The Centre du patrimoine : bastion of Western Canadian Francophone and Métis heritage
Located at the heart of Old Saint-Boniface, capital of French Manitoba, the Centre du patrimoine holds historical treasures that enables present and future generations to discover fascinating facts about our culture and study our history and the way our society has evolved over time.
Managed by the Société historique de Saint-Boniface, the oldest francophone historical society of Western Canada, the Centre du patrimoine is an archives and research centre dedicated to preserving, studying, disseminating and promoting the francophone and Métis history of Manitoba and Western Canada.
The Centre du patrimoine houses the most important archival collections documenting francophone presence in Western Canada beginning in the 1730s, when La Vérendrye, his sons and their men established the first trading outposts west of the Great Lakes and further into the interior of the continent, until today.
Among the important archival collections housed at the Centre du patrimoine, we find archives of religious institutions such as the Archdiocese of St. Boniface originating the first Catholic mission in the West founded in 1818 and religious congregations of men and women who have worked in the North-West since the 19th century. The Centre du patrimoine also has second most important collections of Louis Riel writings, a Métis leader and father of the Province of Manitoba.
With a library collection of more than 9,000 books, the Centre du patrimoine also owns the library known as Bibliothèque nationale de l'Archevêché de Saint-Boniface (BNA), one of the most extensive collections of books and brochures (approximately 30,000 books). It includes an important number of publications on the history of francophones in Western Canada. Many items pertain to the Manitoba School Question. Also included are publications on the Caisse populaire mouvement and Catholic Action. The collection includes many periodicals and newspaper collections including Le Métis and Le Manitoba. The Centre du patrimoine also has a valuable collection of family histories and local histories of Manitoba and Western Canada.
The genealogical research section holds publications of indexes and microfilms of baptisms, marriages and burials of Quebec and Western Canada parishes. A large vertical file collection on persons or families is also available. A number of databases provide access to indexes of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and some State parish registers, voyageur contracts, some censuses, photographs and archival materials.
Exhibits in the Salon Empire located at the entrance of the Centre du patrimoine are also presented from time to time.
Adjacent to the Centre culturel franco-manitobain, located at the corner of Provencher Boulevard and Desmeurons Street, the Centre du patrimoine is a fifteen-minute walk from major Western Canada historical sites, including the archbishop's residence, St. Boniface Cathedral, Gabrielle Roy House, the Saint-Boniface Museum and the Université de Saint-Boniface.
The Centre du patrimoine offers its services in French and English.