Four Ways To Experience Francophone Culture in Alberta

From food to festivals, here's how to explore French culture in the Prairies 

Duchess Bake Shop

There are plenty of ways to experience francophone culture in Alberta; here are a few of our favourites.  

Community

Explore the legacy of Alberta's early French-Canadian inhabitants on a guided tour through the oldest building in the province, the Father Lacombe Chapel Provincial Historic Site in St. Albert, or wander the francophone-named streets of Edmonton’s French Quarter. At La Cité Francophone cultural centre, located in the French Quarter’s hub, you can shop at the farmer’s market on Sundays or try a bite at French-country bistro Café Bicyclette.

Food

Savour authentic poutine—that perfect mix of warm cheese, salty gravy and thick-cut fries—at Edmonton's La Poutine, which uses cheese curds straight from Quebec. At the Calgary Farmers’ Market, A Taste of Quebec also offers this classic comfort food, as well other Quebecois dishes such as tourtière and sugar pie. For more sweet treats, try a macaron or pain au chocolat from the Duchess Bake Shop in Edmonton or Yann Haute Patisserie in Calgary. Chez François Restaurant in Canmore also offers delicious goodies, like crepes and crème brulée, set against a Rocky Mountain backdrop.

Festivals

Join in the fun as Franco-Albertans celebrate their language and culture at a summer festival. Head to Morinville, just 45 minutes north of Edmonton, for the weekend-long St. Jean Baptiste Festival (June 24 to 26) or practice your French at La Fête Franco Albertaine weekend (July 8 to 10) at the David Thompson Resort in Nordegg, located three hours northwest of Calgary. For that quintessential summer music festival, check out Edmonton Chante Festival (Aug. 11 to 13 and 18 to 20).

Culture

Fans of the performing arts should seek out Zéphyr, a troupe of French-Canadian traditional step dancers who perform on stages throughout Edmonton, or catch a play at L’UniThéâtre, which offers shows with English subtitles. And, for the latest in Franco-Albertan news and events, keep an eye open for a copy of Le Franco, the province's francophone newspaper.