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MUSIC CITY MANITOBA
St. Laurent, Manitoba

MANITOBA, CANADA

A MUSICAL PARADISE!

An all seasons Musical Paradise.

Originally called Fond du Lac, this Métis community was established in 1824 on the shores of Lake Manitoba. Many Métis moved there after it was found that Pembina was actually in the United States. By 1850, twelve families were established at St. Laurent, including the Lamberts, Chartrands, Lavallees, Pangmans and Ducharmes. More Métis moved there after the Resistance of 1869-70. St. Laurent was originally a fishing, trapping and trading community with small-scale farming. The Métis traded up to the Camperville area on Lake Winnipegosis and would go as far as the Summerberry Marsh near The Pas to catch muskrats in the spring. A Roman Catholic mission was established here in 1862. The community was renamed by Father Camper after St. Lawrence, a Christian martyr.

As described in the mid-1980s, the community of around 1,000 people lacked a single townsite, and was instead more like an Old World chain village, as the land was originally divided by the French river lot system (a number of long, narrow farm fields along a central road on the lakeshore), rather than the geometrical patterns of the Dominion Land Survey in much of the rest of Manitoba. The land is primarily glacial till with limited potential for agriculture, though farming does occur in the community. The climate is continental with extreme variation between seasons.

Ojibwa language name for this territory is Aggaamaakwaa which means “at the grand opening”. It was named as such because this territorial area had a large cleared area, with no trees. Oral historians recorded people still using this name for the community in the 1970s. Another early name for the community was Fond du Lac. The post office opened as Indian Mission in 1872 and changed to St. Laurent in 1873.

European exploration of the region goes back at least to La Vérendrye who explored the area in the 1730s. The first Métis settlement in the area began in 1824 with a group arriving from Pembina. The area was known as a fishing site for the Saulteaux and Métis peoples when the first Roman Catholic priests visited in 1826.

There were twelve families in the community by 1850. The Catholic church established a parish in 1858; Father Laurent Simonet OMI became the first resident priest in 1863, and the first baptisms and funerals are recorded in 1864. The first school was built in 1870, and in 1881 the community was incorporated as the Rural Municipality of St. Laurent. By that year the population included 32 Métis families and 50 school-aged children. Franciscan Missionaries of Mary arrived in 1896, and three years later a convent was built. The railway reached the area in 1904, and new settlement followed.   Between 1905 and 1910 several Breton families arrived from France, followed by some French-Canadian families in the 1930s, and Mennonite families in the 1950s. By the mid-1980s close to three quarters of the population of around 1,000 were Métis.

Poised on the shores of Lake Manitoba, St. Laurent offers some of the nicest beaches in Manitoba with over 600 lake front cottage lots.  With the most scenic and peaceful sunsets, St. Laurent is growing,  with many long standing seasonal residents choosing our community to call home.  And who could blame them!  Only a short drive to Winnipeg, St. Laurent offers all the amenities you could ever need including restaurants, grocery store, post office, ambulance and local fire station, assisted living centre with nursing aids and nurse practitioner, pharmacy,  recreation centre, baseball diamonds, and arena.  If you’re an avid sportsman St. Laurent offers great fishing and hunting as well as ATV, snowmobile trails and our Manipogo Golf Course.  St. Laurent is also a large farming community with many hectares of pasture land, cattle, hobby and professional.  We are proud to have our own meat packers plant as well.  Interlake Packers has been around for decades offering a fine assortment of smoked meats and custom cuts.

More then just cottage country, St. Laurent is a proud Metis community which was chosen in 2004 by the prestigious Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC for their inaugural exhibit located in the new National Museum of the American Indian.  They chose our community above so many others across North America because of the true vitality and distinctiveness of the Metis identity. 

So please come visit us.  We look forward to seeing you!

Prior to the arrival of European colonists, the area between Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg was contested among the OjibwaCree, and Sioux peoples for much of the 18th century, with the Ojibwa ultimately achieving dominance.  In the 1730s, La Vérendrye was the first European who systematically explored the territory.  By the early 19th century, the interlake region of Manitoba was inhabited by Ojibwa Saulteaux, but it is unclear if any of the groups lived in the immediate vicinity of St. Laurent when it was founded.

