St. François Xavier, Manitoba Canada

Discover St. François Xavier, Manitoba: A Blend of History and Charm

St. François Xavier, an unincorporated urban centre, is nestled in the Rural Municipality of St. François Xavier, Manitoba, Canada. Approximately 15 km west of Winnipeg, this quaint town sits on the banks of the Assiniboine River. Established around 1824 and originally known as Grantown, St. François Xavier is the second oldest settlement in Manitoba.

The Rich History of St. François Xavier, Manitoba

The lands of present-day St. François Xavier, also known as White Horse Plains (La Prairie du Cheval Blanc), were once inhabited by several distinct First Nations, including the Cree and Dakota. The area, abundant with buffalo and other game animals, attracted settlers in the early 19th century.

Around 1824, Cuthbert Grant, a Métis leader known for his role in the Battle of Seven Oaks, arrived in the area. He was soon joined by numerous Métis families, leading to the establishment of the settlement, which was named Grantown in his honor. The Métis community has since played a significant role in the municipality and throughout the province.

In 1851, Father Louis-François Richer Laflèche joined the Métis buffalo hunters from the Parish of St. François Xavier on one of their annual hunts on the prairies. The hunting group, led by Jean Baptiste Falcon, son of Pierre Falcon (a Métis songwriter), encountered a band of Sioux in North Dakota. Dressed in a black cassock, white surplice, and stole, Laflèche and Falcon led a miraculous defence against 2,000 Sioux combatants, using a crucifix at the Battle of Grand Coteau. After a two-day siege, the Sioux withdrew, convinced that the Great Spirit protected the Métis.

The St. François-Xavier post office, a significant landmark, was opened in 1871 and closed in 1975.

Demographics of St. François Xavier, Manitoba

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, St. François Xavier had a population of 845, living in 272 of its 278 total private dwellings. This represented a significant increase of 27.6% from its 2016 population of 662. With a land area of 3.39 km2 (1.31 sq mi), the town had a population density of 249.3/km2 (645.6/sq mi) in 2021.

St. François Xavier, Manitoba, with its rich history and growing population, offers a unique blend of past and present, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and tourists alike.