In the rural Okanagan town of Salmon Arm, B.C., an annual early spring rite plays out like clockwork.
At the end of March, parents arrive at the school district building toting coolers packed with food, fold-out chairs and a deep well of patience.
For the next two days, they'll trade jokes, watch movies, and sip Tim Hortons coffee delivered by amused neighbours, all in a bid to get their child into French immersion kindergarten.
“It's actually quite a jovial set-up,” said Alan Harrison, principal of the École Élémentaire Bastion, the only French-immersion school in the town of 15,000.
Forty years after the Official Languages Act was passed, demand for French immersion is soaring across the country.