Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So Where Exactly Are You?

Before moving here I did up a post on my Nunavut blog about the new community here that I was moving to. At the time, I referred to the community here as Chard. The actual name is Janvier. The reason for my mistake was simply because the address of the school I work at is given as Chard on the school board's website. The name "Chard" also appears on the road atlas I bought prior to our drive out here. At the time I was under the impression that "Janvier" was the Dene reserve while "Chard" was the adjacent community. Throw in the fact that my house address is Janvier while my mailing address is actually Chard.

So what's the story here? Lisa filled me in on the details following conversations with a few people from the community. Given that she is on the phone at the moment, I'm going from memory here so any errors are of course my own. The real Chard is actually just an old railway stop located a few short kilometres down Highway 881. Individuals working in the bush as well as locals used the stop simply to get where they wanted to go. As a result the location found its way onto some Alberta road maps (or at least the ones we came across) but no real town developed there. The local Native population migrated the site of today's community as people started to build houses and some services were offered. Since "Janvier" is such a common surname* in this area of northeastern Alberta, the community took on the name of Janvier. Today, Janvier, with a population of 177 people (excluding the Reserve, which when included bumps us up to about 400), is part of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Here is the real Chard which Lisa found while on an exploratory drive around the area.

*Janvier is also a common surname in northwestern Saskatchewan, particularly in the La Loche area, where I used to teach prior to moving to Nunavut a few years ago.


UnkleB said...

we are just glad that you finally figured out where you are!

-N- said...

How do they pronounce it? The french way, or is it anglicized?

Way Way Up said...

Me too

-N- I tend to use the Anglicized pronunciation simply because prior to moving here I wasn't sure quite how to say it but most locals seem to use the French pronunciation.