Together we are Building Alliance Française of Tomorrow

spotlight on mcfarland marceau architects

"Our design for the new Alliance Francaise building seeks to create a vibrant cultural centre, where students of the French language are immersed in a complete cultural experience. Entangling visual arts, theatre, dance, music, film and café life with classrooms, meeting rooms and event space, the design faces Cambie street like the proscenium of a stage ‐ whose openness, transparency and warm wood materials invite people in to engage with Francophonie culture.”

full demolition permit obtained

Demolition permit was issued last week and we are ready to move to the next steps of the building project. Interior demolition is completed and the building will be tear down in the next few days.
It is an emotional time for AFV, this building has served extensively our purpose for over 50 years. This place is full of memories.

The demolition is expected to take a month before starting excavation and shoring. After summer, foundations will be ready to welcome the construction of our new home.

a new cultural hub

Did you know that the new building will have 4 dedicated spaces for arts and culture?

The new building will include - a 165-seat performing space, a street-facing and non-commercial art gallery, a professional demonstration kitchen and up to 5 artist studios on the top floor.
Built to the best and modern standards of universal accessibility and sustainability, these spaces will add a permanent cultural infrastructure to the City which is increasingly losing cultural spaces. Importantly, it will allow Alliance Française Vancouver to offer you an expanded, unique and diverse programming and welcome a larger number of professional and amateur artists – local, national and international.

Whether you love music, dance, opera, theatre, gastronomy, literature, poetry, traditional arts or digital arts… you will find it at Alliance Française Vancouver.

first building permit obtained

Alliance Francaise Vancouver finally received its first building permit for the removal of salvageable building materials this last May. This is a key step before the demolition permit is granted.  The site at 6161 Cambie St has now been officially handed over to the Construction Manager. With each passing week, we are moving closer and closer to the construction of the new Alliance Francaise building -  your centre for language, culture and community.

Some of you visited the building on May 15th and said a last goodbye before it gets demolished to be rebuilt in 2023. Thank you for your messages of encouragement and gratitude. We invite all of you to take a look at some of the photos highlighting a few of those moments.

financement de deo, administré par la sde

L’AFV est heureuse d’être le bénéficiaire du programme ‘Fonds de développement économique francophone de l’Ouest canadien (FDEFO)’, un financement de Diversification de l’èconomie de l’ouest canadien (DEO), administré par la Société de Développement économique de la Colombie-Britannique (SDE). Ce soutien vise à soutenir la construction des espaces culturels et communautaires dans le nouveau bâtiment.

Cet agrandissement d’espaces culturels et communautaires (salle de spectacles, galerie d’art, cuisine, médiathèque entre autres) permettra une plus grande création, production et diffusion de produits et de programmes culturels pour attirer une plus grande audience. Les francophones et francophiles bénéficieront des nouveaux espaces pour se rencontrer, pour échanger et pour s’amuser. Ils pourront s’immerger à la fois dans la langue française et les arts et la culture en toute convivialité.


Funded by Western Economic Diversification (WD), administered by la Société de Développement économique de la Colombie-Britannique (SDE)

AFV is pleased to be the beneficiary of the Fonds de développement économique francophone de l’Ouest canadien (FDEFO). This grant will support the construction of cultural and community spaces in the new building.

This expansion of cultural and community spaces (performance space, art gallery, kitchen, media library, among others) will allow greater creation, production and dissemination of cultural activities and programs for a greater audience. Francophones and francophiles will benefit from new spaces to meet, discuss and have fun. They will be able to immerse themselves in both the French language and the arts and culture in a friendly atmosphere.

renewed support from the city of vancouver

We are grateful for the continuous support of the City of Vancouver Cultural Services towards the proposed work-only artist studios on the top floor of the new AFV building. Thanks to the City’s commitment, these spaces will provide a much needed infrastructure for emerging and professional artists working in the new media and digital arts sector.

