Saint-Boniface continues to be at the heart of this history, but francophone culture is present in all corners of the province. Come discover the history, attractions and experiences which showcase the hospitality and ‘joie de vivre’ of Manitoba’s francophone and Métis communities.
Through the perseverance and passion of its people, the francophone language and culture persevered. Today, the province prides itself of a vibrant, modern, artistic and active francophone community which contributes to the diversity and richness of the province.
A long history ensued, including the arrival of the Grey Nuns, immigration of more francophones from various origins, the popular and democratic event orchestrated by Louis Riel which resulted in the creation of the new province under the Manitoba Act, the charter which recognizes Manitoba’s linguistic and cultural duality, and the language crisis which almost erased the French language in Manitoba.
The Métis-founded Red River Colony consolidated with the help of the Catholic church to become the cradle of francophone life in Western Canada. Francophone presence was anchored along the Red River near the Assiniboine before spreading throughout the future province. Saint-Boniface thus became the catholic and francophone ‘capital’.
The arrival of Europeans in the area of Saint-Boniface began in 1738 with the erection of Fort Rouge by La Vérendrye at the fork of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. The first to arrive and establish a permanent resident among the indigenous communities were francophone. The fruit of their relationships with the Indigenous people created the Métis nation. The Métis further affirmed themselves in the mid-1900’s during the resistance to the monopoly of the Hudson’s Bay Company and to the Canadian government, which dispersed many Métis into Western Canada.