Raymond Brutinel remains one of the Canadian Corps’ most intriguing and little understood senior officers. A fair amount has been written about his service with the Canadian Corps, which generally portrays him as a significant commander and military innovator. But his life before he joined the Canadian military largely remains a mystery, which Brutinel himself did little to clear up. He had emigrated from France to Edmonton, Alberta in 1905 and lived there until the outbreak of war. Yet little is known in detail about this formative period of his life. Based largely upon Edmonton-based sources, the following aims to bring greater clarity to these crucial formative years than has been available before now. There is, in fact, little here of a specific military nature, which may itself be significant. But for the first time we have significant detail about what this background was. This in turn helps us to understand exactly the kind of experience, the personality, and the intellectual qualities that Brutinel brought to the job of Canadian Corps machine gun commander.