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Cooperative Centre francophone de Thunder Bay wins a national award

The group is chosen Canada's small cooperative of the year.
Cooperative centre francophone
The Cooperative Centre francophone de Thunder Bay is located on Van Norman St. (Google Street View)

THUNDER BAY — The Cooperative Centre francophone de Thunder Bay has received national recognition for its work in the community.

The organization was recently chosen by Cooperatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) as the country's small cooperative of the year.

CMC is a member-driven association that supports and represents Canadian co-operatives and mutual businesses by working with key players in the co-operative sector and government.

The Thunder Bay group was nominated by the Cooperation Council of Ontario.

In announcing the award, CMC said its members develop numerous projects and make a significant contribution to the French language and francophone culture in Northwestern Ontario.

One high-profile example is the Franco Festival, the largest francophone festival in Northwestern Ontario.

In 2015, the cooperative purchased and renovated a building to create a francophone multi--service centre, where five of its seven member groups rent space.

The centre allows for the pooling of equipment and greater collaboration among Thunder Bay's francophone organizations.

In a statement, the Cooperative Centre francophone said it believes it stands out through its innovative services and programs, and its impact on the local francophone community.

It offers services in health, basic skills and literacy and language rights advocacy, as well as a women's centre and services to seniors, among other programming.

"If the Cooperative Centre francophone de Thunder Bay is recognized today, it's because of the vision of the founding members and the unwavering commitment of its volunteers," said chairperson Claudette Gleeson.

The executive director of the Cooperation Council of Ontario, Julien Geremie, said "The CCO is very proud that one of its members is receiving such a prestigious prize. This cooperative is an example for other francophone communities in Ontario that wish to collaborate and grow."

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