Thérien’s gently rolling forested country was a natural fit
for mixed farming and pasture land. Similar to many small French
communities, it was brought together with the recruitment
efforts of the Oblates, and the settlers named the community
"Thérien" after Father Adéodat Thérien. The community was
originally under the parish of St. Vincent.
After the Homestead Act of 1905, the first settlement (which
became "old Thérien"), was settled by immigrants and Canadian
veterans of the Boer War who had been granted land by the
government. In 1928, the railroad arrived, but was constructed
four miles northeast of the townsite. Interested in capitalizing
on railway traffic, local merchants packed up and moved to the
new site to do business, the rest of the settlement eventually
followed. The Canadian National Railway attempted to name the
community "Gabriel Siding," but the settlers, backed by the
Association canadienne-Française de l’Alberta (ACFA) defeated
the name change, and it remained Thérien.
Thérien grew to a village of 390 by 1949, and seemed to have
great potential for growth. That all changed in a single day in
1960, when most of Thérien’s businesses were lost in a
devastating fire. The store owners moved on and took their
businesses with them. Despite its efforts to modernize, Thérien
never fully recovered.
The hamlet of Thérien rests 120 miles northeast of Edmonton
in the Municipality of Bonnyville. Some of the original
settlers’ families continue to live in this quiet farmland
- Amyotte, Adélard et al. Precious Memories – Mémoires
Précieuses: Mallaig – Thérien 1906-1992. Mallaig:
Mallaig History Committee, 1993.
- Champagne, Juliette Marthe. De la Bretagne aux plaines
de l’Ouest canadien. Saint-Nicholas: Les Presses de
l’Université Laval, 2003.