150 years of history in St.Jean-Baptiste

September 11, 2019

On September 13, 2019, the Village of St. Jean Baptiste will unveil a life-size statue commemorating the arrival of the first permanent residents in the village 150 years ago.

Antoine Vandal and Raymond Rajotte sculpture


The idea came up in spring 2016, during a discussion among members of the St. Jean Baptiste Club des Pionniers. Club member Mona Lavallée explains: “We wanted to showcase the village’s cultural and historical values. That led to a discussion about the first residents of St. Jean Baptiste, and we wanted to pay tribute to them.

 

Mona Lavallée, member of committee for the 150th anniversary of Saint-Jean-Baptiste

A committee was quickly established to prepare the event celebrating the village. The goal was to keep St. Jean Baptiste’s history alive, starting with the village’s heritage and culture.

The committee then had to secure funding to deliver on this ambitious undertaking. “We submitted a grant application to Canadian Heritage for the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first permanent residents in St. Jean Baptiste.”

The committee had three years to prepare the anniversary celebrations in 2019. Its members decided to create a park that will be “a gathering place for village residents,” according to Mona Lavallée.

“We also thought about how to highlight the village’s history. We got the idea for a statue when we came across a photo of Antoine Vandal and Raymond Rajotte, two St. Jean Baptiste pioneers,” she adds. (Also read - A Double Family Connection Cast in Bronze)

This life-size bronze statue created by artist Débora Cardaci will be erected in the middle of the park. Mona Lavallée points out that, in addition to the statue, “people will also see the Métis and Franco-Manitoban flags as a reminder to everyone that the village was established by our Métis and French-Canadian ancestors. There is also a display panel on the arrival of the Métis people and another on the arrival of French-Canadians in St. Jean Baptiste.”