New online documentary discusses life of Louis Riel
WINNIPEG -- A new documentary gives people a chance to learn about the life and legacy of Louis Riel from the comfort of their own home.
‘A Visit with Dr. Phil,’ which is free to stream online, features historian Phillipe Mailhot, the former executive director of the St. Boniface Museum. Mailhot held the role for over 30 years, and studied Riel extensively.
“My first sort-of inkling of interest for Louis Riel came in Grade 11 when you’re taking Canadian history,” Mailhot said in the documentary.
Vania Gagnon, the director of the St. Boniface Museum, said the project was started in August, and said in the winter of 2020, it became clear they wouldn’t be able to run traditional events for Louis Riel Day, where they host thousands of people.
“We were kind of sitting on this project and thought, ‘we’re going to gift it.’ That’s what we’re going to do this year, just to be sure that, even if we can be open since Friday (Feb. 12), we didn’t want to risk (an) unknown amount of crowds.”
Gagnon said she was happy to work with Mailhot for the documentary.
“He’s always so generous with his knowledge,” he said. “He’s got a lot of anecdotes and stories that he’s picked up along the way. So that, coupled with the story of the objects in the Riel exhibit, the story of this building, of the Grey Nuns, the bison hunt, all of the stuff that you usually get to learn about when you come to the museum, you can enjoy it over a one-hour documentary."
The film is available only on Feb. 15 on the St. Boniface Museum’s website. The museum will reopen for visitors starting Feb. 16, and admission is free for 2021.
-With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagace.