Many Calgarians may not know that a portion of the southeast Calgary community of Mission was once home to hundreds of French-speaking people before it was annexed and became part of the city.
In hopes of recognizing that history, city council has given the go-ahead to a group of volunteers to install new stop signs on the streets which would feature both French and English.
Council voted in favour of adding the bilingual stop signs on the streets of historic Rouleauville, the area that once bordered the city, following a notice of motion from Ward 11 Councillor Jeromy Farkas and Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
The name pays homage to two Quebec brothers who made their way west and settled in Alberta. Once the community was annexed by the city, much of the history was lost.
“There was no more French, everything was wiped out,” said Suzanne de Courville Nicol, president of the Bureau de Visibilité de Calgary. “The street names changed to the numerical system that we have now — 17 Avenue was Avenue Notre Dame.”
Making the stop signs bilingual follows a previous move to change street signs in the area to recognize their original names.
“This is just an add-on to that, so people start thinking, ‘Oh there’s something different about this community and maybe I’ll look into it and find out more,” said Bob Lang, president of the Cliff Bungalow-Mission Community Association.
Money for the new stop signs would be raised by volunteers and city staff will work with the community members to determine where the signs should go.
“Should city hall be standing in the way of community volunteers that want to spend their own money to get something done for their own neighbourhood? I would say probably not,” Farkas said on Monday.