Central Alberta was settled by a considerable number of
French-speaking people, many of whom came from France.
In 1906, about 30 French families moved to Sylvan Lake with
Dr. Tanche of Lille to establish a true socialist society.1
They all lived together in a large barn which was also used for
their poultry and livestock. The colony was a failure and
disbanded two years later; about half of the members went back
to France while the rest took homesteads elsewhere in the
The Edmonton Bulletin notes approximately 50 Breton
settlers heading for Red Deer in 1904.2
The sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Evron established a
convent and hospital at Trochu, where a group of former French
officers created the town after leaving France in refusal to
follow orders concerning the eviction of religious communities
with the separation of the Church and the State.3
During those years a fairly homogenous French community was
found in the area between Drumheller and Stettler, where 12
priests from Tinchebray in Normandy settled and established
parishes and missions. By 1910, they had built a church,
convent, school, and hospital in Stettler, but left the area
suddenly during the 1920s following difficulties with the bishop
of the diocese of Edmonton, H. J. O’Leary.
Many of the French citizens of the region left in 1914 to
fight in the First World War.