St. Laurent was established as Fond du Lac in 1824 by Métis leaving Pembina, North Dakota. Pembina, located in Rupert’s Land, had been recently ceded by Great Britain to the United States via the Treaty of 1818, prompting the departure of the Métis there. More settlers arrived in 1826 as a result of flooding of the Red River of the North, with further growth driven by Métis in search of land and traders seeking to take advantage of trade routes to the northwest. The economy centred around fishing and the fur trade, with settlers serving as intermediaries with Cree and Assiniboine people.

Sometime after its establishment as a parish in 1858, the community was renamed St. Laurent, either after a Catholic priest who established the permanent mission there or after the martyr St. Lawrence. Additional Métis settlers moved to St. Laurent in the aftermath of the Red River Rebellion ending in 1870. The broader area was formally incorporated as the Rural Municipality of St. Laurent in 1882. French-CanadiansBretons, and Mennonites arrived in the first half of the 20th century.

 

The land is primarily glacial till with limited potential for agriculture, but is suitable for some farming and the raising of livestock. The climate is continental with high variation between seasons. St. Laurent is in the Red River region of Manitoba, which is prone to flooding, and the village last suffered a major flood in the spring and summer of 2011.

St. Laurent has no central town square and is not exclusively organized around central roads, which is partially the result of the influence of the seigneurial system of New France, which allotted land with respect to the waterfront

TWIN BEACH – St. laurent, Manitoba, Canada

Twin Lakes Beach is one of the cleanest and best-preserved beaches in the province of Manitoba.  When arriving in St. Laurent turn left at Twin Beach Rd. located at the Petro Canada Station (MTT Restaurant).  Drive West to the lake front.  Twin Beaches is shared by two municipalities.  The RM of St. Laurent and the RM of Woodlands. Turn right on Venice Rd North and there are 41 lake front properties.  Turn left on Venice Rd South and there are over 200 lake front properties in the RM of St. Laurent.  Come spend a day at Meindl park located at 656 Venice Rd. South.  The swimming is wonderful and the bottom is soft and sandy.  The sunsets are just spectacular so if you like what you’re experiencing, shop around over 6KM of pristine natural beach for a place of your own.

The coat of arms of the Rural Municipality of St. Laurent, bearing the motto Ayangwamisita (“Be safe” in Ojibwa-Cree) and the name of the municipality in French, reflects the community’s Métis and Francophone roots as well as its cultural diversity.

And, as the images on the coat of arms suggest, the municipality’s cultural, family and economic life is rich, vibrant and diverse. St. Laurent is a community where you can work, play and raise your family in French, English and the traditional Michif language.

The municipality comprises the village of St. Laurent, home to the highest concentration of residents and services, and Oak Point which, like St. Laurent, is on the shores of Lake Manitoba.

A unique heritage

Located 80 km northwest of Winnipeg, St. Laurent has a unique cultural heritage. It became a fishing destination when Métis families arrived from Pembina to settle there in 1824. The community got its name when a missionary, Charles Camper, established the Catholic parish of St. Laurent in 1858.

The municipality was founded in 1882. In 1905, several Breton families arrived from France, followed by French-Canadians in the 1930s, and Mennonites in the 1950s.

The Francophone Métis culture is celebrated every summer during Métis Days and the Métis Music Festival, and in early March, at the Manipogo Festival, a winter celebration named after Lake Manitoba’s famous mythical serpentine monster. The region’s fishing festival offers visitors a chance to see traditional ice fishing demonstrations, sample delicious pickerel fillets, and tap their feet to Métis jigs and reels at the Fisher’s Ball.

A bright past, present and future

St. Laurent is back in business after recovering from a devastating flood in 2011. The community now has 1,338 residents, some 200 more than in 2001. Given the popularity of its beautiful sandy beaches, the population can double during the warmer months. In the spring, many Winnipeggers and Manitobans from other regions begin flocking to their cottages, where they spend most of the summer. When they aren’t at the beach, residents and visitors can be found playing a few rounds on the Manipogo golf course.

