Together we are Building Alliance Française of Tomorrow

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

application for the demolition permit and building permit submitted

After multiple rounds of reviews to ensure that the building project meets with the Vancouver Building By-law and the Cambie Corridor Plan, AFV submitted its application for a building permit last February 2021. At the same time, since AFV will demolish the current building and build a new facility on the same site, a demolition permit is also required.

AFV understands that the demolition permit could be issued by end of May and building permit by end June. The delays in obtaining permits have been a concerning issue so far. However, AFV is encouraged by the recent article in the Vancouver Sun which advocates for reforms and a speedier delivery of permit approvals. This will ensure that projects, such as AFV’s are able to move forward and add its unique vibrancy and dynamism to the community and cultural life of Vancouver.

the government of canada supports us

We are pleased to start this year with a very good news. Our grant application from the Department of Canadian Heritage has been approved. A contribution will be designated towards the cultural spaces in our new building project. After receiving the support of the City and the Province of British Columbia, this support comes at an opportune time, strengthening our drive and ambition to move forward with this project – the creation of your centre for language, culture, and community.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada.

Nous sommes heureux de commencer cette année avec une très bonne nouvelle. Notre demande de subvention au ministère du Patrimoine canadien a été approuvée. Une contribution sera apportée aux espaces culturels de notre nouveau projet de construction. Après avoir reçu le soutien de la Ville et de Province de la Colombie-Britannique, ce soutien intervient à un moment opportun, renforçant notre volonté et notre ambition d'aller de l'avant avec ce projet - la création de votre centre de langue, de culture et de communauté.

Nous reconnaissons l'appui financier du gouvernement du Canada. 

supported by the province of british columbia

We are encouraged by the recent support received from the B.C. Francophone Affairs Program under the Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat. The grant of $75K will support the creation of the media library in the new AFV building. We cannot wait to welcome you and your family to the revitalised space, which will house the largest collection of French language items in B.C.

first grant of 2020 - city of vancouver


We are extremely pleased to share that AFV received a grant confirmation of $175K from the City of Vancouver towards the purchase of permanent equipment for the new Performing Space and Art Gallery. This comes in addition to the grant we received last year for total grant of $250,000 from the City of Vancouver.  It is a welcome encouragement as we pursue our fundraising efforts and forge ahead with the new building project against the backdrop of COVID-19.

We are grateful to the City for this show of support for the Vancouver cultural scene.

submission of development permit & finalization of construction documents


We are pleased to share that we submitted an application for the building Development Permit to the City of Vancouver on the 24th March. The City will conduct a detailed review of the plans, notify surrounding properties and consider the overall impact of the new AFV building on the livability and functionality of the Cambie Corridor neighbourhood. Over the next few months, we will pursue discussions with the City culminating in the approval of the permit.

We are grateful to the team of architects, construction managers and engineers who have been working relentlessly, despite the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in ensuring that the design and construction documents move ahead. We are now at 75% completion.

rezoning application approved


2019 is coming to an end with some big news for Alliance Française! On December 10, our rezoning application was approved by the City of Vancouver. Councillors and staff debated at length many possibilities to reduce city fees and support additional funding options. We are now proceeding to the next step: the Development Permit and hoping to start construction in 2020. Thanks to everyone who came to support our application at City Hall: your presence and your speeches in support of the project were very much appreciated. The large community support was no doubt a major reason for getting unanimous approval from City Councillors! The focus for 2020 will be finance and we are looking for experienced volunteers to join our fundraising committee. Please don’t hesitate to bring your enthusiasm. Best wishes to all for the holidays.

public hearing

Join us on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 6 pm City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue Third Floor, Council Chamber 

Public hearing for our rezoning project is finally scheduled for december 10! What is at stake? During this hearing, the city council will give its approval on our reconstruction project. This is a very important step for us and we need your support more than ever. As this is a public meeting, the more people will attend to support us, the better! So we invite you to join us on Dec. 10. Thanks a lot for your support!

attention - access to parking temporary modified

Due to the constructions on Cambie area, the city of Vancouver closed Ash street from 45th to 49th avenue. Access to the back lane to our parking lot (at rear) is only possible from 49th avenue. The city expects to re-open Ash street early 2020. Please note that 45th West street is also expected to be closed until december 2019.

join us

Marie-Claire Howard, President

The Alliance Francaise Vancouver celebrated its 115 years in Vancouver in style with almost 700 people attending the RectoVRso exhibition at the Centre for Digital Media and 300 more pouring into our digitally transformed auditorium by Nicolas Sasson for a night of dancing with DJs Jack J, DJ Venetta and Mela Melania and good food offered by our very own Danièle et Annie and their team of volunteers. In the meantime, progress for the new building is being made slowly as we are in discussion with the City of Vancouver over a proposed development levy. Stay tuned. We have received warm support and are currently exploring several avenues for private donations as we start our fundraising campaign. Anyone interested in contributing to the success of our project is encouraged to contact us or donate online (See dedicated webpage). It’s easy and tax-deductible.

new building - reconstruction project

After such a busy summer and back-to school period, we are still working hard on our reconstruction project. So far, we are not expecting any movement before next spring. 2020 will definitely start in the actual building and we are preparing an amazing cultural program on site until summer 2020. Stay tuned for update!

a special event for our anniversary

Bring diversity to Vancouver’s cultural life
Damien Hubert, Director of the Alliance Francaise Vancouver

As you may have noticed, the Alliance Française Vancouver will organise two events to celebrate his anniversary starting with an immersive art exhibition. On this occasion, we wanted to offer something special to Vancouver, something to show the common ties that bonds Vancouver and Francophone artistic creation. Virtual reality is one of them, but not the one that comes first to mind. Applied to art it changes the way we see artistic creation and allows artists to invent new ways of expression. Both French and Canadian artists and researchers are at the forefront of innovation in that field. The last week-end of September will be full of awesome experiences, exhibitions and events to prove it such as Culture Days Events and Vancouver International Film Festival Immersed Conference. We are very happy to contribute to such a rich program with such amazing partners!

a great new home

Marie-Odile MARCEAU, Mac Farland Marceau Architects

Our architectural team is honoured to accompany the AFV on the renewal of their facilities. We are currently drawing final floor plans and are pleased to confirm that the new facility will offer a high level of comfort and sustainability, consistent with LEED Gold projects.  Respect for our environment has always been a concern of our architectural practice and has been an important part of this project from the beginning.  With the AFV team, we have included significant green features, including a green wall and a mass timber structure - which, in addition to being aesthetically pleasing, has the advantage of sequestering carbon. We are proud of our partnership with Alliance Française in the creation of a new home that combines French elegance with environmental stewardship.

cultural program

Eloïse LORIOT, event coordinator

While the board and AFV team are working on the reconstruction project for our new building, we are preparing our cultural program for the years to come.The new building will include a brand new and fully equipped performance space with 160 seats, a gallery and a demonstration kitchen; we will be able to develop our cultural program with a lot more events. What an exciting project! We want to offer an inclusive and eclectic program to our community focused on contemporary artistic creation. We aim to open the new cultural centre to Francophone and Francophile artists and to foster partnerships with new organizations. Reconstruction period will also bring new challenges. AF is working to present an audacious off site program… Count on us to be creative and imaginative!