Historic Portage and Main BMO building to become future home of Métis Nation Heritage Centre

May 12, 2020 – MMF and BMO announce agreement for the sale of the historic Bank of Montreal building in downtown Winnipeg on the eve of the province’s 150th birthday.

An archival photo of the Bank of Montreal building in the 1950s. (Manitoba Archives )

MMF MEDIA RELEASE

BMO and Manitoba Metis Federation Working Together to Transform Historic Portage and Main Building into Future Home of the Metis Nation Heritage Centre

President Chartrand brings the Manitoba Metis Home to the Heart of Red River

WINNIPEG, May 11, 2020 – Tomorrow, Manitoba celebrates its 150th anniversary and marks the Manitoba Metis becoming Canada’s negotiating partner in Confederation and Founder of Manitoba. Led by Louis Riel, the Metis became the first and only Indigenous People in this country to create a province.

As part of the celebration, BMO Financial Group (BMO) and the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) announced they have an agreement for the sale of BMO’s building at Portage and Main. In the spirit of reconciliation and mutual respect, they have taken an important step toward a future home for the Metis Nation Heritage Centre.

“We are celebrating this Anniversary with the announcement that BMO and MMF, as partners in reconciliation, are moving forward together,” said David Chartrand, President, Manitoba Metis Federation. “Reconciliation is about making real change through practical accomplishments. Today’s milestone of reconciliation shows the leading role that can be played by the private financial sector.”

“The Metis have a rich history in Winnipeg, and we couldn’t have found a better partner to pass on the legacy of this building,” said John MacAulay, Regional President, Prairies Central, BMO Bank of Montreal. “We’re driven by our Purpose to boldly grow the good in business and life, which includes helping create a more inclusive society. Along with our fellow Winnipeggers, we look forward to celebrating both their history and future in the city.”

BMO’s Winnipeg Main building at Portage and Main has been a pillar of the Winnipeg community since 1913. While recognizing and respecting its historical legacy and architectural importance, it is an ideal space and location for a future home to celebrate Metis heritage and support Metis contributions to the development of Canada in a manner that will benefit current and future generations. This will mark a new beginning.

Red River Settlement, now Winnipeg, Manitoba, is the Birthplace of the Metis Nation and the Heart of the Metis Nation Homeland; Portage and Main, one of Canada’s most famous intersections, is located at the centre of the Settlement and at the joining of two major historic Red River Cart trails.

“For two centuries Portage and Main has been an essential crossroad of trade and commerce and holds symbolic importance to the Metis and all Canadians,” concluded MMF President Chartrand. “Today’s joint announcement welcomes us back.”-30-About BMO Financial GroupServing customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider – the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $880 billion as of January 31, 2020, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.About the Manitoba Metis Federation

The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is the official democratically-elected government of the Metis Nation’s Manitoba Metis. The MMF provides a wide variety of programs and services as well as promotes, advocates, and protects Metis rights, interests, and claims. Red River Settlement, now Winnipeg, is the Birthplace of the Metis Nation and Heart of the Homeland. The Manitoba Metis is Canada’s Negotiating Partner in Confederation and the Founder of the Province of Manitoba.

BMO Media Contact:
James DeCosimo, Toronto, james.decosimo@bmo.com | (416) 867-3996

MMF Media Contact:
Al Benoit, Winnipeg, abenoit@mmf.mb.ca | (204) 299-0534

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