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The Heritage Trails are presented courtesy of CKUA Radio Network and Cheryl Croucher

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Place Names

Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, 1903. As more and more settlers established their homesteads in Alberta, small rural communities began to develop - little villages usually centered around the local church and community hall which provided a sense of ethnic or religious kinship for local residents, many of whom had arrived from abroad. By the turn of the century, there were many small towns scattered throughout a prairie landscape that had, in less than a century, been transformed from the realm of the buffalo hunt into a new and developing province. Although many early settlers came to Alberta to escape unemployment or the religious and political persecution they had experienced in their homelands, the emotional bond with native soil was often never completely broken.

This lingering connection is reflected in the modern map of the province, as many communities in Alberta are named after those places that had been near to the hearts of the settlers there. By deciphering the cultural significance of a particular place name, one can generally discover where the earliest settlers of that region were from. Here, through the CKUA Heritage Trails series, we would like to share a few of those places, and their stories, with you.

To listen to the Heritage Trails, you need the RealPlayer, available free from RealNetworks: download the RealPlayer from Real Networks!
  • Scandinavian, Place Names: Armena and Bardo - How did the Alberta towns Armena and Bardo get their names? Hear the story of two of the first Scandinavian settlements in the province.
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  • Scandinavian Names, Part Two: Dalum and Nuorison Creek - Dalum got its name thanks to a group of Danish settlers who settled near present-day Drumheller. Settlers from Finland named Nuorison Creek. Hear more about these first Scandinavian settlers.
    Read | Listen
  • Scandinavian Place Names, Part Three: Oyen and Standard - The south-central part of Alberta has been a favourite of Scandinavian settlers since the early part of the twentieth century. Listen, and learn about the Norwegian Andrew family, and the towns of Oyen and Standard.
    Read | Listen
  • Scandinavian Place Names: Thorsby and Tindastoll Creek - Settlers from Sweden and Iceland named the towns of Thorsby and Tindastoll in honour of their Scandinavian heritage. Listen to find out more about these towns and their settlers.
    Read | Listen
  • Scandinavian Place Names: Valhalla - Valhalla is the mythical home of Viking gods, but it was also the Alberta home of Scandinavian settlers led by Norwegian pastor H.N. Ronning.
    Read | Listen
  • Markerville Creamery - The Markerville Creamery was an initiative set up by Mr. C.P. Marker in 1902. Hear Dorothy Field explain the history of this historic site.
    Read | Listen
  • Ethnic Settlement in Alberta: Francophones - Oblates from France attempted to convert native and Metis peoples to the Catholic faith beginning in the mid-1800s. Father Lacombe moved his mission to St. Albert, which became a large enclave of francophone culture.
    Read | Listen
  • Ethnic Settlement in Alberta: Francophones - In the late nineteenth century, francophone culture flourished in St. Albert and Edmonton. But when the railway began to supply the community of south Edmonton with greater commercial success, the surrounding francophone communities suffered.
    Read | Listen
  • Ethnic Settlement in Alberta Part 2: Francophones - In the late nineteenth century, francophone culture flourished in St. Albert and Edmonton. But when the railway began to supply the community of south Edmonton with greater commercial success, the surrounding francophone communities suffered.
    Read | Listen
  • Ethnic Place Names: French, Part One: Demicharge and Cassette Rapids on the Slave River - Listen to hear of the voyageurs, French fur traders and some of the first Europeans to enter western Canada. The rapids along the Slave River provided one of the most difficult challenges to these brave men.
    Read | Listen
  • Ethnic Place Names Part Two, French: Pierre au Calumet, La Crete, Carcajou - Ever wonder how the French communities of Calumet, La Crete, and Carcajou got their names? Listen, and find out!
    Read | Listen
  • French Oblate Names: Part One - The Petitot River was named after the famous Oblate priest, artist, and scholar, Father Petitot, who came to Alberta as a missionary in 1862. Listen to learn more about this amazing man.
    Read | Listen
  • French Oblate Names, Part Two: Father Vegreville - Father Vegreville was an Oblate priest and an expert linguist of native languages. The original francophone community to the east of Edmonton named their town in his honour in 1906, and Vegreville later became the center of Ukrainian settlement.
    Read | Listen
  • German Place Names: Those that Changed After WWI - Many German towns changed their names to satisfy anti-German sentiment during the first World War. Hear more about the origin of place names in Alberta.
    Read | Listen
  • German Place Names, Part Two: Those That Stayed the Same - Listen to learn about the history behind communities like Hussar and Josephburg, which kept their German names despite hostility created by the First World War.
    Read | Listen
  • Irish Place Names: Ardenode - Hear about the origin of Ardenode, named by the twin sons of Irish Major George Davis in 1915.
    Read | Listen
  • Irish Place Names: Bantry - Bantry, Alberta was named after Bantry Bay in Ireland, but were the two places at all similar? Listen, and find out!
    Read | Listen
  • Irish Place Names: Connemara - Connemara is an Irish word meaning "seaside." Discover how Connemara, Alberta got it's name, and what it's called today!
    Read | Listen
  • Irish Place Names: St. Brides - A group of Irish immigrants moved near the northern frontier, and called their new settlement St. Brides. Listen to learn about the fascinating heritage of this Irish saint.
    Read | Listen
  • Greek and Latin Place Names: Part One - Many Alberta ranges were named by mountaineers with a background in Greek and Roman mythology. Listen to learn how many peaks, like Mt. Andromeda, were named.
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  • Greek and Latin Place Names: Part Two - Greek and Roman names were given not only to mountains, but to other geological features. Listen to learn more about classical naming in Alberta.
    Read | Listen
  • Greek and Roman Places Names: Part Three - Some surveyors used the ancient Greek alphabet when naming Alberta lakes. Hear more about how these lakes were named, and about Ricinus, a locality near Rocky Mountain House.
    Read | Listen

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            For more on the history of settlement in Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.