Memorable Manitobans: Joseph Gustave Van Belleghem (1901-1967)
Hotelier, MLA (1950-1953).
Born at St. Vital on 6 September 1901, he attended Provencher School and St. Boniface College. After working railway construction with his father, he and his brother Frank became joint owners of the Tourist Hotel until his retirement in 1960. Elected for St. Boniface in the 1949 provincial general election, becoming the first MLA of Belgian ancestry, he served a single term before being defeated in the 1953 general election. He was a St. Boniface alderman for 18 years between 1932 and 1965, and was Mayor of St. Boniface (1954-1960).
On 3 January 1929, he married Clara Ysenbaert (?-2005) and they had four sons and one daughters. He was a brother-in-law of Theodore Bockstael. For many years he was the Belgian consul for Manitoba. He was a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus.
He died at St. Boniface on 5 January 1967 and was buried in the Belgian Sacred Heart Cemetery. He is commemorated by École Van Belleghem. Biographical information is available at the Le Centre du patrimoine of La Société historique de Saint-Boniface.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Ville Cathedral de Saint Boniface: The Cathedral City, promotional pamphlet, c1958.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 7 January 1967, page 28.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Obituary [Clara Van Belleghem], Winnipeg Free Press, 30 July 2005.
This page is based, in part, on information provided by Louise Van Belleghem, daughter of J. G. Van Belleghem.
We thank Anthony Wlock and Oliver Bernuetz (Legislative Library of Manitoba) for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 December 2022