Edmonton’s francophone community is foundational to Edmonton’s history, with a presence since the beginning of the fur trade and the establishment of posts towards the end of the 18th century. French speaking engagés (contract labourers) and Canadien voyageurs were a vital part of trading post staff. It was essential for fur trade managers to speak French in order to communicate with them.

They were later joined by Francophone Roman Catholic missionaries, who ministered to the people of the North-West and Hudson Bay Company, setting an early precedent for Francophone education that remains strong in the Edmonton region.