Garneau Cinema

Art Deco Style

Sources: Provincial Archives of Alberta A6885

State of the Art Technology...From the 1940's

Photo: Provincial Archives of Alberta 06503.

The Francophones in the photo look slightly worried in front of this reel-to-reel machine, the centerpiece of CHFA's French radio, founded in 1949, and whose first program was broadcast from the Garneau Cinema.

CHFA Antenna

Photo: Provincial Archives of Alberta.

The first antenna was situated in an empty field south of the city, a place that is now the Millwoods neighbourhood.

Text version of the audio

Just steps away from the south end of the High Level Bridge, the historic Garneau Theatre is characterized by its Art Deco design. It was from here that the very first French radio broadcast in Alberta was made on November 20, 1949. Francophones in the province understood how this new technology could be used to fight assimilation and promote the development of French-Canadian culture. 

The broadcasting of important works of Quebec literature, such as Un homme et son péché, as a radio play, demonstrated the determination of Edmonton’s Francophones to enjoy their French-Canadian identity. With strong support from individual donors and francophone community associations, CHFA's signal on AM 680 grew stronger in the years that followed. 

With the addition of antennas over the next two decades, francophone communities throughout the north, south and east of the province were able to receive the signal. The next chapter in French radio began with the purchase of CHFA by CBC/Radio-Canada in 1974, then by the signal’s transfer on the FM band, and finally the addition of another radio station dedicated to music, La chaîne culturelle, which is now Ici Musique

Another initiative links this building to French culture in Edmonton. The Garneau Theatre is now home to Metro Cinema, which for many years has presented the Edmonton French Film Festival, organized in collaboration with Alliance française d'Edmonton. The festival usually takes place around March 20th, which is the International Francophonie Day.

Extract of
Francophone Heritage in Edmonton

Francophone Heritage in Edmonton image circuit

Presented by : Conseil de développement économique de l'Alberta (CDÉA)
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