Bonnyville | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Bonnyville, Alberta, incorporated as a town in 1948, population 6,404 (2021 census), 5,975 (2016 census). The town of Bonnyville is located 240 km northeast of Edmonton in Alberta’s lake district and prairie parkland.


While the area had been known for its fur trading activity as early as the late 1700s, permanent settlement began with a group of French Canadian pioneers in 1907, with a few farms and a hamlet initially referred to as St. Louis de Moose Lake (see also Francophones of Alberta). In 1910, the community was renamed after its first colonizing priest, the well-travelled missionary Reverend Father F.S. Bonny.


By 1920, the village had a hotel, bank, general store, blacksmith, garage, churches, schools, telegraph and telephone, and electric lighting was being installed, yet it still had to be reached by stagecoach. After considerable negotiations by its citizenry, a CNR line eventually reached Bonnyville in 1928. The rail link allowed, for the first time, ready shipment of the region’s produce in trade for commercial goods from elsewhere.

The town continues as a regional service centre for the area’s mixed farming activities, and has oil and local tourism industries.

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