Manitoba's Stories - Artefacts


Claude Ayotte's fiddle


This violin is a copy of a 1721 Stradivarius violin and was made in 1979 by Claude Ayotte. The front is made of white spruce wood, the back of German maple wood and the sides of mahogany. Several of the other pieces are made of cocobolo wood with ivory decorations. Claude Ayotte purchases his first violin at the age of 16 in 1936, at a cost of $4.95. At this time, he works for a farmer earning $5 a month.  In the 1940’s, he joins the air force and years would pass before he would play the violin again. After suffering a heart attack in the mid 1970’s, he decides to buy a new violin from luthier Alex Mireault to pass the time.  Claude also starts to repair hundreds of violins until one day Mr. Mireault convinces Mr. Ayotte that he is very capable of making his own violin. After a second heart attack, Mr. Ayotte returns to violin making with even more conviction as he is no longer able to work.  He makes his first violin in 1979.  He learns to do so by talking to several luthiers. He also orders books from all over Europe to learn more about making violins.  Mr. Ayotte told us it takes almost four hundred hours of work to make a violin from start to finish.  He believes that violins have a soul and that it is the role of the luthier to set that soul to the violin by installing the last piece, a small pole that connects the top of the instrument with its back, thus giving it its resonance. Claude Ayotte made 16 violins during his lifetime, many are being played by local fiddlers in Manitoba.


Andy Desjarlais' Fiddle

c. 1930


Made in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in the 1930s, after Guarneri's model, this violin belonged to Andy De Jarlis (born André Desjarlais), a fiddler of national renown. "Fiddler" refers to a person who uses the violin to play folk music inspired by a more popular tradition rather than a classical one. Influenced by the Scottish, the French and the Métis, this tradition traces its origins to the days of the fur trade in Western Canada. Andy De Jarlis was born in 1914, in Woodridge, Manitoba to a family with a heritage of Métis fiddlers. One of his ancestors is Pierre Falcon, nicknamed "bard of the Red River". Andy De Jarlis is introduced to the violin at the age of 1. In 1934, he moves to Winnipeg and from 1937 on, plays on the radio with the Red River Mates. His career takes him to Vancouver and then to Montreal where he creates television programs with his orchestra "The Early Settlers". He returns to Winnipeg where he entertains people at socials and parties. In 1969, he is the first Canadian to win the annual award from Broadcast Music Canada Inc. Upon his death in 1975, Mr. De Jarlis had to his credit more than 200 musical compositions (jigs, reels, polkas and waltzes) as well as over 38 recorded discs.

Régis Meilleur's fiddle

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Violoncello, circa 1885-1890

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Eaton's tea tin

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MS-615, 617, 619 & 623

Commemorative T. Eaton Company store ribbons, 1909, 1950, 1955, 1968

Commemorative Ribbons from the Eaton’s Department Store. They were distributed to celebrate the establishment of the company in Winnipeg. These are the ribbons from the fourth, forty fifth, fiftieth and sixty third anniversaries.

DO-1143 & DO-1150-A-C


This Corkscrew belonged to Émile and Marie Bernuy who lived in Saint-Boniface. Émile was born in France and was a veteran of the First World War. He worked as train station attendant for the Canadian Pacific Railway from 1910 to 1959. After the passing of Émile and Marie the contents of their house were given to Sr. Elle who was leading Sara Riel inc. Elle kept everything that could be of use for Sara Riel’s work, certain antiquities were sold to raise fund, and those with historical value were given to the Saint-Boniface Museum or to the Costume Museum of Manitoba.


Beer bottle


Edward Lancaster Drewery settles in Winnipeg in May of 1877 and takes over the Herchmer and Batkin Brewery which had been idle for some years. Along with the brewery, Drewery assumes possession of the home connected to it, Redwood, which had been built in 1857 by William Inkster. The Redwood brewery property comprises the most complete and extensive breweries in western Canada at the time and is extremely popular, making beer, ale, porter, ginger beer and soda water. This Golden Key Brand ginger beer bottle dates to the 1890s.


Sandstone beer bottle


The Brandon Brewery Company is established by Alexander Ferguson, Henry Maley and Edward Maley around 1902. The brewery itself is built in 1907. It specializes in lagers, ales, porters and carbonated waters. In 1923, the business is bought by a Winnipeg syndicate and becomes the Premier Brewing Company.


