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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Historically, Alberta's French population has been rural and agricultural. Homesteads were what drew the first French-speaking people to the region, and many remain active in agriculture today. Other primary industries such as construction, mining, and oil and gas production also attracted French speaking migrants from Canada, and immigrants from other countries, many of them choosing to live in larger municipalities like Edmonton and Calgary. Within the city of Edmonton, French-Canadians are engaged in a number of professional activities. According to Edward John Hart, many of the city's first French-speaking citizens were employed by the government, in the Land Office in particular. New arrivals to the province also found employment in small and large businesses owned and operated by Franco-Albertan entrepreneurs, including hotels and smaller retail outlets.
The character of farming in the Franco-Albertan communities is evolving, however. The diversification of crops and the growth of large farms means there are fewer small, independent farmers, and rural populations are moving to more urban areas to seek employment.
Hart, Edward John. Ambition and Reality: The French-speaking community of Edmonton 1795-1935. Edmonton: Le Salon d'histoire de la francophonie albertaine, 1980.
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