English is Alberta’s official language and the first language of the vast majority of its residents. On a national level, Canada has two official languages—English and French. All communication from the federal government is in both languages, which becomes most apparent in national parks, where by law all signage and literature must be in both languages, and you will be greeted by parks’ staff with “Hello, Bonjour.” The Official Languages Act has many other components you will experience in everyday travel, including the requirement that Air Canada provide bilingual service and that most consumer goods sold within Canada have labeling in both English and French (exceptions include such things as books and items like jars of jam sold at fruit stands). French speakers (around 25 percent of the population) are concentrated in Quebec, but you’ll experience pockets of Francophone culture in towns established by French fur traders, including at St. Paul and La Crete (both in northern Alberta). Most indigenous peoples speak English, although some elders hold their native tongue as a first language, including Nakoda, as spoken by the Stoney west of Calgary.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition