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The French-Canadian Oblate missionary Father Lacombe was posted to Calgary in 1883 and acquired two quarter sections of land outside the city. There he helped establish a French settlement and Catholic parish in the area now known as Mission. His goal was to build a French community in the area capable of resisting the influx of English speaking Protestants which was altering the French character of the region. He attempted to bolster the community’s population by wooing settlers to the “Québec of the West.” Among those drawn by the promise of the new frontier were the two Rouleau brothers. Dr. Edward Rouleau was the North West Mounted Police’s first surgeon, Charles Borromée Rouleau served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the North West Territories.
Honouring the contributions of the two industrious brothers, the area was officially named Rouleauville in 1889, and quickly became home to a thriving French community consisting of a church, a school and even a hospital. In 1907, however, unable to resist the pressure of anglo-conformity, Rouleauville was annexed to the city of Calgary. Intermarriage with Anglophones and a lack of French education led to further assimilation.
Stebbins, Robert A. The Franco-Calgarians, French Language, Leisure, and Linguistic Life-style in an Anglophone City. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.
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