Beer bottle

A moulded glass bottle, dark brown, and imprinted into the side of the glass: “EDELWEISS BREWERY / A. H. Riedle / WINNIPEG." The Edelweiss brewery, formerly known as the Benson Brother Brewery. The brewery was sold to Arnold Riedle in 1907 who renamed it Edelweiss. Riedle was born in Germany and moved to Winnipeg with his parents, the family also lived in Saskatchewan until 1886 before returning to Manitoba. Riedle’s father was the owner of a brewery named Riedle Brewery Limited.

MS-157, 167, 228, 259, 266, 393, 394, 494, 507, 584

Manitoba made products: bottles, food boxes and tins

The manufacturing industry is an important sector of the Manitoban economy. Here are a variety of products fabricated in Manitoba between 1900 and 1960. The first large scale manufacturing operations in Manitoba we developed at the turn of the 20th century, with the construction of clothing, meat processing, wood and metal factories. These factories were mostly established in Winnipeg and fulfilled the demand of the entire Canadian west.


Ration notebook, 1942

During the Second World War, ration notebooks were distributed to each individual in a household. The use of certain food products like sugar, tea, coffee, and butter were limited and controlled. This was enacted to allow for more food to be sent to Great Britain and Canadian soldiers. Ration notebooks contained the coupons needed to buy the previously listed food products.

GG-59, 149, 150, 151, 152 153

Ration notebook, circa 1939 to 1945

This ration notebook was distributed by the commission of prices and commerce during wartime. This particular notebook belonged to Camille and Juliette Forest who lived in Saint-Malo Manitoba all their lives. They got married during the Second World War. Camille has wanted to enlist in the Canadian army but was refused for service because of his flat feet that would make it difficult for him to walk long distances, as was required by soldiers. Camille wanted to purchase a new outfit for his wedding but didn’t have enough rationing stamps to do so. Since soldiers received stamps for this a friend of Camille’s gave him some. Camille became a farmer and Juliette taught in Saint-Malo for several years.


Postal scale

Used in the Saint Boniface post office in the early 20th century. This scale is made od cast iron and brass. It is a standard issue model used by Canada Post, and at the time could be found in many post offices across Canada.


Postal scale, 1988

This post scale would have been used in the offices of the rural municipality of Taché, it indicates the postal tariffs of 1988.

GG-130, GG-131

Bicycle license plates, 1951 and 1965

These license plates were used by the Morier family in Saint Boniface. License plates for Winnipeg bike paths were initially distributed by the city in 1899. The city interrupted their distribution in 1907 but restarted the process in 1908 keeping the program active until 1982.


Barber kit, circa 1930

This barber kit was fabricated and used by Joseph Lacoste who was born in Saint-Raymond near Ste-Anne-des-Chênes. At the age of 25, he moves to Winnipeg where he will work as a barber at Eaton’s. In 1927 he opens his own salon, in 1939 he moves his salon to 176 Carlton Street in downtown Winnipeg.


Cheque writer, 1970

This mechanical apparatus was used to print cheques. This is the Paymaster 8000 model, this particular one was used in the offices of the rural municipality of Taché. The line of Paymaster tools is still available today, the Paymaster 8000 is now available as a colour printer.

IS - 103-A-B

Portable typewriter

This portable typewriter belonged to Marie-Anne Roy, the sister of Gabrielle Roy, a prominent Manitoban writer. Marie-Anne (Adèle) Roy was born in 1893 in Saint-Léon, Manitoba. She completed her studies at the Saint-Joseph Collegial Institute of Saint-Boniface, she continued her schooling at l'École Normale de Winnipeg in 1912, then went on to Queens University in Ontario, and finally the university of Alberta in Edmonton where she would obtain her bachelors in 1934. She taught for 35 years in rural Manitoba Saskatchewan and Alberta. She is then forced to quit her teaching after suffering grave burns when her lodging caught fire. She consequently establishes herself on a farm in Tangent, Alberta where she dedicates herself to writing. By her novels she shares the social and cultural life of francophones in the Canadian west. Her writings comprise: Le pain de chez nous (1954), Valcourt ou la dernière étape (1958), La montagne pembina au temps des colons (1970), Les visages du vieux Saint-Boniface (1970), Les Capucins de Toutes-Aide (1977), Le miroir du passé (1979, 1980).


