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

 

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Trochu
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Trochu

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Armand Trochu, nicknamed "colonel" by his peers, brought a group of disgruntled aristocratic French army officers and some gentlefolk to southeast central Alberta in 1905. Trochu arrived in the area in 1902, but didn’t have enough capital to expand his businesses, so he went back to France to look for investors. He found some, thanks to the law of 1905, which enshrined the separation of church and state. It meant that the French state was no longer subsidizing Roman Catholic schools.

Officers and gentry set up the St. Ann Ranch Trading Company, which became known as Trochu Valley. That name was shortened to Trochu in 1911. A Roman Catholic church was built in 1907; the telephone came in 1908. The next year, the order of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Evron arrived. The nuns built a convent and established a hospital, and, presumably, assumed the teaching responsibilities in the settlement.

A few years later, when the First World War broke out, most of the gallant officers went to fight for their original homeland. Only one family of the three that returned stayed in Trochu. As a result, the French influence in Trochu didn’t have the chance to endure.

In 2001, out of nearly 1,000 inhabitants, only 15 were bilingual, and none spoke French exclusively. However, upon closer inspection, one can spot traces of French influence in the design of some of the older houses as well as a few French street names.

Trochu lies in good Alberta farming country and is still surrounded by thriving agriculture. Other profitable industries have sprung up—oil, gas, gravel pits, and meat processing.

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