Monday, 1 February 2016

9 things you didn’t know about Campus Saint-Jean

Campus Saint-Jean

So you may or may not know this yet. But. The University of Alberta has many campuses. Yes. There is more than one. There are in fact 5 campuses, 4 of which are in Edmonton  -  and of those four campuses there is one which particularly close to my heart: Campus Saint-Jean. You may have read our piece in October “The Ghost of Frère Antoine,” and if you didn’t know about that interesting fact, then you’ll definitely want to consider this list the 9 other things you may not have known about CSJ. Now, in this list I won’t be giving you something you could find with three clicks and a quick google search. Nope. I’ve carefully (or clumsily) collected 9 tidbits of information that should satisfy your curiosity.

1. Every room in Residence Saint-Jean has a bathroom.

Residence Saint - Jean

Yeah. And they share a kitchen per five residents. Not much else to it. Just a neat little fact to ease you in to this list. Taking it slowwwww.

2. Saint-Jean is about as old as the University of Alberta!

Juniorate Saint-Jean
(Oblate Grandin Archives)

The University of Alberta was founded in 1908 and so was Saint-Jean! Sort of… When Campus  Saint-Jean was still the Juniorate Saint-Jean, it was actually first founded in 1908 in Pincher Creek. The Juniorate moved to Edmonton in 1910 and officially settled in where it is now in 1911.

3. Campus Saint-Jean wasn’t always… Campus Saint-Jean


What’s a Juniorate you might ask? Well, it was a centre where men could train and learn how to properly be members of a religious order. In this case it was the Oblates of Mary Immaculate who built the Juniorat Saint-Jean. In 1941, after the closing of the Collège des Jesuits, the Juniorat accepted to teach subjects that were not religious and was then renamed Collège Saint-Jean. In 1970, the Collège Saint-Jean started offering university level masters programs in education and thus was known as the Collège Universitaire Saint-Jean. In 1976, the Oblates sold the college to the University and Sain-Jean became a new faculty with a diverse range of programs and it wasn’t until 2005 that the name Campus Saint-Jean was finally given. Juniorate to College, to University College, to Faculty, to Campus. Many names but one thing as stood through the ages and that is : Saint-Jean.

4. They make and research music. And it’s great.

Bel Canto Vocal Acoustics Laboratory

CSJ is home to the first (and only) acoustics lab in the country. At the Bel Canto Vocal Acoustics Laboratory, Professor Laurier Fagnan researches and analyses vocal acoustics and visually displays them with special tools so that singers may visually see and improve their voice. Cool. Not only that, Professor Fagnan directs the Chorale Saint-jean (a choir). Composed of students, faculty members and members of the community, the Chorale Saint-Jean is the largest francophone choir in western Canada and has toured in Quebec and Europe. 

5. Not just another French education school


Myth: Campus Saint-Jean only has an education program.
Fact: CSJ actually has undergraduate programs in science, arts, education and has bilingual programs in nursing and business. Not to mention the first year engineers who can take their classes in French (raw raw frengineers) and the graduate programs in Canadian studies and education.

6. Saint-Jean students get to pie their Dean.

Pie a Dean

Ok. So that’s kind of true. It did happen and who’s to say it won’t happen again someday? The “pie” incident in question was a fundraiser organised by the francophone community in Alberta and if ten thousand dollars were raised the Dean was to be pied. Dean Pierre Yves-Mocquais insisted that it be students who pie him and… well I’m still a student so that’s a good sign… right?

You can watch it here.

7. There is research. And a lot of it. 

Lots of Research
Image courtesy of

Remember that vocal acoustics lab? Well, that’s only one part of the research that goes on at CSJ. Campus Saint-Jean isn’t only an interdisciplinary post-education institution: it’s also an interdisciplinary hub for research. It includes two research institutions: The Institution for Canadian studies and the Institution for Francophone heritage in western Canada. On top of that, professors at Saint-Jean conduct other research such as (but not limited to) molecular structure calculations and three-parameter s-wave central potentials. (Exciting stuff.)

8. Politics don’t seem to scare away Saint-Jean alumni

Randy BoissonaultSenator Claudette Tardif

Randy Boissonault, MP elect for the Edmonton-Centre riding, is Campus Saint-Jean Alumni! Plus,  he also served as Students’ Union president, was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, co-founded Literacy Without Borders and is one of the founders of Startup Edmonton. 
Senator Claudette Tardif is amongst the first women to graduate from Saint-Jean. She went on to become professor and Dean of Faculty Saint-Jean before becoming Vice-President of the University of Alberta. Shortly after that she was appointed to the Canadian senate in 2005.

9. They take their hockey seriously.

Les Centurions

The game of hockey has been around at Saint-Jean for about as long as… well about as long as Saint-Jean itself! Dating back to the early 20th century, the Oblate fathers of the Juniorat Saint-Jean would create an outdoor rink where the students could play hockey. Teams composed of Saint-Jean players have held many names as well such as Canadiens, Les Frontenacs, Les Satellites, Les Ours Dorés (play on “Golden Bears”) and finally hold the name of Les Centurions today. Former Saint-Jean students have also played in the NHL such Johnny Gottselig who played for the Chicago Blackhawks between 1928 and 1946 while his teammate Valentin Edward « Vic » Hoffinger who was also from Russia and from Saint-Jean joined him in 1927. Recently, Saint-Jean alumni Mario Giguère has taken up a Don Cherry like persona and publishes hockey stories in Le Franco the weekly francophone newspaper. The current hockey club at CSJ, Les Centurions, now host a Heritage Classic hockey game every year where alumni face off against the young students in the hopes of asserting their hockey prowess against the younger skaters. After having lost last year’s cup, the Anciens (the ancients) alumni team have won this year’s game to reclaim the trophy. 

Colin - YouAlberta Contributor

This is Colin is franco-albertan, hailing from the rural town of Saint-Paul where they have a landing pad to welcome any potential alien life forms. Weird? Maybe, but what's really weird is how many awesome people there are in that town. He loves sports, books and movies and he might love Lego a little too much. Colin is currently taking a victory lap with a political science major and economics minor over at Campus Saint-Jean, and he wants you to know that if you haven't had the chance to go there yet, you're missing out.

1 comment

  1. And did you know that the Bibliothèque Saint-Jean has the largest collection of French books in Western Canada? The library is part of the NEOS consortium so much of their collection is available to those who have a TAL consortium card, which can be obtained at your local public library.


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