It is safe to say that the heart of Francophone life in Edmonton is on 91st Street, in the Bonnie Doon neighborhood. So much so that in 1988, at the request of Francophonie Jeunesse de l'Alberta organization, the city agreed to rename the northern portion Marie-Anne Gaboury Street. Why was this name chosen?
Marie-Anne Gaboury was born in Maskinongé, Quebec in 1780 and married Jean-Baptiste Lagimodière, who often traveled all of Western Canada for the fur trade. In 1806, she decided to accompany her husband on his distant travels. They were among the first settlers on the Red River, in Pembina, south of the place that would become Winnipeg. Upon their arrival, Marie-Anne was expecting her first child. She also discovered that her husband had entered into a union with an Aboriginal woman, with whom he had three children. Marie-Anne participated in a buffalo hunt, then returned to Pembina to give birth to Reine Lagimodière.
In the early years, she accompanied Jean-Baptiste on summer buffalo hunts, and spent the winters at Fort Edmonton with the children. She adopted a few indigenous practices, like the baby holder they were using.
During this period, tensions rose between the colonists and the Hudson's Bay Company. During the Battle of la Grenouillère in 1816, Marie-Anne Gaboury found refuge with Peguis, the chief of the Saulteaux Nation, part of the large Anishinaabe family.
Marie-Anne Gaboury gave birth to ten children, and had more than sixty grandchildren, including the leader Louis Riel. It is around their farm that the city of Saint-Boniface, the heart of Manitoba's Francophone community, will develop. Marie-Anne Gaboury died in 1875, at the age of 95. Today, she is the symbol of the collaboration between Metis, First Nations, French and English cultures in Western Canada.