Rapeseed sample

Rapeseed is actively cultivated in Manitoba, it is a plant derived from the cabbage family and from mustard seed, it is also a precursor of Canola. Rapeseed is mostly cultivated for the seeds it produces as they are rich in oil, however they also contain large quantities of uric acid. It was thought that consuming large quantities of this acid was toxic. It was this undesirable characteristic of the plant that led to the creation of Canola. Canola is rich in oil and free of uric acid or gluconates that can give rapeseed a sour taste.

ARC-70 to ARC-77

Manitoban grain samples

These samples of rye, oats, flaxseed, brown flaxseed, barley, and wheat were all cultivated in Manitoba. Ever since the establishment of the province agriculture has been one of the richest industries in the province. The Selkirk Settlers established the first large agricultural exploitations of the land in 1812. During several years, agriculture was developed and established in the Red River Colony. Most pioneers that came to Manitoba between 1870 and 1900 were farmers and by 1900, they had developed most of the choice agricultural land in the new province.


Calling Horn

A calling horn used to call back workers from the field, it belonged to the La Fortune-Guay Family.

MS - 507

Honey can 

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Bee smoker, 1930

A bee smoker is a tool that produces smoke to reduce the aggressivity of bees. This one belonged to Alphonse Grégoire who was a beekeeper in Lorette, Manitoba. Grégoire often burned old rags in the bee smoker because they would create a lot of smoke without catching fire.

MS-648 & MS-649

Flower tin and scoop

Tin box painted in pale blue with decorations and lettering done with a stencil and gold paint, reading “FLOUR” on the side of the box. This flower tin was used by Joseph Therrien when he ran a store with a billiard room in Lorette, Manitoba. This would have been between 1929 and 1939.


Biscuits tin

The Paulin Chambers company was established by John Hudson Cambers when he moved from Peterborough to Winnipeg in 1882, the famous building located at 311 Ross in Winnipeg is where the company had it’s start as one of the first commercial bakeries in Winnipeg. It was mainly a biscuit company that also produces chocolate and other sweets. The company was well known for it’s “Cuban Lunches”, “Pep-Chews”, and “Fat Emmas”.


Mechanical grain counter, 1930

This is a tool used to count ground grain. This particular tool was later adapted by its owner to work with wood and sawmills.


Manual hand drill, 1920

This drill belonged to Adolphe Guyot a machinist and tool manufacturer. He worked for Manitoba Hydro at the Great Falls hydro-electric plant. This was the first plant in Manitoba to produce electricity in 1922. The plant is still in service today and can produce up to 9 million kilowatt hours per year.


Ping Pong set, early 1900s

This ping pong set is part of our collection of games that belonged to Corinne Tellier, a French-Canadian and Franco-Manitoban woman. During the 19th century, ping pong was a game for adults and parents alike. It was often played during winter or on rainy days to keep kids occupied when they were unable to play outdoors.


Quiz me, Game of useful knowledge

This card set is a part of our collection of games that belonged to Corinne Tellier, A French-Canadian and Franco-Manitoban woman. She received this game for Christmas in 1946 from her grandmother.


Top hat, 1885

This top has belonged to Joseph Ernest Cyr. Born near Montreal, Cyr moved to Saint-Boniface in 1882. He was known for his experience in journalism but was looking to start a career in politics. Cyr was elected to the legislative assembly of Manitoba during a partial election in 1883. He was then elected mayor of Saint-Boniface in 1885 and finally as a Member of Parliament from Provencher to the Chamber of Communes in 1904.


Lost Heir game, 1920s

This board game is from our collection of games that belonged to Corinne Tellier, a French-Canadian and Franco-Manitoban woman. This game was fabricated “The Canada Games Company Limited” during the 1920s. It is a Canadian adaption of “Kaiser”, reimagined in both official languages, French and English. In this version of the game, the cards have the names of the city in which they were sold: Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg.


Shoo le Kaiser game

This card game is a part of our collection of games that belonged to Corinne Tellier, a French-Canadian and Franco-Manitoban woman. Kaiser, also known as “three-spot” was a very popular trick-taking card game throughout the prairie provinces in Canada, especially Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This version of the game dates back to the first World War, conceived to include four groups, France, England, Germany and Russia. It is believed that the game was popularized in Canada after the return of Canadian soldiers who had likely been in contact with the game while in Europe.



