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Memorable Manitobans: Fortunat Lachance (1877-1924)

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Fortunat Lachance
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Physician, municipal official, community activist.

Born at St. Norbert on 24 October 1877, son of Pierce Lachance (1840-1890) and Malvena Ruel (1850-1921), he was educated at the University of Manitoba and Laval University (Montreal). He commenced a professional career as house surgeon of Hotel Dieu, Montreal, for two years, then three years in general hospitals of Paris, France.

He returned to Winnipeg in 1907, where he worked as a coroner for the City of St. Boniface, a surgeon and special physician at the St. Boniface Hospital, and surgeon at the Winnipeg Free Dispensary. He specialized in the diseases of women. In early 1924, he faced 16 charges under the Narcotic Drugs Act of prescribing morphine and cocaine improperly. He was acquitted on two charges but died before the others were addressed in court.

On 29 December 1908, he married Eugenie Forest (1878-?) of Montreal and they had two daughters, Marie Theresa Lachance (1910-?) and Marguerite Marie Lachance (1914-?), before separating in 1923. He was a member of the Adanac Club, Manitoba Medical Society, and Roman Catholic church. He and his family lived at 319 Langevin Street (1908-1912) and 228 Hamel Avenue (1912-1924). He served as a St. Boniface city alderman for several years, Mayor of St. Boniface (1914-1915), and inaugural President of l'Association d'Éducation des Canadiens (1916) where he urged Manitobans to continue speaking French.

He died at the St. Boniface Hospital on 1 April 1924, after a prolonged illness, and was buried in the St. Norbert Cemetery.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Lachance House / White Fathers House (228 Hamel Avenue, Winnipeg)

Sources:

Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.

1921 Canada census, Ancestry.

“St. Boniface woman asks for separation,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 June 1923, page 2.

“Parents urged to settle case,” Winnipeg Tribune, 7 June 1923, page 2.

“Former Mayor in police court,” Winnipeg Tribune, 20 August 1923, page 1.

“Pains of drug victim related,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 January 1924, page 10.

“Charge against doctor will be pushed to limit,” Winnipeg Tribune, 29 February 1924, page 1.

Death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Dr. Lachance, corner of St. Boniface, dead,” Manitoba Free Press, 1 April 1924.

“Physician dead,” Winnipeg Tribune, 1 April 1924, page 2.

“Dr. Lachance is laid to rest,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 April 1924, page 3.

“Large attendance at funeral of Dr. Lachance,” Manitoba Free Press, 4 April 1924.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

We thank Georgette Poitras for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 December 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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