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Alberta's Francophone Heritage
Background, People, Culture, Heritage Community Foundation, Albertasource and Alberta Lottery Fund


Francophone Edukit

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Fort Edmonton
Lac Ste. Anne

Fort Edmonton

Lac La Biche

St. Paul de Métis


A view of Fort EdmontonFort Edmonton, which was so named by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) was known by the French as Fort-des-Prairies. The first missionaries who visited the fort passed through on their way to the Pacific Ocean and the missions of Oregon where approximately 20 families of French-Canadian voyageurs have requested their presence. The two priests were Modeste Demers and F. N. Blanchet of the diocese of Saint-Boniface, and as they stopped by the fort they performed baptisms and marriages, as most marital unions up to that point were "country marriages." When the priest Jean-Baptiste Thibault came to Fort Edmonton in 1842, he noted the baptisms, marriages, and sepulchres in the Fort-des-Prairies register.

Father Constantine Scollen, missionary priest.The first chapel was built inside Fort Edmonton in 1857; given the name Saint-Joachim, in honour of the husband of Saint Anne; and made a good catechism lesson for the Métis who frequented the church. In 1876, the chapel was moved to the Groat Estates, on land donated by Malcolm Groat, where the present parish cemetery lies today. In 1865, Father Constantine Scollen began teaching school in the fort chapel, which effectively became the first school in Edmonton. After the move to the Groat Estates, the chapel was again moved to the present location of the parish church.

Despite the moving of the chapel, there was still a school at the mission and in 1883, Father Henri Grandin, the resident priest at the mission, asked the Faithful Companions of Jesus, a French teaching order, if they would come and open a school. The order accepted and ran a boarding school for girls and young women in the Edmonton area.


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