City of Little Canada: A Brief History

Tagged: Benjamin Gervais, French Canadian, City of Little Canada, Saint John the Evangelist, Little Canada, CIty History, Ramsey County,

The city of Little Canada, Minnesota is home to just over 10,000 residents. A close-knit community, Little Canada shares much of its history with the surrounding suburbs. The story begins in 1844 when a French Canadian settler by the name of Benjamin Gervais moved from St. Paul to present-day Little Canada. He staked claim to some land so that he could build a flour mill that was independent of the government. It was the first mill to be privately-owned in Minnesota. With Benjamin Gervais’s settlement came an influx of other white settlers, the majority of whom were French/Canadians. In 1850, the first school was established and classes were taught in French. The historical Catholic Church of St. John the Evangelist was built in 1852, and St. John’s Cemetery was also established. By 1858, Little Canada was a recognized township.

In the 1950’s Little Canada’s township felt threatened by the sprawl of the larger suburban communities around them. Rather than being adopted into one of these communities, the leaders of the city came together and in 1953 the town of Little Canada became the village of Little Canada. In 1974, it became a city. Today, the history of Little Canada can still be seen throughout the city. The city’s largest lake, Lake Gervais, takes its name from the first settler. The flour mill that Benjamin Gervais built was converted into a park. Many of the city’s residents today are descendants of the initial settlers.

If you have any questions regarding the city of Little Canada, Minnesota, or if you would like to sell or buy a house in the area, please feel free to visit TwinCitiesPropertyFinder.com or call 1-800-909-1953.


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