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Memorable Manitobans: Jean Baptiste Thibault (1810-1879)


Born on 4 December 1810, at Saint-Joseph-de-Lévis, Lower Canada. He was educated at the Quebec Seminary. He went west as a missionary in 1833, and became the first parish priest of the Roman Catholic Mission of St. Francois Xavier. In 1845 he was made Vicar-General of the Diocese of St. Boniface.

He was in Quebec in 1869 when he was asked to return to Red River as a special envoy of the Canadian government, along with Charles de Salaberry and Donald A. Smith. Thibault was intended to provide credibility for the government’s sincerity. He arrived in Red River on Christmas Day 1869 and was immediately placed out of the way in the bishop’s palace by the provisional government when it discovered he had no power to negotiate an agreement on behalf of Canada. He played little role in the unfolding events of 1870, although he may have assisted Louis Riel to assert his authority over wavering supporters on several occasions. He returned east in 1872 and became parish priestat St. Denis, Quebec.

Thibault died in St. Denis on 4 April 1879, and is commemorated by Rue Thibault in Winnipeg.

More information:

Jean Baptiste Thibault, Dictionary of Canadian Biography X, 676-78.


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.

Memorable Manitobans

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