Museum Moment: Tales of Law and Order

St. Albert’s First Laws 

Did you know the first written, civic laws on the western prairies began in St. Albert?

As the fur trading companies began to give up control of the Northwest, the people of St. Albert began to take the law into their own hands, literally. In 1864, Father Lacombe and a gathering of residents from the parishes of St. Albert, Lac Ste. Anne and St. Joachim (Edmonton) met to discuss the need for some organized governing in the region. Six years later Bishop Grandin and a group of St. Albert Métis residents wrote up 39 bylaws. They covered everything from murder and adultery, to pulling down fences and the mandatory use of bells on sleighs.

See all the bylaws here: BY LAWS ENACTED BY THE ST. ALBERT MÉTIS (1870)


Before the Métis Bylaws there were the “Laws of the Hunt” to organize large groups of people gathered for the spring and fall buffalo hunts.

The Original Bank of Hochelaga

The first attempted bank robbery in St. Albert was at the old Bank of Hochelaga, built in 1912. The full story is in the Musée Héritage Museum’s exhibition “Keeping the Peace”.

Bank of Hochelaga Building, Perron Street

The first wooden building was replaced in 1921, by a secure brick building, now the home of the Art Gallery of St. Albert. You can still go in to see the bank vaults in the building.

For more interesting tales of law and order in St. Albert, please visit the exhibition, “Keeping the Peace” at the Musée Héritage Museum.

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