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Mini Playing cards

This card game is a part of our collections of games that belonged to Corinne Tellier a French Canadian and Franco-Manitoban woman. This card game was bought in Montréal. The details of how it made it to Manitoba are unknown.


Cribbage board

Cribbage was a very popular game played by many of the first explorers in Canada. The game was introduced to First Nations people through different interactions during the fur trade. Cribbage is often mentioned in Métis novels and stories. Today, cribbage has maintained its popularity in Métis and French-Canadian households, mostly played during family celebrations.


Game of Authors game

This card game is a part of our collection of games that belonged to Corinne Tellier, a French-Canadian and Franco-Manitoban woman. The “Game of Authors” game was popular among Canadian families in the 19th century.


Sewing Accessory

This sewing accessory was fabricated by Pierre Saint-Jacques. His wife, Marceline Ledoux used this accessory for many years, they lived in Saint-Anne-des-Chênes in Manitoba, where they had a son, Pierre, as well as two daughters, Zélia and Évelina. The accessory is entirely fabricated with materials from other products, the base is made from an oil lamp, the upper part is a piece of wood from the bobbin of a loom that has been covered in red fabric and stuffed so that one could put needles in it.


Shaving kit

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Bottle of miracle water from Lourdes

Once upon a time, this bottle was filled with water from Lourdes. “L’eau de Lourdes” comes from a spring discovered by Bernadette Soubirous in the Massabielle cave, it is said that this water has caused tens of miracles and thousands of recoveries. This miraculous bottle of water belonged to Émile and Marie Bernuy who lived in Saint-Boniface. Émile was born in France, served in the First World War and worked as a train station attendant for Canadian Pacific from 1910 to 1959.



This recoder is a part of our collection of games that belonged to Corinne Tellier, a French-Canadian and Franco-Manitoban woman.



This tuner is made for violins of mandolins since it produces the same four notes according to which those instruments are tuned. The tuner is used similarly to a harmonica, one has to blow into it to produce the notes. This one belonged to Claude Ayotte, a well-known instrument maker in Saint-Boniface.


Jaw Harp

The Jaw Harp is small traditional instrument brought from Europe. European merchants often included the little instrument with merchandise that was destined for North America and the fur trade. This item often appeared on trading lists from the Northwest Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company. This instrument was popular among settlers, soldiers and voyageurs because it was portable, durable and easily accompanied other instruments. The Jaw Harp also became popular in Métis culture, it fit the Métis instrument criteria as it was portable, easy to tune and play by ear, much like spoons, accordions and violins.


Musical Games pamphlet

This Pamphlet contains musical games as well as music and instructions for each game. The pamphlet was published by “the Bell Piano & Organ Co. Ltd.” in Guelph in Ontario and was sold by “The Winnipeg Piano & Organ Co.” situated in the Manitoba Hall at 295 portage avenue. “The Winnipeg Piano & Organ Co.” was a piano company founded in 1903 by A.R. Grasby in Winnipeg, in what was the Dayton building on the corner of Portage and Hargrave. They then moved to 338 Portage Avenue after a fire. For many years it was a popular store for musicians, sales were extraordinarily high during the Great Depression because families were looking for their own amusement, using the piano. However, during the 1950s, the musical instrument industry started to focus more on guitars and drums. During the 1960s the store was bought by “Toronto’s Long & McQuade”.


Ludo, early 20th century

This game of Ludo is a part of our collection of games that belonged to Corinne Tellier, a French-Canadian and Franco-Manitoban woman. This game was given by her Joyal grandmother at the beginning of the 20th century. Ludo is a modified version of Parcheesi, a game that dates back to the 19th century. The result is an ideal game for kids and because of this, it became very popular in Canada and in the United-States. In Canada Ludo boards were often built and painted by hand.



These glasses belonged to Doctor Robert James “Jimmy” Stanners, an optometrist in Saint-Boniface at 139 Provencher Boulevard. This building belonged to his father, Robert Stanners, His dad was the proprietor of a small jewellery and watch fabrication and repairs boutique. The doctor’s mother, Anaïse (Baillargeon) Stanners worked in the boutique with Robert, the doctors father where she made souvenirs and gifts.


