Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Gabrielle Roy (1909-1983)

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Gabrielle Roy
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Born at St. Boniface on 22 March 1909, daughter of Leon Roy and Melina Landry and younger sister of M. A. A. Roy, she attended the Winnipeg Normal School, taught school in rural Manitoba, and travelled to Europe, where she began to write. Her first novel, Bonheur d’Occasion (translated as The Tin Flute), appeared in 1945 and won the Governor General’s Award. She was fluently bilingual and had a deceptively simple style. She wrote about ordinary people and strong women. Her work tended to celebrate the brief moments of joy in otherwise difficult lives.

She wrote a number of collections of short stories set in Manitoba: La Petite Poule d’eau (1950; translated as Where Nests the Water Hen); Rue Deschambault (1955; translated as Street of Riches); La Route d’Altamont (1966; translated as The Road Past Altamont); Un Jardin au bout du monde (1975; translated as Garden in the Wind); and Ces Enfants de ma vie (1977; translated as Children of My Heart). Several books were set in the Arctic and in Quebec. Roy also wrote two children’s books. She won three Governor General’s Awards and the Prix Duvernay.

In 2005, she was inducted into the Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame. Her childhood home in Winnipeg is now operated as a museum. She was selected posthumously as a Manitoba Woman Trailblazer.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Gabrielle Roy House (375 Deschambault Street, Winnipeg)

Commemorating Gabrielle Roy by Parks Canada
Manitoba History, Number 63, Spring 2010

Visages de Gabrielle Roy by Marc Gagné (1973).


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 13 June 2016

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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