This year Bastille Day, the French national day, will not be a day of celebration in Toronto but a day of tribute to our frontline workers. On July 14th, the 1100 staff who keep the city clean will be honored during the French National Day as a sign of gratitude for their dedicated work during the Covid-19 crisis.

On behalf of the French community, Consul General Tudor Alexis, will present gift bags with goodies from France to these workers who help us live in a safe environment. The event will take place in collaboration with the city’s Solid Waste Management Services at Bermondsey Yard, from 6:00 a.m onwards on July 14th. It will be followed by the raising of the French flag at Toronto City Hall at 10:00 a.m.

Due to the current restrictions on public gatherings, the public will be able to attend the flag raising ceremony only online at the Consulate’s Facebook page. Torontonians can also take part in Bastille Day by sharing photos of their best memories of France and previous Bastille Days on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #BastilleDay and #14Juillet.

"Close to 30 000 people have died in France due to COVID-19 and I do not have the heart to celebrate Bastille Day this year the usual way with champagne and other treats. Instead of that I decided to shine the light on one category of frontline workers we never talk about: people who clean our streets, pick the thrown-away masks, compost our refuse and basically help us live in a clean environment day in and day out. Handing over a gift bag to each one of the 1100 staff of the solid waste management team is a small gesture of gratitude to the people who take care of us. This is the true spirit of fraternity that Bastille Day is all about. Of course, there are many categories of front-line workers, starting with medical personnel that we do not wish to ignore. But the idea behind this is to be as inclusive as possible in our approach and to think about certain people who are sometimes forgotten,” said Tudor Alexis.

The gift bags will contain a few typically French items imported or made here by French people. A team of volunteers made up of French citizens in Toronto will assemble the gift bags on July 12 at 9 a.m. at the French Consulate (2 Bloor St East, 22nd floor) The Consul general and his spouse will also be present. For any queries, please contact Priscillia Leroy at 647 517 3485 or

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Last modified on 09/07/2020

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