Villeneuve is surrounded by some of the best agricultural
lands there are. The Métis had settled the region, and hunted
and trapped in the area before Father Jean Baptist Morin brought
six families from Quebec in 1891. The immigration continued for
the next few years. More people came from Quebec, and some from
Kansas. In 1909, 35 francophone families and eight Flemish
The settlement got the usual services—a store, a blacksmith,
and a post office operated from a private house—quite fast. The
first log church, though, wasn’t built until 1897. The Métis
Chief Michel Calahoo supplied the logs, and in return asked that
the Métis be allowed to worship in the church.
In 1922, the railway missed Villeneuve by about
one-and-a-half kilometres. Nevertheless, the Canadian Northern
Railway built a passenger station and three grain elevators
(taken down in 1977). Villeneuve has also lost its school, but
at the nearby airport training facility, young men and women can
learn to fly and maintain gliders and aircraft. Apart from
agriculture, there are gravel and sand extraction operations
around Villeneuve. Today’s church of St. Peter is an elegant
building with three slim spires, which dates back to 1933.
Today the hamlet has 178 inhabitants (2001). It is named
after the founder and owner of L’Ouest Canadien, a French
newspaper published in Edmonton.