Roughly 28 percent of French-Canadians in Canada outside of Quebec live in urban centres. While the francophone population is primarily rural and located in smaller townships outside of main urban areas, two Alberta cities have been home to large communities of French-speaking peoples since the early days of settlement. The first residents of Alberta’s urban centers were primarily French-speaking Métis and French Canadians from Quebec.
Whereas rural Franco-Albertan communities drew those settlers interested in agriculture, the cities attracted French speaking people from a more educated background. Most were enticed by new business opportunities and industrial work in Calgary and Edmonton. While the francophones in the Edmonton area were able to resist to some degree the forces of assimilation, the French-speaking Canadians in the southern part of the province and in Calgary were less successful in the face of anglo-conformity. Today, Beaumont remains the only French-Canadian community south of Edmonton, due in part to strong ties maintained by the local Roman Catholic clergy and a once solid French-Canadian population.