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Parade St-Jean Baptiste

Walk through the door of certain Alberta households, and you will be greeted not by a "hello," but by "bonjour." Like many parts of Canada, Alberta was first settled by French-speaking traders, missionaries and homesteaders. Some came from Québec, others from the United States and Europe. All were looking to build a home on the prairies, and all brought with them elements of French culture and identity.

Group of French Canadians

While Franco-Albertans share many traits with fellow Francophones in Québec, they face a unique set of challenges. Cultural isolation, assimilation by a dominant majority and decreasing numbers all threaten the remaining French-speaking communities, many of which were home to the province's earliest settlers. However, community pride and an ongoing dedication to cultural preservation have helped many French-Canadian towns to retain the important cultural markers of their heritage, such as language and education. The bonds of the past are strong in the Franco-Albertan community, and their continued existence is a testament to the struggles and determination of French-Canadian pioneers.

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