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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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Plamondon
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Lac-la-Biche

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Plamondon

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PlamondonPlamondon is one of the many francophone settlements in Alberta that were founded by Quebecers who first tried their luck in the United States. Joseph Plamondon left Quebec for Provemont (now Lake Leelanau), Michigan. He soon realized that Michigan farms were tiny in comparison with the 160 acres the Canadian government was offering to new homesteaders in Alberta. Plamondon left Michigan with a group of French-Canadians, and arrived at the present-day hamlet of Plamondon, in the summer of 1908. His wife had their twelfth child en route. The new home was some 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, in an area where the newcomers came into close contact with the Métis people.

The Métis started settling this area in the middle 1800s. They hunted, trapped, and established fox farms that supplied pelts for the European market. They readily shared their skills and knowledge of the area with the new settlers.

In 1910, more French-Canadians (40 adults and children) came from Michigan. On their arrival, Plamondon built a log cabin that served both as a church and a school. The books and necessary equipment came from the nearby Lac La Biche mission. Dellamen Plamondon, Joseph’s daughter, was the first teacher. She was taught by the nuns at the mission and took up teaching duties, with some supervision from her father, at the age of 12. The next year, a bank opened in the settlement. However, it had to cease business within three years, because the borrowers defaulted on their loan repayments.

Dellamen’s schoolhouse now houses a museum. Plamondon has an active branch of L’Association francaise de l’Alberta. Ecole Plamondon (kindergarten to Grade 12) has 460 students, and offers tuition in both Ukrainian and French. Ecole Beausejour also offers francophone education. In 2001, 120 people of the 335 living in Plamondon spoke French exclusively. The francophone heritage lives on—a recent mayor’s name is Rosaire Plamondon.

Plamondon today is a gateway to vast tourist areas. The hamlet also has a healthy commercial sector comprised of oil, gas, and logging industries and related services.
 

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