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Memorable Manitobans: Joseph-Azarie Senecal (1841-1917)

Architect, contractor.

Born at St. Marc, Quebec on 14 November 1841, he was educated in Verchère County Public School. After farming for several years he became a contractor at Belveil. From 1874 to 1877, he owned a sash and door factory at Montreal. In 1877 he came to Baie St. Paul where he farmed for seven years. From 1884 to 1891, he farmed at St. Francois Xavier and also kept a general store. He moved from there to St. Boniface to become an architect, planning many important buildings including churches, hospitals, schools and convents.

In October 1869, he married Philomene Marie Pepin (1840-1902) and they had three children: Marie Antoinette Senecal (1870-?, wife of Henri Cusson), Georges Senecal (1876-?), and Francois Xavier Senecal (1888-1888). He was Justice of the Peace for East Marquette (1877-1880), and for eleven years for Manitoba. He was Reeve of St. Francois Xavier (1881-1884), Councillor for St. Boniface (1896), Mayor of St. Boniface (1901), and a school trustee for 29 years. He was a President of the St. Jean Baptiste Society (1901).

He died at St. Boniface on 20 March 1917 and was buried in the family tomb in the St. Boniface Cemetery.

Some of his architectural and building works in Manitoba included:





St. Francois Xavier Convent

RM of St. Francois Xavier


Burned (1915)

Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church

162 Centrale Avenue, Ste. Anne



Convent of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary

St. Jean Baptiste, RM of Ritchot



Holy Ghost Roman Catholic Church

Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg


Demolished (1986)

Convent of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary




Canadian Northern Railway Station

236 Aubert Street, St. Boniface


Demolished (c1962)

Misericordia Hospital

20 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg



St. Boniface Normal School

210 rue Masson, St. Boniface



St. Mary’s Academy

Academy Road, Winnipeg



St. Francois Xavier Roman Catholic Church

St. Francois Xavier, RM of St. Francois Xavier



Letellier Convent

Letellier, RM of Montcalm



St. Boniface Cathedral

190 Avenue de la Cathedrale, Winnipeg


Burned (1968)

St. Michael’s Academy

Victoria Avenue East, Brandon



Asile Ritchot (expansion)

35 Avenue de la Digue, Winnipeg



Académie Saint-Joseph

321 Avenue de la Cathedrale, Winnipeg



St. Boniface Hospital (Centre Wing)

409 avenue Taché, Winnipeg



St. Boniface Waterworks

St. Boniface



Misericordia Hospital Chapel




Redemptorist Convent

Elmwood, Winnipeg



See also:

Joseph-Azarie Senecal, Dictionary of Canadian Biography XIV, 921-23.


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“Widely known architect dead,” Manitoba Free Press, 21 March 1917.

“Would upset will made by father,” Manitoba Free Press, 21 September 1917, page 8.

“Ask court to set aside will,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 February 1921, page 4.

Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

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

We thank Leslie Kozma for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 27 April 2020

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