YYC Rouleauville--The Cradle of Calgary
Calgary’s French Pioneering Trailblazers
Alberta’s francophone roots date back to 1795 when French predominated at Fort Edmonton, constructed by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Saint-Joachim Catholic Parish was first established in 1838 in Fort Edmonton.
Today, Alberta has one of the fastest growing francophone populations in Canada and has the third largest francophone population outside Québec, after Ontario and New Brunswick.
In 1872, la Mission Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix (Our Lady of Peace Mission), built west of Calgary, began as a crude log cabin surmounted by a cross, the first Catholic church built by Métis lay helper Alexis Cardinal. In 1873 it was established as la Mission Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix by Father Constantine Scollen,O.M.I. Father Léon Doucet, O.M.I. joined him in 1875 and went on to Notre-Dame-des-Prairies (Bow River) on May 18th. He was the first white man to set up a tent at the mouth of the Bow and Elbow Rivers (Calgary) where a stockade would be built. Six months later, it was named Fort Brisebois only to be re-named Fort Calgary in 1876.
Thus began the battle for survival of the French presence, language and culture, on all fronts in Calgary. “Rouleauville”, Calgary’s historic French Quarter (1899 to 1907) was seemingly destined to disappear forever … until the early 1990’s, when the “stars aligned” and the French Finger of Fate pointed to the past and attracted a network of fact-finders.
Join Suzanne de Courville Nicol, Calgary’s francophone community advocate and Rouleauville history researcher-educator and promoter since 1989, to learn about exciting discoveries related to Rouleauville.
Known as “Madame FRANCO-FUN CALGARY” for the multiple FUN bilingual community events she has organized since 1994, make no mistake, Suzanne is very serious about all matters pertaining to Calgary’s French history and heritage. She will bring the “Significant Seven” Calgary’s French Pioneering trailblazers to life, as she talks about these unsung heroes. She will leave you shaking your head in amazement, and make you want to know more about “Rouleauville”, the Cradle of Calgary.