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Cheesemaking in Manitoba

A new book, Pioneers of Cheese A Social and Economic History of the Cheese Industry in Southern Manitoba 1880-1960 by Ronald Friesen, underscores the importance of Franco-Manitobains in the dairy industry and in particular in the cheese industry. He writes in his introduction : "It were the French who became most strongly identified with dairying and cheesemaking in early Manitoba, drawing from both the eastern diaspora and from the local constituency. Statements were made in government press releases that 75 precent of 19th century Manitoba cheesemakers were of French descent. They found in the dairy industry a worthy vocation, an important calling only a little lower that the priesthood. ....... While up to 600 people of all ages attended an Otterburne dairying event with its concomitant celebration of the Eucharist each year, and 200-300 came out for routine dairy meetings in LaBroquerie, St. Pierre and Ste. Anne, only 20 to 80 persons did so in Mennonite districts." (p.2-3) Chapter 6 is devoted to the "Franco-Manitoban  Cheese Factories" focusing on Rioux, St. Pierre-St. Malo-Otterburne, Lorette, Ste-Anne-LaBroquerie-Giroux, Woodridge and St. Claude-Haywood.


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