Pocket Watch, 1901


Alberta Bernier’s ice skates

These skates belonged to Alberta Bernier and were found in the Bernier house in Saint-Boniface. Alberta had an ear for music and had long been an excellent pianist. On several occasions she volunteered her musical talents to the church and school choir and other charitable concerts. Alberta was student at the Saint-Joseph collegial institute, under the direction of Saint-Nora of Jesus and Mary sisters. She was the president of the “Amicale Marie-Rose” and organised with success the celebration of the clubs 50th anniversary. Alberta was always ready to help out those in need. The people of Saint-Boniface knew here as someone who liked to walk. She would often be seen coming back from Winnipeg, after running errands, stopping by the Saint-Boniface hospital to visit a patient, then walking to the Centre Taché for another visit after a few more errands. Nicknamed “la dame au chapeau” by her friends, she would go to work on foot regardless of the weather conditions. Alberta was employed by the government in the department of immigration for 43 years. She retired in 1965 and often travelled with her friends. During that time she also worked for the embassy of Cologne for 3 and a half years.


Gold top cane, 1896

This cane was presented to Napoléon Bétrounay in 1896 by the Court of Saint-Boniface on behalf of the Catholic Order of Foresters, Bétournay, born in 1863 in Québec was mayor od Saint-Boniface from 1898 to 1900. He passed away in 1919 and is buried in the Saint-Boniface Cathedral cemetery.


Tractor, 1970

A tractor made by Mr. George Therrien from Richer, Manitoba. This tractor was a project to celebrate Manitoba’s first century in 1970. The tractor is entirely made of metal with wheels painted in red.


Marc-Amable Girard’s trunk, 1874

This trunk belonged to Marc-Amable Girard, the second Manitoban Premier, elected in 1874. Girard was born in Varennes in Lower Canada. He completed his studies to become a lawyer in Varennes. In 1870 he leaves Manitoba with Monseigneur Taché and Joseph Royal. Upon their arrival Girard represented Saint-Boniface in the Provincial Legislative assembly in December of 1870, taking on the role of provincial treasurer from 1870 to 1872. He was also the first president of the Saint-Jean Baptiste society of Manitoba. Girard passed away in Saint-Boniface in 1892 and is buried in the Saint-Boniface cathedral cemetery.



Several traditional European games like Backgammon, Chess, and checkers were popular with adults and children in Canada during the 19th century. These games that required several pieces were often made by hand by many families.


Father Champagne's herbarium, 1945-1946


A collection of plants native to Manitoba that have been dried and pressed between sheets of paper. This collection serves as a physical reference for various studies of plants. The collection has more than 150 specimens, collected by Father Champagne. It should be noted that some scientific terms may differ from what was noted during the 1940s.   Fleabane - Vergerette Family: Composite Lati name: Erigon Glabellus Nutt Collected from: Treherne, Manitoba Terrain: sandy hillside   Antennaria - Antennaire Family: Composite Latin name: Antennaria denikeana Collected from: Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Manitoba Terrain: sandy hillside, common to clearings   Purple Pitcher Plant (Nothern Pitcher Plant) - Petits cochons (herbe-Crapaud) Family: Sarraceniaceae Latin name: Sarracenia purpurea Collected from: Fort Alexander, Manitoba Terrain: peat bog   Jerusalem Artichoke - Topinambour Family: Composite Latin name: Helianthus Tuberosus, Subcanescens Gray Collected from: Saint-Boniface, Manitoba Terrain: woodland edge   Fringed Gentian - Gentiane frangée Family: Gentianaceae Latin name: Gentiana Critina Froel (Anthropogon Crinitus) Collected from: Rathwell, Manitoba Terrain: short and sandly grasslands   Pasque Flower (Prairie Smoke Crocus) - Anémone des prairies Family: Ranuculaceae (Buttercup or Crowfoot) Latin name: Anemone patens, var. Wolfgangiana - Pulsatilla ludoviciana Collected from: Brookside Blvd, Winnipeg, Manitoba


"Stylistique Française, Livre du Maitre 5e édition", 1931

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''Mes premières leçoons de rédaction'', 1915

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Beaded fire bag, 1933

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Louis Riel Commemorative stamp with envelope, 1970

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Powder horn that belonged to Ambroise Lépine

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CF-30 / DD-26

Provenance document, 1932

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''Leçons de Langue Française Cours Moyen'', 1912

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Association d’éducation des Canadiens français du Manitoba ribbon

When the Province of Manitoba was created in 1870, the constitution of the new province regarded French and English as equal. The Thornton law of 1890 abolished the official status of French in the Legislative Assembly as well as in tribunals. This law caused the mobilisation of francophones against it to create “l'Association d'éducation des Canadiens français du Manitoba” because it eliminated bilingual schools and abolished teaching in french. It was only in 1979 that French was re-established in the province, leading to francophones regaining the gestion of schools in 1994.


