St. Boniface, Winnipeg
Visiting the tomb of Canada's original Rebel is a must see and do for me any time that I am in Winnipeg.
This man got the short end of the stick and was in fact misrepresented as a criminal and unjustly hung for his actions.
I have an undying tendency to root for the underdog and I TRY to stand up for what is "just" and "right"...and how this man was bamboozled is the kind of thing that makes me angry.
Ron took me here for the first time on a COLD day in February 96...on a cross Canada drive when I relocated to Ottawa.I was coming from Vancouver Island where the Winter climate is rather hospitable compared to the below zero temperatures that Winnipeg experiences throughout the Winter months!In spite of my inappropriate dress for this weather I wanted to see the Memorial and Tomb of Louis Riel.
Riel is recognized as the founder of Manitoba and the leader of the Metis people of what was to become the Canadian Praries.He lead an insurection against the Canadian Government and fought through armed conflict to preserve the culture and rights of the Metis people. He was considered by many a simple "lunatic" and the Government of Canada at the time declared him guilty of treason and ultimately captured and hanged on November 16, 1885.
The link below will lead you to some more detailed information about him,you can form your own decisions if you wish.
On the grounds of the Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface there is a statue of Riel called "tortured"...and was moved here from the grounds of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly where it stood for 23 years.The Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface is adjoining the St Boniface Cathedral and easy to find if you are visiting here.
"Tortured" is the work of architect Étienne Gaboury and sculptor Marcien Lemay, and depicts Riel as a naked and tortured figure.I personaly DO NOT like this commemoration of a man that was so influential and important in the history of Manitoba.
Take a half hour when you're exploring Winnipeg and see this wonderful cathedral that has such an interesting history...set above the river banks at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine River across from what was then known as Fort Garry[modern day Winnipeg]..the present day version is in fact the fifth version of the St Boniface Cathderal,the original chapel was built in 1818 and was a simple log structure.The previous two structures to the modern day version burned and today the facade and the walls are from the building that was constructed in 1908.The present cathedral is built within the ruins of the 1908 building.
Today, the tombs of six bishops and four missionaries lie within the crypt of St. Boniface Cathedral and the "Father of Mannitoba" Louis Riel is buried on the adjoining Catholic cemetery.
This is a beautiful building with wonderful stain glass windows depicting various scenes.The afternoon that I was there it was so quiet and peaceful inside and provided a brief escape from the warm temperatures outdoors.