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Alberta's Francophone Heritage
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Students at Clearwater school, Beaumont area, Alberta, 1914.

During the 1880s, the land 15 kilometres southeast of Edmonton, now known as Beaumont, was inhabited by the Paspashase Aboriginal band. In the latter part of the decade, when federal law permitted the sale of the Aboriginal lands, the band agreed to sell their reserve.

By the spring of 1892, the railway had reached the area and served to open the territory to the first homesteaders. The following year, approximately 20 families of French descent had settled in the Sandy Lake district marking the beginning sofacommunity.

FarmingOwing to the combined efforts of the Oblate Fathers and settlers, a community church was built, and mass was no longer held in local homes. The first mass was sung at St. Vital Parish on 30 June 1895. Shortly thereafter, in the spirit of growth, Father Morin travelled to Ottawa to petition for a post office. As the townsite was situated on a ridge overlooking the southwest prairie, the community was appropriately named "Beaumont."

Town CentrePrompted by further settlers from the United States, Quebec, and Ontario, Beaumont grew technologically, economically, and culturally. Telephone service entered the area in January 1901, and agricultural practices remained significant. Many in the community enjoyed hunting, fishing, swimming, curling, and hockey.

Today, Beaumont is a thriving town of 5,700 people. Thanks to a strong housing industry and small-town appeal coupled with its proximity to Alberta’s capital city, Beaumont continues to grow. The town maintains its French-Canadian identity through the style of its buildings, street names, and the French immersion programs offered in schools. In addition, the town hosted the 2004 Fête Franco-Albertain.

Source:

  • Beaumont History Book Committee. Beau Mont, Histoire de Beaumont et district, History of Beaumont and district, 1885-1960. Beaumont, 1985.
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