Union nationale métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba ribbon

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Tin box

Tin box found after the Battle of Tourond’s Coulée / Fish Creek in 1885. This battle is the first meeting between General Middleton and the Métis in 1885. On April 24, 1885, Gabriel Dumont and 150 Métis soldiers ambush Middleton and his soldiers by digging trenches in the creek. Although this battle ends in a stalemate, Middleton is forced to withdraw due to a significant loss of soldiers. This allows the Métis to return to Batoche to rest and recharge.


Rifle cartridge casing, 1885

Cartridge found in a trench in Battleford, Saskatchewan, from the 1885 Northwest Resistance. Battleford becomes the capital of the vast Northwest Territories in 1876. That same year, the newly formed North-West Mounted Police moves to Fort Battleford. The Fort plays an important role in the events of the Northwest Resistance in 1885: it is the place where Chief Poundmaker is arrested. In November of the same year, it is the site of the public hanging of eight indigenous men.


Ivory hook

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Envelope which contained strands of the rope said to have been used in Louis Riel's hanging, 1969

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Metal box engraved by Henriette Riel Poitras

Henriette Poitras (born Riel) gave this small metal box to her husband Jean-Marie Poitras. The box is adorned with an inscription: J. M. Poitras When death shall take me, think of me, your loving wife and pray to Jesus for my soul so that it may suffer less. Never forget me – Henriette


Signet ring

This ring remains in the Riel family home in Saint-Vital for several years. According to the family, the ring belonged to Louis Riel, but is then passed on to the family of Joseph Riel and Amanda Perreault. Mrs. Claudette Doyle (born Riel), along with her future heirs, transmits this ring to the MSBM in 2016, along with a mirror that had “always been in the family home”.



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PP-883 & 884

Tobacco bags

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Sara Riel drawing

Sara Riel draws a view of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste mission, Île-à-la-Crosse, 1874. Daughter to Louis Riel senior and Julie Lagimodière, Sara was born in 1848. She joins the Grey Nuns in 1865 and takes the name of Sr. Marguerite-Marie in 1872. She is the first Métis Grey Nun to become a missionary, leaving to work at the mission’s hospital and school in 1871, and remaining there until her death from tuberculosis in 1883. She maintains a close relationship with her brother Louis throughout her life, as evidenced by the many letters written to her over the years.



According to the oral history of one of the family’s lineage, Jean-Baptiste "La Prairie" Lagimodière of Petite Pointe-des-Chênes (now Lorette) receives this pipe in recognition of his generosity towards a group from the Dakota Nation. In the early 1880s, the Dakotas are still being persecuted in the United States and a group of them flee the United States military by crossing the international border. From there, they are accompanied by the mounted police to one of the Lagimodière farms (at a place known as "La Compagnie Graisse") between Lorette and Prairie Grove. Known for their generosity, La Prairie and his son Elzéar welcome the Dakotas into their homes, giving them refuge. In addition, La Prairie gives them provisions and a cow to slaughter. In recognition of his help and generosity, the Dakota Chief considers La Prairie his “brother” and offers him this pipe. Other objects are also offered to La Prairie during this ceremony, such as a beaded vest which has been part of the MSBM collections since 1971. The objects are transmitted by Elzéar Lagimodière (son of La Prairie) and by Marguerite (daughter of La Prairie) ), through two different lineages of his family. However, the story told remains the same in each of these lineages, across generations. Henri Létourneau noted an oral history that tells of one of La Prairie’s granddaughters (Marguerite Bérard) who would have witnessed these events at her grandfather’s farm in Saint-Boniface, along the Seine River in 1863, rather than in Lorette, 20 years later.


Black lacquered walking cane, 1885

This cane was used by l’honoré Joseph Royal in 1885. Royal was born in Repentigny in Lower Canada. He worked as a journalist, lawyer, and politician. Royal aided the foundation fo a journal intitled “Le nouveau monde” for which he was the editor in chief in 1869 during the Red River Resistance. In his paper Royal published a lot of content favorable to the Métis which rapidly gained Monseigneur Taché’s attention. Taché helped Royal travel to Manitoba where he founded the weekly journal “Le Métis” which was later renamed “Le Manitoba” in 1881. Politician and lawyer Royal opened a law firm with Joseph Dubuc, the two of them played a large role in the defense of Ambroise Lépine and André Nault, accused in 1873-74 of the execution of Thomas Scott under the Provisional Government of Louis Riel. Royal became very popular among francophone and Métis communities in Manitoba, leading him to a long career in politics. Royal was elected to the first Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for St. Francis Xavier West and as president of the Legislative Assembly in 1871. He was the elected to the Chamber of Communes for Saint-Boniface from 1882 to 1887.


Sash that belonged to Grégoire Breland

c. 19th century

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Wooden box made by Ambroise Lépine

This box is made of wood and painted black by Ambroise Lépine. Ambroise Lépine was born in 1840 in Saint-Boniface, to a French Canadian father and a Métis mother from Pointe-à-Grouette (Sainte-Agathe). At the age of 19, he marries Cécile Marion and becomes a farmer, a hunter and a charterer. In the fall of 1869, Lépine travels to Pembina with 14 other Métis to meet William McDougall with a letter from the Métis National Committee prohibiting him from entering their territory. Along the way to Pembina, he is elected by his compatriots as head of mission. He subsequently becomes: Captain of the guard; Adjutant General of the provisional government’s army; Representative of Saint-Boniface at the Grande Convention and a Member of the Assiniboia Legislative Assembly.  In the spring of 1870, Ambroise Lépine is president of the provisional government’s court martial condemning the Canadian Thomas Scott to death. When the Wolseley expedition arrives in the summer of 1870, Ambroise Lépine and Louis Riel become targets; they hide with acquaintances in Manitoba, Dakota and Minnesota awaiting amnesty, which had orally been guaranteed during negotiations. However, this amnesty would never come.  Ambroise Lépine ends up rejecting a monetary offer in exchange for his exile. He attempts to resume a normal life in Manitoba in 1873, but is quickly arrested and charged with Scott's murder. Eventually, he is sentenced to hang in the fall of 1874, but his punishment is reduced to two years in prison and a lifetime forfeiture of his civil rights. He is therefore unable to have property or vote. In 1875, he is offered a pardon under the condition of a 5-year exile. He refuses it. He is finally released in 1876. Ambroise and Cécile have 14 children. They are never able to settle anywhere permanently. They live in Grande Pointe and Oak Lake (MB), Saint-Louis and Forget (SK) and finally in Quibel close to Minaki (ON). He returns to spend the last years of his life in Saint-Boniface and his civil rights are restored. He dies in hospital care in 1923. Despite the circumstances, he still continued to work for the Métis in his own way: He is a founding member of the Union nationale métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba in 1887. He wanted to write history as he had lived it. Unable to do it himself, he played a key role in the Union's efforts to retain Auguste Henri de Trémaudan in order to write the 'History of the Métis Nation in Western Canada', recognized as a reliable historical source. Ambroise apparently said at one point that he risked his life once for the Métis cause, and that once was enough.


Beaded wall pouch

Mathilde Carrière, who marries Alexandre Nault, is this pouch’s owner. It would’ve been purchased in the area around the One Arrow reserve, near Batoche, Saskatchewan. Mathilde’s parents are Marie-Pélagie Parenteau and Damase Carrière. Her family was in Saint-Laurent-de-Grandin, present-day Saskatchewan, during the years leading up to the resistance in the Northwest. Her father, Damase, is involved in the rallying of the Métis and their quest to address community grievances. He participates in the resistance and is killed during the Battle of Batoche. This pouch remains in Mathilde and Alexandre Nault’s family, who later settle near Saint-Pierre-Jolys. Alexandre Nault is Josette Lagimodière and Amable Nault’s grandson. The style of this beaded pouch is difficult to determine. Some experts indicate that it wouldn’t have been uncommon for a family to say they bought an object from a reserve, rather than admit their own Métis ancestry. There are Métis elements to this piece (the stems, the mouse tracks and the foliage) however, there are Cree elements to some of the flowers. One thing is certain, this pouch would have been made by someone who was inspired by both Cree and Métis influences.


