It goes without saying that life in French in Edmonton needs cultural activities, education and community organizations. But we must not underestimate the importance of economic life as an indicator of the health of a linguistic community. The building in front of you is tangible proof of this.
In 1986, a group of Francophone investors decided to purchase the Centre 82 building. This was before the Cité francophone’s construction, and many Francophone associations and businesses were looking for a place to set up shop in the French Quarter. A good example of this fact is illustrated by the arrival of Le Carrefour, the French bookstore, which was previously located in the Garneau district.
Several associations have also established their headquarters here: the French-Canadian Association of Alberta, the weekly newspaper Le Franco, the dance company La Girandole, and many others. Not to mention francophone companies such as the accounting firm Bergeron and Company, Academy Insurance, Bourque and Tardif, and the clinics of chiropractor Robert Brodeur and massage therapist Joël Denis.
Most of the associations moved into the first phase of La Cité francophone, which opened in 1997. However, the commercial businesses in Centre 82 expanded and took over most of the space, while new businesses keep moving in as soon as space becomes available.
With the opening of Centre 82, Francophone life was finally on Whyte Avenue, one of the most dynamic area of the provincial capital.