France's gift to Quebec met with sneers and jeers

16th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

MONTREAL, Feb 15, 2007 (AFP) - A gift cow with antlers from France to Quebec to celebrate the upcoming 400th anniversary of North America's largest Francophone community was met with sneers and jeers, said media Thursday.

MONTREAL, Feb 15, 2007 (AFP) - A gift cow with antlers from France to Quebec to celebrate the upcoming 400th anniversary of North America's largest Francophone community was met with sneers and jeers, said media Thursday.

The peculiar mascot, designed for the quadricentennial and dubbed "Vachibou" -- combining the French word for cow with the name for the local wild reindeer -- was unveiled by former French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin this week in Quebec City, the oldest permanent French settlement on the continent, now Canadian.

The chimeric hybrid, crafted by a young French graphic designer, was meant to invoke the dairy cattle of Normandy, where Quebec's first settlers originated, and the wild caribou roaming Quebec's tundra.

But Quebec officials pointed out that the antlers atop the mascot belonged to a moose, not a caribou. Also, the female was crowned with male moose antlers.

"All that was missing were feathers and a beaver's tail to make the full tour of Quebec folklore. Why not have it coming out of a log cabin too?" quipped the Francophone Journal de Quebec.

The symbol was supposed to identify cultural events sponsored by France, which pledged 12 million Canadian dollars (10 million US) toward celebrations.

To the French, Caribou represent Quebec's "wide open spaces, the lakes, the trappers, the coureurs du bois (explorers) of early days," Frederic Paruta, a spokesman for the French consulate in Montreal, told the National Post.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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