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Alberta's Francophone Heritage
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General Store in Threien, Alberta.Thérien’s gently rolling forested country was a natural fit for mixed farming and pasture land. Similar to many small French communities, it was brought together with the recruitment efforts of the Oblates, and the settlers named the community "Thérien" after Father Adéodat Thérien. The community was originally under the parish of St. Vincent.

After the Homestead Act of 1905, the first settlement (which became "old Thérien"), was settled by immigrants and Canadian veterans of the Boer War who had been granted land by the government. In 1928, the railroad arrived, but was constructed four miles northeast of the townsite. Interested in capitalizing on railway traffic, local merchants packed up and moved to the new site to do business, the rest of the settlement eventually followed. The Canadian National Railway attempted to name the community "Gabriel Siding," but the settlers, backed by the Association canadienne-Française de l’Alberta (ACFA) defeated the name change, and it remained Thérien.

Thérien grew to a village of 390 by 1949, and seemed to have great potential for growth. That all changed in a single day in 1960, when most of Thérien’s businesses were lost in a devastating fire. The store owners moved on and took their businesses with them. Despite its efforts to modernize, Thérien never fully recovered.

The hamlet of Thérien rests 120 miles northeast of Edmonton in the Municipality of Bonnyville. Some of the original settlers’ families continue to live in this quiet farmland community.

Source:

  • Amyotte, Adélard et al. Precious Memories – Mémoires Précieuses: Mallaig – Thérien 1906-1992. Mallaig: Mallaig History Committee, 1993.
  • Champagne, Juliette Marthe. De la Bretagne aux plaines de l’Ouest canadien. Saint-Nicholas: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2003.
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