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The Rouleau House is part of Calgary’s heritage

Last Monday, Édouard Rouleau’s house was designated a “municipal heritage resource” by Calgary City Council and the City’s Planning and Development Committee. A relief for the Franco-Albertan community which intends to continue to honor the Francophone roots of the Mission district.

Melody Charest

“The house is now protected”, rejoices the president of the Calgary Visibility Office (BVC), Suzanne de Courville Nicol. The house that the Franco-Albertan rights activist is talking about is Rouleau House, located on the banks of the Elbow River in Calgary. Indeed, this designation offers legal protection: it cannot be demolished or changed.

Suzanne de Courville Nicol, founding president of the BVC, in the middle of Rouleauville square. Credit: Salima Bouyelli

According to Denis Perreaux, executive director of the Société historique francophone de l’Alberta, this new status is “a way to tell one’s story”. “For the City of Calgary, the architecture, age and time of construction of the building are historically significant, of course. But more than that, the recognition of the Rouleau house by the municipal authorities values ​​the very existence of the Francophone community of the mission and Rouleauville even before the incorporation of Calgary. “

A new dance

After having been the property of the Alberta Ballet for 8 years, the Rouleau house is now in the hands of the municipality. “It’s wonderful that the City has taken on the responsibility that it deserves,” assures Suzanne de Courville Nicol.

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Equipped with all the amenities to be electrically lit and supplied with water, the house has undergone major transformations. “I don’t know if you’ve seen pictures of the house before, but it wasn’t funny! They really did a great job of renovating ”.

These works and their results give him a certain peace of mind regarding the longevity of the Rouleau house. A peace of mind, but also a great enthusiasm: “I feel in the middle of a whirlwind that is just going in the positive”, she confides with a smile in her voice.

Indeed, the BVC, the Economic Development Council of Alberta (CDÉA) and the ACFA already have big plans for this “little house that nobody wanted”, as Suzanne de Courville Nicol describes it.

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What future ?

The one who has “always been involved” already sees the doors of the Rouleau house wide open to the public to come and have “a coffee or a brioche”. The establishment would not only be a place of snack. In Madame de Courville Nicol’s reveries, the house will also be “a counter for a ticket for a guided tour in Rouleauville. That would be great ! “

But this radiant future, Suzanne de Courville Nicol can only glimpse it through the windows of the Maison Rouleau. Because its doors are still closed for the moment. On the other hand, those of the town hall are ajar … A meeting between the City of Calgary and the main stakeholders, of the Franco-Albertan community, the fate of the house is pending.

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At the end of the 19th century, Édouard and Charles Rouleau, two Québécois brothers, migrated to Alberta. The doctor and the judge moved to the mission that Father Doucet had founded in 1872 near the Elbow River. Quickly, the two men became emblematic figures of the Franco-Albertan community through their political involvement. Proof: the locality was renamed Rouleauville. Now known as the Mission district in Calgary, Rouleauville has been incorporated into the City of Calgary. Charles’s house, which Suzanne de Courville Nicol said was “almost a castle”, was demolished. The last built heritage of the Rouleau brothers is the house of Édouard.