For the last few years, AFV has been successfully working with partners and artists in the digital arts sector for its cultural programming. Its longstanding partnerships with several recognized international and local institutions has enabled AFV to offer new and innovative experiences such as RectoVRso@Vancouver for the public to enjoy.

We envision these artist studios as inviting spaces to promote incubation of ideas, innovation and greater collaboration. We cannot wait to welcome our first artists.

we are building together once again

It is partly through the generosity of the community –through donations and grants - that AFV first built its facility in 1968 and continued to make capital improvements over the years. As a registered not-for-profit organisation, these donations provide additional support to the revenues generated from our activities.

Since 2010, successive boards, and countless staff and volunteers have given their time and talent to position AFV for the 21st century and ensure its ongoing success for the next 50 years.  They shared in a common vision to create a new building that will take AFV to the next level of excellence and establish itself as a major educational, cultural and community centre in Vancouver. This new building project is the result of this perseverance despite many challenges encountered along the way.  

The new building designed around green building practices and universal accessibility will have a performing space, an art gallery, artist studios, modern and high-tech classrooms and a modern media library (housing the largest collection of French language items in B.C). Stay tuned for more details.

we built together once before

Alliance Française Vancouver has always been fortunate to count on its close-knit community.  

In the 1960’s, its community worked hard to secure a permanent place for the organisation. With admirable devotion and unwavering will, they rallied support from their families, friends and government to raise the necessary funds to build AFV, what was at that time, a state-of-the art facility at 6161 Cambie St. After 64 years of meeting in temporary premises, Alliance Francaise Vancouver had dedicated classrooms for its language courses and a wonderful auditorium for its community and cultural activities. 

Having its own building and property propelled the organisation to greater heights.  AFV soon became on of the most dynamic associations in Vancouver. It modernized its operations and expanded its programs and partnerships to the point that by 1986, the building had become too small to serve the increasing number of students. The board decided to add a second floor. 

Once again, thanks to the support received from a provincial grant, a loan and its amazing community members, a second floor was opened in 1989.  Members at that time loved the new functional, comfortable and inviting spaces. 

In 2003, the need to renovate the building arose to address concerns such as waterproofing the first floor, creating a direct access to the parking lot and weather proofing the windows. Once again, the generous spirit and fortitude of AFV community shined through. Many of them made a donation to support the renovation. What a joy it was prior to the pandemic, to still see so many of these benefactors at our events and programs regularly. 

Unfortunately, this building is now past its useful life and can no longer support AFV’s activities and provide a quality environment for our members, students and users.  

While we are sad to say goodbye to our current home, we know that we can count on our community again and look forward to welcoming all of you again in our new building in 2023 on this same historic site of 6161 Cambie Street. 

community at the heart of this project

In continuity with its vision to nurture a thriving community and offer affordable spaces to gather, Alliance Française Vancouver (AFV) has entered a formal Community Use Agreement with the City of Vancouver. This means that spaces in the new building – performing space, art gallery, demonstration kitchen, classrooms etc. will be available at special rates to the community. AFV is proud to add these new spaces and additional professional resources to the cultural ecosystem of the City where access to and affordability of appropriately-sized spaces have long been constant challenges for emerging artists and non-profit groups in particular. AFV is looking forward to welcoming you all in its green and universally accessible facility in 2023.

final approval of rezoning and form of development

The rezoning application was unanimously approved (subject to conditions) by the City Council at the Public Hearing of December 10, 2019. Since receiving the follow-up legal paperwork in August 2020, Alliance Française Vancouver has been working tirelessly with its architects, consultants, lawyer, and construction manager to ensure that the project meets all the prior-to approval conditions set by the City. The paperwork was finalized this March and the new zoning by-law has been finally enacted at the City Council meeting of 13 April.  This confirms that AFV has met all the legal conditions of rezoning. This also validates the form of development for the new project. Importantly, this approval is critical in unlocking the next permit approvals