Historical dictionary  vol.: 3  let.: G

Grandin Province, Oblate Archives (Canada)

When the Grandin Province, whose administrative office is in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was erected on May 1,1986, this new entity in the Oblate world caused the disappearance from the 1987 OMI Personnel book of three former provinces or vice-provinces, namely Alberta-Saskatchewan, Grouard and Mackenzie. The archives of the Grandin province are therefore the result of the amalgamation of the archives of these three Oblate provinces.

In 1971, a contract was signed between the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Minister of Culture of Alberta to deposit the Oblate collection — about 80 to 85% of the archives of the Oblate Province of Alberta-Saskatchewan — in the Provincial Archives of the Province of Alberta. Under this contract, the Oblates remained the owners of their archives and the Alberta Provincial Archives’ staff agreed to classify the Oblate collection and to serve the researchers using this collection at no cost to the Oblates. That is why much of the archives of Grandin Province remains in the Provincial Archives of Alberta, while the rest is located at the Foyer Grandin in St. Albert, Alberta.

In 1989, a volume entitled, Guide for the Archives of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Alberta-Saskatchewan Province, was published for the section of the Oblate archives deposited in the Alberta Provincial Archives. It has 143 pages in French and 138 pages in English, and includes microfiche that give a complete description of all the documents stored in this repository.

In the Oblate archives in St. Albert, therefore, there are the documents of the former Province of Alberta-Saskatchewan since 1972 as well as the Oblate documents of the two former vice-provinces of Grouard and Mackenzie. It must be remembered that for decades, the Vicars Apostolic of the Grouard and Mackenzie Vicariates held the offices of bishop and vicar of missions concurrently, and thus acted also as the religious superior of the Oblates. So, the ecclesiastical archives and the Oblate religious archives make up the Grouard and Mackenzie archives. When we began to appoint provincials, it was not easy to make a fair division of the archives. Therefore, the archives of the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan, in McLennan, Alberta, and those of the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, remain sources of primary importance for the Oblate history of northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

It should be added that more than 500 linear meters — about 200 at the Provincial Archives of Alberta and about 300 at the Oblate archives in St. Albert — of written and non-textual documents consisting mainly of documents divided into folders, disks, tapes, movies, videos, maps, plans, etc., form the Grandin Province archives. The documents cover the period from 1842 to the present, therefore more than 150 years.

Faithful to age-old accepted traditions, the Oblate archives of Grandin Province strive to keep and preserve documents, to classify records in chronological order and to produce research tools. Recently, a professional archivist wrote this about our Oblate archives: "Few collections are equal to the Oblate archives for their complete documentation on the history of the Congregation, and its impact on general history, for which the Oblate collections provide information."

Gaston J. Montmigny, OMI

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