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No. 86

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Memorable Manitobans: Alexandre “Buffalo” Ayotte (1859-1932)

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Alexandre Ayotte
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Bison conservationist.

Born at St. Barthelemy, Quebec on 17 September 1859, he moved to a homestead near St. Jean-Baptiste in 1880. He was working for the Canadian Department of Immigration at Missoula, Montana when, in 1907, he arranged for a herd of 750 bison to be moved from Montana to Alberta. Bison from Alberta were later distributed across the West, including to Manitoba, and were the basis for restoring this nearly-extinct prairie icon. Returning to Canada to live at St. Jean-Baptiste, Ayotte ran for office in the 1920 and 1922 provincial elections, being defeated both times, and also for the federal Liberals in the Provencher constituency in 1930, being defeated by incumbent Arthur-Lucien Beaubien. Ayotte died at St. Jean-Baptiste on 31 August 1932.

See also:

Bison Conservation: The Canadian Story by Peter Lorenz Neufeld
Manitoba History, Number 24, Autumn 1992


“Ayotte will run as Liberal in Provencher,” Winnipeg Free Press, 30 June 1930.

Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“They called him ‘Buffalo Ayotte’” by Gene Telpner, Winnipeg Free Press, 25 May 1957.

We thank Dennis McDonald for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 11 April 2018

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