Gateway for Manitoba's first Francophones
Did you know that the local history of Manitoba’s francophone community began in this magnificent region that spans from the area east of the Red River to the Ontario border, where the open prairies meet the rugged landscape of the Canadian Shield?
The first francophone Voyageurs passed through this region in the 18th century, heading west in search of furs.
The French-speaking communities that sprang up here were mostly founded in the latter part of the 19th century, when rough and ready francophone settlers from Quebec and the northern U.S. flooded into the area with the coming of the railroad.
We invite you to experience firsthand the Joie de vivre and rugged charm of these rural communities along with the francophone heritage and culture that is uniquely Manitoban!
Aprox Population: 950
As with most of the francophone villages in southeast Manitoba, the history of Île-des-Chênes dates back to the late 1800s, when the Province of Manitoba purchased land from the Hudson’s Bay Company and in turn sold it to newcomers to the region.
Aprox Population: 3 659
Located in the heart of southeast Manitoba approximately 70 kilometres from Winnipeg, the friendly francophone community of La Broquerie is always “udderly” delighted to welcome you. In fact, visitors are greeting by a giant Holstein statue at the town’s south entrance! Go ahead – get your picture taken with Brisette the cow, and discover the many attractions La Broquerie has to offer.
Aprox Population: 20
In the mid-19th century, Métis families from St. Norbert, St. Vital and St. Adolphe first settled in La Rochelle, located in southeast Manitoba between St. Pierre-Jolys and St. Malo on the shores of the Rat River. Other French-Canadian and Ukrainian families followed.
Aprox Population: 2 000
Located just 26 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, the village of Lorette enjoys country charm and proximity to the big city.
The quaint town of Marchand is located southeast of La Broquerie, approximately one hour from Winnipeg, and is the gateway to Sandilands Provincial Park.
Aprox Population: 200
This quiet town is located some 50 kilometres south of Winnipeg. The first thing visitors see when they enter Otterburne is the stately Providence College – a giant building standing in the middle of the Manitoba prairie!
Aprox Population: 500
Located approximately forty kilometers southeast of Winnipeg on the Transcanada Highway, the town of Richer emerged from two dynamic nations: the French and the Metis. The first settlers were attracted to the area, initially called Côteau-de-Chênes, by the abundance of lumber. The construction of the Dawson Trail, beginning in 1869, attracted even more settlers who came to live alongside the Métis who had been in the area since the 1840s. In 1901, the town was renamed Thibautville, in honour of the first missionary to work in the area, Fr. Jean-Baptiste Thibault. With the population growth, in 1905, a post office was established and the town’s name was changed to Richer, in honour of a political benefactor, Isaïe Richer. At the beginning of the 1960s the exodus of the populations toward Winnipeg caused a rapid decline in the town’s population. Moreover, in 1995, town’s Enfant-Jésus Church, on the Historic Dawson Trail, saw its doors closed. In October 2008, through efforts of community members, the weathered building obtained the status of municipal heritage site; view more at the following link: http://www.rc.net/canada/stboniface/enfant-jesus/ . The town of Richer today offers many amenities to its residents and the many tourists who frequent the area’s many campgrounds and who pass through on their way to the Whiteshell Provincial Park.
Aprox Population: 300
The very first families to establish themselves in this area were French, beginning in 1900. At first, the village bore the name Saltel, in honour of Norbert Saltel’s family. Later, the parish adopted the name of St. Geneviève, patron saint of Paris, to recognize the first settlers, most of them French. The breeding of livestock and milk production became the community’s main livelihood for many years. The charming little church and the museum of the former presbytery form the main tourist attractions in St. Geneviève. Given its proximity to the City of Winnipeg, the town has in late years become somewhat of a “bedroom” community of the former.
Aprox Population: 500
A little piece of heaven on the shores of the Winnipeg River just over 140 kilometres northeast of the Manitoba capital, St. Georges has spectacular scenery that is perfectly suited to swimming, fishing, hiking, canoeing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
Aprox Population: 800
St. Malo, located 45 minutes south of Winnipeg, is a favourite vacation destination. In the summer, cottagers and campers flock to the area to enjoy its many outdoor activities and the beaches of St. Malo Provincial Park. It also offers a wealth of winter activities, including ice-fishing, snowmobiling and car ice racing on the lake. St. Malo Provincial Park is one of Manitoba’s most popular parks!
Aprox Population: 1 000
Located thirty minutes south of Winnipeg, St. Pierre-Jolys is a charming village on the banks of the Rat River. It was established in 1877 following an expedition led by Father Ritchot of St. Norbert, who was convinced that the region’s land was fertile.
Aprox Population: 1 500
Surrounded by rich farmland to the west, the boreal forest to the east and with the Seine River running through the middle of town, Ste. Anne-des-Chênes is located along the historic Dawson Trail, about 40 kilometres east of Winnipeg.