Whether you are a tourist, a newcomer or a lifelong Winnipeger, you must include the St-Boniface Museum in your list of places to discover. It’s a must-see in Winnipeg: this small museum is rich in artifacts, things to see and also offers experiences different from a classic museum visit.
This blog post is written in collaboration with Travel Manitoba, but I have already mentioned the St-Boniface Museum and will continue to encourage you to go as this place deserves a visit.
The St-Boniface Museum
The St-Boniface Museum is very important for Winnipeg, and in Manitoba in general. It is one of the seven Signature Museums, which are the most emblematic places in the history of the province.
The St-Boniface Museum is also the oldest wooden building in Winnipeg: erected between 1845 and 1851, it still stands! Convent, orphanage, hospital, old people’s home, then finally museum since 1967, it hosts the best collection of artefacts on Louis Riel.
The Outdoor Walking Tours
In 2021, the St-Boniface Museum began to offer walking tours around a particular topic. They start at the Museum, on Taché, and the route changes depending on the tour.
This year, visitors can do three walking tours:
- The Mocassin Walk, about the Métis;
- The Women who Made Us, to highlight the women who built Manitoba;
- the St-Boniface Cathedral’s cemetery tour.
I did the walking tour about the founding women last year, and the Moccasin Walk this year. I learned a lot of things (which I won’t share here so that you go enjoy the tour!) which was good because I start to have a good knowledge base of Manitoba’s history. That said, if you are just beginning to take an interest in the subject, these walking tours are also an excellent introduction to the Franco-Manitoban history and heritage.
The St-Boniface Museum
I have already visited the St-Boniface Museum two or three times, but this visit is perhaps my favorite, because this time, I had a guided tour of the museum: it was amazing.
Like all French people, I like to read the signs. All panels, small notes, document captions, images, I read EVERYTHING. But sometimes, when reading too much, we miss the anecdote, the little detail. Having a tour with a guide makes it possible to humanize the experience more, to laugh, to discover even more things.
To book a one-hour tour, head to the Musée de Saint-Boniface Website. If you have been to the museum recently, I would recommend returning as all the exhibition rooms have changed, new artefacts have been added as well as sound installations for visitors where four people recorded their version of the Métis story presented in front of us.
Pendant votre tournée, vous apprendrez combien pesaient les ballots que devaient soulever les Voyageurs et la vraie fonction de la ceinture fléchée, à reconnaître les différents types de perlage, le rôle de la charrette de la Rivière Rouge, l’histoire de la statue de Marie qui est juste incroyable et cela m’a aussi fait très plaisir de retrouver Woody, sculpture en bois emblématique sauvée in extremis du Bois-des-Esprits.
During your guided tour, you will learn how heavy were the bundles the Voyageurs had to lift and the true function of the arrowhead sash, but also to recognize the different types of beadwork, the role of the Red River cart, the history of the statue of Mary which is just incredible; and it also made me very happy to see Woody again, the emblematic wooden sculpture saved in extremis from the Bois-des-Esprits.
The St-Boniface Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The entire museum is fully bilingual and admission is by donation.
The August programming is enticing, with Murder and Mystery evenings (the setting is so perfect for that!) and a community barbecue.
The outdoor walking tours take place every day at 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., all summer long. There is a maximum of 10 people per group. You can book online or go directly to the museum. The cost of the walking tour is by donation, from one dollar only.
I hope you will want to visit the St-Boniface Museum this summer!
More posts about things to do in Winnipeg?
– the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
– the Manitoba Electrical Museum
– the Cement Cemetery
– the St-Boniface Museum
– Back Alley Arctic, polar street-art
– the Manitoba Museum
– Winterlude, an ice-carving competition
– all the museums in Winnipeg
– the West End Murals