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Facts in Brief

La famille Vasseur au Lac Sylvain, en Alberta, 1908

Alberta's Francophone heritage dates back to the earliest days of the fur trade when the Montreal peddlers came to the Northwest region in search of adventure and business opportunities.

St. Joachim Catholic Church is an important historic building in Edmonton. St. Joachim was established at Fort Edmonton in 1854 by Father Albert Lacombe. The church continues to provide service in French (2006).

Pierre la Verendrye was a leader of the westward growth of the French-Canadian fur trade. He searched many times for the way to the western ocean. He built many forts along the way. On his explorations during1731-1743, he discovered river routes and trails that later connected French-Canadian fur forts.

Mount Edith Cavell was renamed for a British army nurse during the First World War; the early French-Canadian voyageurs called it "La montagne de la Grande Traverse."

A "French Quarter" is the name given to an area of a city where Francophone business, organizations, and groups cluster. Edmonton has two regions. The most visible is called "la Cité francophone."

While Father Albert Lacombe's body is interred in a crypt at Holy Family Parish in St. Albert, his heart is buried at an hermitage he built at Midnapore Alberta.

The Official Languages Act 1969 makes French and English the official languages of Canada. All federal government departments are bilingual. All institutions dependent on the federal government must also deliver service in both languages. Federal government documents are published in both languages.

Mountaineering in the Rocky Mountains became internationally known when Swiss guides were hired. The guides often spoke French as their first language.

Sylvan Lake's first settlers in the early 1900s were Alexander Loiselle and his son Louis from Michigan. They built a sawmill, which attracted more settlers. Among the next group were the Archambeaus from France, who built a stone house that still stands. (2006)

The Laboucane Settlement is now called Duhamel. It formed when a small group of Métis settled on the south crest of the Battle River valley. Most were freighters and their source of work ceased with the arrival of the railroad. Most moved away.

The clergy of the Northwest Territories recruited for Francophone settlers. Priests and their agents visited mill towns and urban centers of the United States. The also recruited in Belgium and France.


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