Plamondon is one of the many francophone settlements in
Alberta that were founded by Quebecers who first tried their
luck in the United States. Joseph Plamondon left Quebec for
Provemont (now Lake Leelanau), Michigan. He soon realized that
Michigan farms were tiny in comparison with the 160 acres the
Canadian government was offering to new homesteaders in Alberta.
Plamondon left Michigan with a group of French-Canadians, and
arrived at the present-day hamlet of Plamondon, in the summer of
1908. His wife had their twelfth child en route. The new home
was some 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, in an area where
the newcomers came into close contact with the Métis people.
The Métis started settling this area in the middle 1800s.
They hunted, trapped, and established fox farms that supplied
pelts for the European market. They readily shared their skills
and knowledge of the area with the new settlers.
In 1910, more French-Canadians (40 adults and children) came
from Michigan. On their arrival, Plamondon built a log cabin
that served both as a church and a school. The books and
necessary equipment came from the nearby Lac La Biche mission.
Dellamen Plamondon, Joseph’s daughter, was the first teacher.
She was taught by the nuns at the mission and took up teaching
duties, with some supervision from her father, at the age of 12.
The next year, a bank opened in the settlement. However, it had
to cease business within three years, because the borrowers
defaulted on their loan repayments.
Dellamen’s schoolhouse now houses a museum. Plamondon has an
active branch of L’Association francaise de l’Alberta. Ecole
Plamondon (kindergarten to Grade 12) has 460 students, and
offers tuition in both Ukrainian and French. Ecole Beausejour
also offers francophone education. In 2001, 120 people of the
335 living in Plamondon spoke French exclusively. The
francophone heritage lives on—a recent mayor’s name is Rosaire
Plamondon today is a gateway to vast tourist areas. The
hamlet also has a healthy commercial sector comprised of oil,
gas, and logging industries and related services.