Centre du patrimoine


The Centre du patrimoine is an archives and research centre devoted mainly to preserving and making accessible archives documenting the Francophone and Metis experience in Western Canada and particularly in Manitoba. It also promotes studying and  publishing on Francophone and Métis heritage and history in Manitoba and Western Canada.  The Centre du patrimoine building was informed by the most recent concepts in the architecture of archives buildings.  The vaults were built using the envelope inside an envelope concept.  Temperature and humidity are carefully controlled to provide the proper preservation environment. The air is filtered  using a highly efficient humidity, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit making it possible to meet the norms as specified in the conservation policy of the Société historique de Saint-Boniface and normally recognized in the industry.  

A unique heritage centre, open on the world, it provides services and houses resources having an impact on Canadians of all ages and in all spheres of life.

The passionate and energetic team, both volunteers and paid staff, of the Centre du patrimoine ensures the success of its mission and its involvement at the local, regional, national and even to some extent international levels.

The mission of the Centre du patrimoine

The Centre du patrimoine's mission is to acquire, preserve and promote Western Canadian Francophone and Métis heritage, and in particular Franco-Manitoban and Métis heritage in Manitoba. 


The Centre du patrimoine offers you and all the public as a whole:

  • A unique environment to research and learn about the Francophone and Métis history of Western Canada.
  • The opportunity to do genealogical research on Franconphone and Métis families of Western Canada by accessing specialized databases.
  • Exclusive Canadian archival resources - thousands of images and manuscripts, irreplaceable witnesses of Francophone and Métis history and culture.
  • Original exhibits on the Francophones and the Métis of Western Canada. 
  • A Web site universally accessible. 

Heritage Wall

The Heritage Wall
At the entrance of the Centre du patrimoine, the decorative element highlighted in Salon Empire is made up of pieces of the metal facade of what was originally knwon as the Cauchon Block, later to become the Empire Hotel.

Built in 1881-82, at the southeast corner of Main and York, the Cauchon Bloc was one of Winnipeg's most impressive commercial structures. It was designed by the architect Louis-Arsène Desy for Joseph-Édouard Cauchon (1816-1885), journalist, politician, businessman, and Manitoba's first francophone Lieutenant Governor. When the building opened in February 1883, it had space for eight businesses at ground level and fifty offices on its three upper floors. Particularly striking and rare were the block's pressed metal façade, designed in the Victorian Italianate style and constructed of decorative cast-iron columns and stamped galvanized iron with zinc details. These components were produced entirely by local industries.

In 1884, after a recession forced transfer of the property to Dunn and Price of Quebec, the Cauchon Block was converted into the city's first apartment building. Three fires struck the premises berween 1885 and 1897, causing severe damage and two deaths.  

The building regained prestige when it was purchased by McLaren Brothers and transformed in 1904-05 into a first-class hotel called the Empire Hotel. Development of the nearby Union Station boosted business, but also attracted competing hotels. The Empire remained open until the mid-1970s.  

Debate over its fate encouraged new public initiatives to preserve local heritage, but could not save the building from demolition in 1982. The Province of Manitoba and City of Winnipeg made arrangements with the owner to retain the metal façade, restored portions of which are installed to produce this heritage wall. 


Centre du patrimoine, 340, boulevard Provencher, Saint-Boniface, (Manitoba) R2H 0G7 - T(204) 233-4888 ©2010 - Société historique de Saint-Boniface
Here is the photo of the Centre du patrimoine on Google Maps