Anticipating the closure of the Saint-Paul-des-Métis colony,
the Oblate missionaries encouraged French-Canadian settlers to
the region. The territory had barely been surveyed when
prospective settlers began to arrive. They called the region
"Alberta-Nord" (Alberta North) and "Petit Québec" (Little
Quebec). As well as French-Canadians and Franco-Americans,
emigrants from France, Belgium and the French region of
Switzerland also arrived, settling in the region where Métis
families from the former colony still lived.
Under the encouragement of Bishop Vital Grandin and of his
successor Bishop Émile Legal, settlers were encouraged to
homestead in the Lac La Biche region, where French speaking
Métis had been living since the beginning of the 19th century.
Despite the fact that the potential for agriculture was
marginal, several new francophone communities were established
in the region, including Plamondon, Gourin and Grandin. A group
of settlers from New England settled in the Bonnyville area;
they were French-speaking protestants and their leader Dr.
Duclos (also their pastor) established a much needed hospital
and boarding school west of the town of Bonnyville.