New Park Commemorates St. Norbert’s Métis History
On June 14, 2016, I was very pleased to be joined by historians and community members for the official naming and opening of Parc Charette Park. The park commemorates the homestead of the Baptiste Charette family. Monsieur Charette was a carpenter with the North West Company who built his 1-1/2 storey log home in 1811–1812 “on the road to The Forks”.
My thanks to The Sou’Wester for covering this story.
The Sou’Wester – Canstar Community News
Posted: 06/28/2016 1:58 PM
The legacy of one of Manitoba’s early Métis families has been recognized with a new park in St. Norbert.
On June 16, a newly minted greenspace on the east side of Pembina Highway at Grandmont Boulevard was named Parc Charette Park after the Charette family.
The new park commemorates the homestead the Charette family established at that site in the early 1800s that served as a halfway point between the Red River Settlement and the Morris River (formerly Scratching River) and a resting place for travellers making their way to the settlement.
The original half-log home was built by Baptiste Charette, the family’s patriarch and a carpenter with the North West Company, using glass imported from England and metal hardware brought by ox cart from St. Paul, Minn.
The house was considered to be the earliest home built in the Red River Settlement area. The home was condemned following the flood in 1952.
The home was also used as a small store carrying goods from the Hudson Bay Company and at one point was a meeting place for Joseph Charette and a group of Métis who were opposed to Louis Riel’s agenda.
Local historian Philippe Mailhot said the Charette family predated the arrival of the Selkirk Settlers and the naming of the park recognizes St. Norbert’s rich Métis history.
“A lot of people don’t realize that there was a significant Métis population in the area before 1812,” Mailhot said. “It’s a recognition of the Métis history of the Red River Settlement and St. Norbert in particular and one of the old time Métis families.”
In attendance at the park naming were many community members and organizers including Guy Savoie of the Union Nationale Métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba, Robert Roehle of Group Action Saint Norbert, Norm Gousseau from Entreprises Riel, and Corrine Tellier of the Fort Garry Historical Society.
Descendants of the Charette Family were also in attendance to mark the occasion.
The park also features benches, shade trees and a pathway installed by the St. Norbert Business Improvement Zone.
“The tradition of that site was that there was the Charette place, which was a stopping place to grab a bite to eat,” Mailhot said. “In my misspent youth, which I grew up about five doors from that site, there were drive-in restaurants… and now with a couple of park benches it’s still a stopping place.”
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