French Community in Welland - Ontario Heritage Trust

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French Community in Welland

The neighbourhood that became commonly known as "French Town" was established in this area in 1918, when approximately 20 French-Canadian families arrived from Quebec to work at the Empire Cotton Mills plant. The Roman Catholic Parish of Sacré-Cœur was established in 1920 and became the cultural centre of the francophone community that developed around Empire Street. Additional French-Canadian families arrived from Quebec, New Brunswick and northern Ontario throughout the 1920s. Another wave of francophones moved here at the outset of the Second World War, attracted largely by employment opportunities in local industry. The French district was a strong and vibrant community that protected and fostered French-Canadian language and culture. The neighbourhood's population reached its peak during the 1960s, but the majority of Welland's francophone population still lived here until the late 1980s. The strong legacy of French-Canadian culture and heritage created by the small but dynamic francophone community remains within Welland to this day.

Location

In front of the Sacré-Cœur Roman Catholic Church at 72 Empire Street, Welland.

Region: Niagara Falls and Region

County/District: Regional Municipality of Niagara

Municipality: City of Welland

Themes