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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
A handful of entrepreneurs, including Alexandre Mahé and Narcisse Saint-Jean would set-up businesses in the St. Vincent area during the first two decades of its development. However, like most rural communities at the beginning of the 20th century, the key to economic survival in St. Vincent was agriculture.
Although the railroad would not pass through St. Vincent, its arrival in the vicinityof the growing hamlet in 1918 was significant. Farmers no longer had to endure the long (and ultimately expensive) six-day journey to Vegreville.
Still, farming was a difficult venture for many of the farmers around St. Vincent in the first half of the century. Born out of the poverty of the Great Depression, Credit Unions and Cooperative movements contributed to the unique identity of Alberta’s political and economic history. Many banks during this period were hesitant to lend money to small communities, even though assistance was often needed to help with the harvest. Members of the Co-op movement hoped to improve their personal and community economic situations through joint initiatives. Owned and controlled by its members, and operated on a non-profit or cost basis, the Co-op represented for the community a bond of common economic and social goals.
In St. Vincent, the Credit Union was founded in 1942, and a Co-operative store opened shortly after to serve the community from St. Paul to Thérien. Merchandise was stored in the Credit Union building, which also became home to a gas station in the summer of that same year.
Related Excerot • Extrait
Isidore Cassemottes de Saint-Vincent, Alexandre Mahé (1880–1968) et la survivance canadienne-française en Alberta, en français seulement, par Dr Juliette Champagne
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For more on the towns of St. Vincent and St. Paul, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
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