St. Boniface Industrial School

St. Boniface Industrial School was a Canadian Indian residential school that operated in what is now the St. Boniface neighbourhood of Winnipeg, Manitoba from 1890 to 1905.[1]: 362  The school was built with funds from the Government of Canada and was operated by Archdiocese of Saint-Boniface and the Grey Nuns of Manitoba.[2] The Oblates took over operation of the school in 1896.[2] The school was situated on Des Meurons Street.[3]: 8  Situated on 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land, some bush and some cultivated, the school was a mile from the Town of St. Boniface and two miles from Winnipeg.[4]

St. Boniface Industrial School
Religious affiliation(s)Presbyterian
Established1890 (1890)
Closed1905 (1905)

In addition to academic training, the school provided students with vocational training.[2] Male students were taught trades such as carpentry, blacksmithing, or shoe repair and female students were taught domestic skills like housekeeping, wool carding, sewing, and cooking.[2] Hands on experience with farming was limited to gardening due a lack of land for the type or farm operations in place at other schools.[5]: 336  Recreational facilities at the school were lacking. In his submission for the 1896 Indian Affairs Annual Report Principal John Ashby indicated that there was no yard or recreation space for the girls and that the recreation room for the boys was "far too small".[5]: 365 [4]

School officials struggled with student recruitment and by 1902 it was clear St. Boniface needed to be replaced with schools on reserves.[5]: 271  The school was closed in 1905 due to low enrollment. The Executive Summary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada linked low school attendance at the turn of the century to parental acts of resistance: "Prior to 1920, when the Indian Act was amended to allow Indian Affairs to compel children to attend residential school, the most effective form of resistance that parents could make was to simply refuse to enrol their children."[1]: 114 

Following the closure of the school the building was used a juniorate.[6] It burned down in 1911 and the exact location of the building is unknown due to development of residential and commercial areas.[6]


  • Father Ambroise Comeau (1890-1896)
  • Father Jean-Baptiste Dorais (1896-1903)
  • Unknown (1903-1905)[7]


  1. ^ a b "Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada" (PDF). National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. May 31, 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d "St Boniface Industrial School" (PDF). Société historique de Saint-Boniface. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  3. ^ "Indigenous Peoples and Records: A Guide to Research at the City of Winnipeg Archives" (PDF). City of Winnipeg Archives. September 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  4. ^ a b Ashby, John B. (1896). "Dominion of Canada Annual Report of the Department of Indian Affairs for the Year Ended 30th June 1896". Department of Indian Affairs. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "Canada's Residential Schools: The History, Part 1 Origins to 1939: Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Volume 1" (PDF). National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. 2015. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Aldrich, Josh (4 June 2021). "Residents trying to keep truth about St. Boniface Industrial School alive". winnipegsun. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Historic Sites of Manitoba: St. Boniface Industrial School (Des Meurons Street, Winnipeg)". Retrieved 26 June 2021.