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The History of Garneau

Laurent and Eleanor Garneau were amongst Edmontons’ early settlers. The name “The Garneau” arose because the area between 109th and 112th Streets, south from the North Saskatchewan River where University Avenue is now situated, was the holding Riverlot 7 of the Edmonton Settlement, of Laurent Garneau. Laurent was a Metis who had fought with Louis Riel in the 1869 Red River Rebellion prior to moving here. Fort Edmonton,on the opposite bank of the North Saskatchewan River, could be seen from his cabin. A maple tree which Laurent planted in front of his cabin in 1874 is now found on the eastern edge of the Hub Mall Parking Lot, (University of Alberta Campus). This “Garneau Tree” is the oldest tree in The Garneau and possibly even in Edmonton.

Laurent was a gifted violinist and well known in Edmonton music circles but his continued social activism eventually caused him to be shunned by his neighbours when he became involved in the Edmonton Uprising of 1885. Later in his career he was elected to the North West Territories Parliament in Regina but he was refused entry due to his previous involvement with Louis Riel. This fascinating man was commemorated by the City of Edmonton in 1953 with the erection of a cairn here in “The Garneau’; fortunately the plaque from this cairn has been recently replaced by the City of Edmonton having been missing for many years.