Louis Riel’s important role in the history of our city and province is recognized in a new music video by Winnipeg’s own Royal Canoe featuring Exodus of the Year- my favorite song by the band. The video shows Riel’s statue on Broadway Avenue, his statue in St. Boniface and his grave.
Riel’s contributions have been recognized in many ways- in an opera, in a terrific graphic novel by Chester Brown, in the name of a Winnipeg school division, and in the February provincial holiday named after him. Two statues of Louis Riel in Winnipeg- one in St. Boniface and one on the Manitoba Legislature grounds reflect the two sides of the man who is widely known as the Father of Manitoba but was hanged as a traitor. I’ve blogged about one of the Riel statues already and thought it was time to write about the other. So I stopped at 450 Broadway on a bicycle trip last week to snap some photos of the Riel statue there by artist Miguel Joyal.
In this statue Riel isn’t naked as he is in the St. Boniface one. He is dressed in a suit and vest and bowtie -although he is wearing moccasins and a sash in recognition of his Metis heritage.
He is holding the Manitoba Act in his hand which was based on a List of Rights Louis Riel wrote that included among many other things recognition of this area of Canada as a province by the federal government, the right to representatives in the House of Commons and Senate and the use of both French and English in all government communication.
The statue of Riel in St. Boniface (which by the way used to stand on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature) does a better job of showing the tortured soul Riel was in many ways, and what a price he paid for his political activism, exiled for years to the United States as a wanted criminal and struggling with mental illness.
The statue on Broadway shows him as the great statesman, forward thinker and founder of the province of Manitoba. It is probably good that we have both statues in our city.
Other posts about Louis Riel…..
A Graphic Louis Riel
A Controversial Statue
The Provencher Bridge
Could I Have Been A Grey Nun?
We’re Living in a Piece of History
The Street Where I Live
The Park At the End of the Bridge