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.