Batoche, Saskatchewan

 

On assignment for Canadian Geographic.

The Métis settlement of Batoche (named after Xavier Letendre dit Batoche) was established in 1872. By 1885 it numbered 500 people. The Métis of the area settled on river lots, and the community contained several stores as well as the Roman Catholic Church of St. Antoine de Padoue at the time of the Rebellion. Batoche was the de facto capital of Riel’s Provisional Government of Saskatchewan.

Batoche is a Southbranch Settlement. It is situated mainly along the east bank of the South Saskatchewan River between St. Laurent and Fish Creek, Saskatchewan. This area is part of the aspen parkland biome. This village consisted mostly of Francophones and Roman Catholics.

Batoche was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1923. The visitor centre features a multimedia presentation about the history of the village and its inhabitants. There are several restored buildings with costumed interpreters who depict the lifestyles of the Métis of Batoche between 1860 and 1900. The sites include a NWMP encampment, a church and rectory complex, and a farm home. The sites are set at different locations around the village. The complex is open from mid-May through mid-September.