Sheppard Avenue West. Significant renovation work ensues.
- 2004/2005: Alliance Française de Toronto launches new cultural events such as Fête de la musique, a hat design show at Hazelton Lane, in partnership with French design school Mod’Art Internationale.
- Summer 2004: The reception area at 24,Spadina Road is renovated.
- September 2004: The North York branch settles into its newly renovated space.
- 2005: Alliance Française de Toronto introduces health benefits and a pension plan for its employees.
A linguistic and cultural development:
- Since 2007: Cultural activities have been growing in number thanks to various partnerships established with French-speaking associations and cultural centres in Toronto. Today, Alliance Française de Toronto’s monthly e-newsletter presents an average of two events every week.
- Summer 2008: The Gallery at Spadina is expanded.
- October 2008: the Mississauga branch moves to 4261, Sherwoodtowne Blvd. Entirely renovated and newly equipped, this spacious building includes 15 classrooms and a library.
- 2008/2009: The 2008/2009 cultural season consisted in a total of 113 activities on Alliance Française de Toronto’s three campuses, 81 of which took place at the Spadina branch and welcomed 4,100 visitors (notwithstanding Fête de la Musique on Harbourfront), which represents an average attendance of 45 people per event. The Cabarets-chanson also become increasingly successful with more than 100 spectators per evening.
- September 2009: Alliance Française de Toronto launches a significant building extension project for its Spadina branch, with the addition of four floors to meet a growing demand for its French classes and to welcome a larger audience at its cultural events. This aims to respond to growing demand of subscriptions and expand cultural spaces.
- January 2010: Alliance Française de Toronto opens a new branch in Markham with four classrooms.
- June 2009: During an extraordinary general meeting, AFT voted in new status and letters patent, later approved in July 2009.
- September 2009: For the first time, Alliance Française de Toronto launches its cultural season around nine thematic cycles.