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History of St. Norbert

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St. Norbert is one of the most historically-rich neighbourhoods in the City of Winnipeg, it's founding and evolution intertwined with the history of Manitoba and Western Canada. It became part of the City of Winnipeg which came into legal existence on January 1, 1972.

This area was first settled, on a seasonal basis, by First Nations groups, taking advantage of the area's rivers for fishing and for settlement during the bison hunt. It was located along the Pembina Trail (now Pembina Highway ), a major north-south transportation route between Upper Fort Garry and the closest rail line found at St. Paul, Minnesota. It became a permanent Métis settlement in the early 1820s and became a Catholic Parish in 1857, taking the name St. Norbert in honour of the first Bishop of St. Boniface, Joseph-Norbert Provencher (1787-1853).

It was at the St. Norbert Roman Catholic Church in 1869 that the Comité national des Métis was formed to forward Métis rights with Louis Riel as its secretary. Soon after learning that Lieutenant-governor designate William McDougall and a group of armed men were heading into the area to establish Canadian government authority, the Métis constructed a barrier across the Pembina Trail just north of its crossing of La Salle River and forced McDougall and his men to retreat.

The community, with its strong ties to the Métis, continued to be an integral part of the history of the region long after it gained provincial status, with commercial development, churches and schools and institutional structures.