The History Of Bonnyville Alberta
The settlement of Bonnyville began with Angus Shaw, a fur-trader with the North West Company who explored central Alberta in the late 1700s. Shaw came upon Moose Lake (originally called Lac L’Orignal) in 1789 and established a North West Company post on its northwest shores. The post was active for three years, until 1792, when Shaw travelled south to establish a Northwest Company post , Ft. George, near present day Elk Point.
In 1907, priests Rev. Joseph Adeodat Therien and Rev. J.A. Ouellete arrived in the area and encouraged colonizers to relocate to the Bonnyville area to settle. By the end of May this same year, the first eight settlers arrived and began to clear and colonize the land. By 1908 the settlement built its first post office, and needing a name for the settlement, they decided to name the area Bonnyville after the first resident priest, Rev. Francis Bonny.
In 1916, Rev. Duclos came to Bonnyville with three major projects to help further develop the settlement. Between 1917-1928 Rev. Duclos had helped set up a church, the Duclos Hospital, and Duclos School. Many more people came to live in Bonnyville during these years, allowing for the opening of the first general store, run by J.N Vallee, the building of a creamery in 1923, and the first CNR locomotive in Bonnyville in 1928. By 1929 Bonnyville was officially declared a village, with Dr. Sabourin as the mayor. Two decades later, in 1948, Bonnyville was declared a town.
By the end of the 1940s, the first gas well was built in Bonnyville, across from the Duclos Hospital. The discovery of gas brought a lot more interest to the area that continues in our current day.