Riel House National Historic Site of Canada
Links and documents
1880/01/01 to 1881/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Riel House is a small one-and-a-half-storey, squared log house set on a river lot on the east side of the Red River. Located in a residential district at 330 River Road in St. Vital, a surrounding suburban development that has changed its original rural character. The property is associated with the family of Louis Riel. The designation refers to the house on its lot.
Riel House was designated a national historic site:
- as the location where Louis Riel is commemorated as a person of national historic significance, and
- as the place of commemoration for Métis river lots, a form of prairie settlement.
The heritage value of Riel House lies in its association with Louis Riel and in its representation of the Métis river lot settlement form. Its river lot has particular importance as a symbol of the early stamp of Métis culture upon the land. Built in 1880-81 on the site of an earlier home acquired in 1864 by Louis Riel’s mother, Riel House was occupied by the family from the time of its construction to 1968. Louis Riel visited the house briefly in 1883 and was laid in state in the home after his execution in 1885. Since it was declared a national historic site in 1968, Riel House has been acquired by Parks Canada, restored and furnished to represent the spring of 1886 when the family was in official mourning following the execution of Louis Riel.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, May 1976; Commemorative Integrity Statement, April 1999.
Key elements of this associative landscape include:
- the lot’s alignment with the banks of the river and the house's orientation towards the river,
- the legibility of the boundaries and footprint of the original river lot,
- the location and evolution of the house and property layout in relation to the Seine and Red Rivers, and River Road during the Riel family tenancy,
- surviving evidence of original uses of lot, including functional zones, secondary structures, landscape features such as fences and pathways, and patterns of shelter belts and vegetation,
- the setting of the house on the highest point of land in a flood plain with the slope of the property from the house to the river,
- the house with its rectangular footprint and one-and-a-half-storey massing, with gable roof; and Red River Frame construction, its timber walls and surviving evidence of original exterior finish and interior layout,
- viewscapes from the lot to the river and to surrounding properties.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1864/01/01 to 1968/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Community Organizations
- Peopling the Land
- Peopling the Land
- Canada's Earliest Inhabitants
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection
The Louis Riel House, a distinguished structure in the community of St. Vital, is an L-shaped plan house with pitched roofs, restored as closely as possible to its 1886 appearance…