On May 12th, Manitoba celebrates its 150th anniversary – and marks the Manitoba Métis becoming Canada’s negotiating partner in Confederation and Founder of Manitoba. Led by Louis Riel, the Métis became the first and only Indigenous People in this country to create a province.
As part of the celebration, BMO and the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) announced an agreement for the sale of BMO’s building at Portage and Main. In the spirit of reconciliation and mutual respect, they have taken an important step toward a future home for the Métis Nation Heritage Centre.
“We are celebrating this anniversary with the announcement that BMO and MMF, as partners in reconciliation, are moving forward together,” said David Chartrand, President, Manitoba Métis Federation. “Reconciliation is about making real change through practical accomplishments. Today’s milestone of reconciliation shows the leading role that can be played by the private financial sector.”
“The Métis have a rich history in Winnipeg, and we couldn’t have found a better partner to pass on the legacy of this building,” said John MacAulay, Regional President, Prairies Central, BMO Bank of Montreal. “We’re driven by our Purpose to boldly grow the good in business and life, which includes helping create a more inclusive society. Along with our fellow Winnipeggers, we look forward to celebrating both their history and future in the city.”
BMO’s Winnipeg Main building has been a pillar of the community since 1913. This will mark a new beginning – recognizing and respecting its historical legacy and architectural importance, it is an ideal space and location for a future home to celebrate Métis heritage, and support Métis contributions to the development of Canada in a manner that will benefit current and future generations.
Red River Settlement, now Winnipeg, Manitoba, is the birthplace of the Métis Nation – and the heart of the Métis Nation Homeland. Portage and Main, one of Canada’s most famous intersections, is located at the centre of the settlement and at the joining of two major historic Red River Cart trails.
“For two centuries Portage and Main has been an essential crossroad of trade and commerce and holds symbolic importance to the Métis and all Canadians,” concluded MMF President Chartrand. “Today’s joint announcement welcomes us back.”