Franco-Albertans are involved in all aspects of sport, taking
advantage of the natural features of the province: its
mountains, lakes, and long, dark winters. The long days of
summer are ideal for outdoor sports, and baseball has long been
a favourite. Very few ball diamonds are ever illuminated here,
owing to the northern latitude of the province.
There are many lakes and the cottage life at summer villages
is an important part of the culture, where fishing, swimming and
water skiing are the norm. Canoeing and kayaking are practiced
as well, on Alberta’s many rivers, as well as lakes.
During the winter, ice fishing is popular, as is
snowmobiling. Skiing, both downhill and cross-country, are also
much loved, and there are many wonderful trails which become
hiking or running trails in the summer.
Hockey is another great favourite and Franco-Albertan
communities have provided many professional hockey players. The
Habs of St. Paul, modelled on the Montreal Habs (Habitants) were
long considered unbeatable in their league. Similarly, the
hockey team at the Faculté Saint-Jean (and its earlier
incarnations) unnerved their rivals.
Curling is another sport in which Franco-Albertans excel. And
given the rural lifestyle many Franco-Albertans lead, horseback
riding is another popular activity, and many participate in
gymkhanas and other competitions.
Rodeos are another pastime; some participate in the
professional circuit, in the riding or chuckwagon events.
Indoor sports are very important as well, and it is possible
for children to take swimming lessons in French in some places,
such as Bonnie Doon Pool in Edmonton.