Settlers had begun arriving in Alberta from Germany by the 1880s. With the completion of the Edmonton-Calgary Railway large groups settled in the Edmonton, Wetaskiwin and Camrose area but, generally speaking, the German settlers found homes all throughout the province.
German-speaking settlers in Alberta came from a large variety of religions, backgrounds and countries. They came from Austria-Hungary, Switzerland, Russia or even Russian Poland and Rumania, and by 1911 comprised the largest group of non-British settlers in the province. However, by 1916 their numbers, at least officially, had declined somewhat. With the outbreak of World War One, all those of German descent were considered enemy aliens and, as a result, many preferred to list themselves under different nationalities.
To listen to the Heritage Trails, you need the RealPlayer, available free from RealNetworks:
- German Place Names: Those that Changed After WWI - Many German towns changed their names to satisfy anti-German sentiment during the first World War. Hear more about the origin of place names in Alberta.
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- German Place Names, Part Two: Those That Stayed the Same - Listen to learn about the history behind communities like Hussar and Josephburg, which kept their German names despite hostility created by the First World War.
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- A wonderful resource: A Bibliography of the Cultural History of the German-speaking Community in Alberta.
- From CHIN (Canadian Heritage Information Network): Germany-Canada Migration Virtual Exhibit