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LABELLE

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Curé François-Xavier Antoine Labelle promoted a vision of rapid colonisation of the North-West. He envisaged French- Catholic parishes from St. Jerome north-west, through present-day northern Ontario, all the way to Winnipeg. He spoke with conviction and authority. A tall, energetic and imposing man, well over six feet and weighing more than 300 pounds, he was rarely contradicted. Wherever he was, when he spoke of his dream, people followed. He became known as L'Apôtre de la Colonisation and Le Roi du Nord. He was so positive and convinced of his mission that people were in awe of him. Among Labelle's companions was Narcisse Ménard, the first homesteader in Morin Township. He was also over six feet tall. These were big men whose presence was felt. One can imagine that their arrival in a village was an event.

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