French Presence in Hearst, The

French Canadians began to settle in Hearst in 1912 during the construction of the National Transcontinental Railway. Most came to farm but soon turned to the more lucrative forest industry. Sawmills established by French Canadians prospered as family enterprises for decades, before being amalgamated into large forest-product companies by the end of the 20th century. Over the years, the French-speaking community in Hearst - once a minority - grew to 89% of the population with Francophones taking on leading cultural, economic and political roles. Institutions such as the Catholic Church and the Université de Hearst, founded in 1953, have played important roles in Franco-Ontarian education and society.


In front of Grotto Park, which is located on Ninth Street opposite the intersection of Kitchener Street in Hearst.

Region: Northern Ontario

County/District: District of Cochrane

Municipality: Town of Hearst