While recreational hunting and fishing are a big draw for sports buffs, the long-standing commercial fishing tradition is an important part of the local economy. Wintertime catches include perch and pickerel, while spring fishing yields more common carp. Further inland, the main industry is cattle farming. More than 66 percent of municipal businesses are agriculture related.

The community boasts several restaurants, service stations and a major hardware store.

A perfect place for families

There are two schools in the rural municipality, both located in the village of St. Laurent: the French language K-12 École communautaire Aurèle-Lemoine school, and the English language K-12 St. Laurent School. École Aurèle-Lemoine also has a daycare, an essential service for young families.

St. Laurent has a bilingual community health office and a seniors residence, and offers an array of recreational activities for families. The Oak Point Community Club is very active, with a robust program. The St. Laurent Arena has a minor hockey program for boys and girls who can’t wait for a chance to skate with the Lake Monsters. The Lakeside Phantoms senior hockey team attracts more experienced players. The St. Laurent Recreation Centre offers a variety of activities for families in French and English. During the summer, baseball becomes the favourite sport of many St. Laurent residents, who play on the rec centre field.

St. Laurent by the numbers

1,338 residents (2016), 405 of whom are bilingual (French English)

86.5% of residents are homeowners

The primary industry is agriculture (66%), followed by construction (10%), transportation (4%), real estate (4%) and administration (4%)

A Sample of

A Message from the Mayor

On behalf of the residents of St. Laurent, welcome to Manitoba’s Musical Paradise & Home to Manipogo.

St. Laurent takes special pride in offering its visitors great hospitality and plenty of things to do to make your visit exciting and memorable.

Start with our fantastic beaches. Relax, soak up the sunshine, listen to the glorious sounds of the water hitting the beaches. Strike up a friendship with your Music City Manitoba’s fellow music lovers, & explore everything we have in St. Laurent. 

I guarantee you will enjoy one of the warmest welcomes that you will find anywhere. 

Enjoy your stay and come back and visit us again soon.

                                               —————————–

Get the Mayor to make a U-Tube video, with something like the above text. We will insert it here. May as well promote him, as well.

We Make Music. Not Noise!

Out Dated Video. Stay Tuned!

A small sampling of our amazing entertainers.



St. Laurent Metis Days 

August Long Week-End


For all activities and information.  Stay Tuned!

Celebrating the unique and varied culture of the Metis peoples usually involves music. Fiddling, jigging and singing are recognized talents, as is story telling. The roots of the Metis peoples run deep in Manitoba, back to the time before Louis Riel & the founding of the province in 1870. The largest Metis community in North America is found at St. Laurent, on Highway 6, on the shores of Lake Manitoba. At the junction of Highway 26 and the Marquette road you see the markers of the old cemetery and in the center of the plot stands the memorial to Father Belcourt, founder of the mission parish of Baie St. Paul. From here the “Mission Trail” struck out for Oak Point on the shore of Lake Manitoba. When the Canadian Pacific Railway came through Reaburn, fish caught in Lake Manitoba were freighted down the trail to the rail point. The trail was active for about 20 years until the rail line was built through Warren to Lundar in 1903-04. Built along the old Mission Trail, these communities host celebrations each summer.

MANAPOGO FESTIVAL

In March, The St. Laurent Metis Community celebrates the end of fishing season. The Manipogo Festival, named after Lake Manitoba’s famous serpentine monster, celebrates the region’s fishing tradition by giving traditional ice-fishing demonstrations and offering visitors delicious pickerel fillets at the Fisher’s Ball.

Enjoy the Festival, but be careful – do not disturb Manipogo!

In Canadian folklore, the Manipogo is a lake monster said to live in Lake ManitobaManitobaCanada. The creature was dubbed Manipogo in 1960, the name echoing British Columbia’s Ogopogo. There is also a Lake Winnipegosis monster called Winnepogo, thought possibly to be the same creature since the lakes are connected. It is the namesake of the Manipogo Provincial Park.

The monster is described as being from 4–15 metres (13–49 ft) long. It is described as “A long muddy-brown body with humps that show above the water, and a sheep-like head.”

Check out our Photography Competition. If you get a good clear, definitive shot of MANIPOGO, there will be a Big Bonus for you in it, as well! Stay Tuned for more details on that.

Out Dated Videos. Stay Tuned!