Photo: David Chartrand - MMF President, standing outside the historic BMO building at Portage and Main.
On May 12, 2020, Manitoba celebrated its 150th anniversary. Led by the Provisional Government, the Metis became the first and only Indigenous People in Canada to negotiate a province into Confederation.
As part of the celebration, Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) and the BMO Financial Group (BMO) announced they have reached an agreement for the sale of BMO’s building at Portage and Main. They signed a Joint Declaration (pictured below) expressing the agreement.
Photo: Joint Declaration for the MMF to purchase historic BMO building.
“The Metis have a rich history in Winnipeg and so do BMO. This historic location opened in 1913 and BMO has been the only tenants since,” says President David Chartrand. “The stars certainly aligned. We were in need of a future home for the Metis Nation Heritage Centre, and this negotiation has forged a new partnership that we hope will continue to develop as the Metis continue to build on the economic growth in this province and country.”
The MMF has been developing the plans to establish a Metis Nation Heritage Centre for well over a decade. Over the past year activity surrounding this project has increased, with over a $3 Million Contribution Agreement between Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Minister, Carolyn Bennett, and MMF.
Photo: David Chartrand - MMF President, and Danny Menard - BMO Vice President of Business Banking.
The corner of Portage and Main is the heart of the Red River Settlement, now Winnipeg, Manitoba. This is the birthplace of the Metis Nation. MMF announces they will be respecting the historical legacy and importance of the building’s architecture while it serves as a home for the Metis Nation Heritage Centre.
“For over two centuries, Portage and Main was an essential crossroad of trade and commerce and holds symbolic importance to the Metis and all Canadians,” said President Chartrand. “We are retracing the steps of the many Metis Ancestors’ footprints at this intersection, and today we are capturing the history that belongs to us, we are coming home. This is truly the perfect fit for both parties.”
President Chartrand goes on to acknowledge the MMF Cabinet and all Citizens that continue support the vison of capturing history and of bringing home the land step by step and acre by acre. But most importantly, injecting the pride of the Metis Nation.
Photo: The historic BMO building at the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg.