The French-language club was one of thousands of organizations across the country which opened their doors Sept. 28-30 as part of Culture Days.
Culture Days allowed people to get “behind the scenes” to discover the world of artists, creators, historians, architects, curators, designers and other creative people in the community.
About 80 people attended Club Amical's celebration. Fern Demers, Club Amical's past-president, said Francophone culture is strong in the city, and it's important to celebrate it.
“We're very proud of our culture,” he said.
The club actually holds music jams every Tuesday evening. These jams can include everything from fiddles, accordions, mandolins, mouth organs, guitars, piano and vocalists, Demers said.
“Unlike a lot of places, everybody gets a turn,” he said. “Rather than have two or three people take over the show and the rest can't play, we don't have very many turns, but at least we're sure to have our turn.”
Although mostly French songs were played at the Culture Days event because it was a celebration of Francophone culture, a mixture of French and English tunes are normally played at the Tuesday night jams.
“We mix it,” Demers said. “We're not focused on the French-only. We're open to other cultures.”
Club Amical, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is open to Francophones over the age of 45. Memberships cost $20, and most activities are just $1.
The club, which has about 500 members, has at least one activity running on most days. Beyond the Tuesday night jam sessions, Club Amical offers shuffleboard and cards sessions, and at least one meal a month.
It's not unusual for more than 50 people to attend the club's activities.
“If you stay home by yourself, you're lonely,” René Deschamps, president of Club Amical, said. “If you come here, there's always people, and the people are all friendly.”
Demers said it's important for Francophones to have somewhere to socialize in their own language.
“If you have 50 Frenchmen, and one English comes in, we all speak English,” he said.
Anglophones are welcome at club events as long as they make an effort to communicate in French, Demers said.
Club Amical operates out of a former school building at 553 Lavoie St. in New Sudbury. The club recently received a $25,000 grant from the federal government's New Horizons program, which paid for repairs to the building's roof.
“Our government appreciates the diversity of expertise, knowledge and experience that the elderly bring to our society and to our economy,” said Jay Aspin, MP for Nipissing-Timiskaming, speaking on behalf of Minister of Human Resources and Development the Honorable Diane Finley.
“Thanks to the initiatives like the New Horizons’ programs for the elderly, we want to ensure that the elderly continue to enjoy a better quality of life by continuing to participate in an active social lifestyle.”
For more information about Club Amical, visit www.clubamicalnouveausudbury.com or phone 705-566-2113.