Jean-Baptiste La Prairie Lagimodière's vest, early 1880s

According to the oral history of one of the family’s lineage, Jean-Baptiste "La Prairie" Lagimodière of Petite Pointe-des-Chênes (now Lorette) receives this vest as recognition of his generosity towards a group from the Dakota Nation. The MSBM acquires this object in 2016 thanks to the support of the Lagimodière-Gaboury Bicentenary Committee as well as Mr. Guy Savoie, a member of the extended family. In the early 1880s, the Dakotas are still being persecuted in the United States and a group of them flee the United States military by crossing the international border. From there, they are accompanied by the mounted police to one of the Lagimodière farms (at a place known as "La Compagnie Graisse") between Lorette and Prairie Grove. Known for their generosity, La Prairie and his son Elzéar welcome the Dakotas into their homes, giving them refuge. In addition, La Prairie gives them provisions and a cow to slaughter. In recognition of his help and generosity, the Dakota Chief considers La Prairie his “brother” and offers him this beaded vest. Other objects are also offered to La Prairie during this ceremony, such as a pipe which has been part of the MSBM collections since 1971. The objects are transmitted by Elzéar Lagimodière (son of La Prairie) and by Marguerite (daughter of La Prairie) ), through two different lineages of his family.


Beaded panel

More information coming soon...


Leggings, late 19th century

These leggings are made by Mathilde Perreault, born Carrière (1848-1939). She’s born in the Saint-Vital Parish and attends the school there run by the Grey Nuns. She marries Joachim Perreault in 1876, in Saint-Boniface and they settle and operate on a farm near Saint-Pierre-Jolys, Manitoba. Though their first child does not survive its first days, they have four more children. Her brother Damase Carrière is killed during the Battle of Batoche in 1885, and appears on the Métis Nation’s list of martyrs. Mathilde is a devout Catholic who practices Métis traditions, including beadwork. As a widow, she initially lives with her son Alfred and works for a time as Mr. Albert Préfontaine’s cook. She lives until the age of 91. She is buried in the Saint-Pierre-Jolys cemetery. Several items were found by her descendants in a trunk full of family treasures, which were transferred to the MSBM.


Elzéar Goulet's sash

Elzéar Goulet is born in 1836 in Saint-Boniface. In 1861, he inherits his brother Roger’s role and begins to transport mail on horseback between the Rivière-Rouge Colony and Pembina. Thanks to his work, he develops a good reputation and builds many relationships along the way. He marries Hélène Jérôme in Pembina in 1859 and becomes an American citizen. Together, they have six children. His family and his work ensure that Elzéar constantly travels between the two communities. He is called upon to join the resistance in 1869 and becomes Captain (2nd in command) of the provisional government under Ambroise Lépine. He is a member of the court martial that convicts Thomas Scott in March 1870 and is in favour of the death penalty for the prisoner. Along with André Nault, Goulet serves as Scott's escort when the latter is taken from Upper Fort Garry prison for his execution. He is also in charge of disposing of Scott's body following his execution. In September 1870 Goulet was sighted in the village of Winnipeg by a man who had been a prisoner of Riel under the provisional government. With two members of Garnet Joseph Wolseley's expeditionary force, they pursued Goulet who fled on foot towards the Red River. Goulet tries to get to Saint-Boniface by swimming across the river. His pursuers throw stones at him, including one that strikes Goulet in the head and knocks him out. Goulet drowns in the Red River. The Elzéar-Goulet Memorial Park is located in Saint-Boniface, on Taché Avenue, north of Provencher Boulevard, along the Red River. Elzéar Goulet is one of the Métis figures recognized by the Union nationale métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba at its annual commemorative ceremony held on November 16th.


Métis dress

The origin of this dress is unknown, but it was a part of the Société historique de Saint-Boniface’s (SHSB) orginal collections. Following the Musée de Saint-Boniface’s creation and over time, the SHSB transferred most of the objects from its collections to the Museum in order to focus mainly on archives. The condition of the dress suggests that it was possibly damaged during the Saint-Boniface Cathedral fire of 1968, when the SHSB museum was located in the Cathedral’s basement. Although originally catalogued as Métis dress, its cut is not typical of documented Métis dresses. There is also a photo in Library and Archives Canada's collection that shows a Dakota woman (Sitting Eagle's wife) wearing a dress with a very similar cut.