Memorable Manitobans: Alphonse Alfred Clement LaRivière (1842-1925)
MLA (1878-79), MLA (1879-1883), MLA (1883-1886), MLA (1886-1888), MP (1887-1891), MP (1891-1896), MP (1896-1900), MP (1900-1904), Senator.
Born at Montreal, Quebec on 24 July 1842, son of carriagemaker Abraham C. dit La Rivière and Adélaïde Mercil, he attended the College Ste-Marie (Montreal), Jacques-Cartier Normal School and the Montreal School of Military Instruction. He was appointed captain of the military district of Manitoba in 1871 and also appointed to the Dominion Lands Office in Winnipeg, where he served until 1875.
LaRivière founded the Manitoba St. Jean Baptiste Society in 1872, serving as President in 1875. He was a special correspondent to La Minerve in Montreal and editor of Le Manitoba. He was Superintendent of Roman Catholic Schools, appointed Joint Secretary of the General Board of Education on 10 May 1879. He was founder and first President of La Societe de Colonisation de Manitoba, in 1874. He was a founding member of the Manitoba Historical Society. He was appointed Justice of the Peace for Selkirk in 1874.
Defeated in the December 1874 provincial general election, he was acclaimed for the St. Boniface constituency in 1878, and re-elected or acclaimed in 1879, 1882, 1883, and 1886. He served as Provincial Secretary (November 1881 to September 1883), Minister of Agriculture, Statistics and Health (September 1883 to August 1886), Provincial Treasurer (August 1886 to December 1887). While in provincial office, he also served a one-year term (1881) as Mayor of St. Boniface. He was elected to the House of Common for Provencer at a by-election in January 1889, re-elected in 1891, 1896, and 1900, defeated in 1904 and 1908. He was called to the Senate in October 1911, resigning in September 1917.
On 4 February 1867, he married Marie Melvina Bourdeau (?-1885) and they had thirteen children, four of whom survived him: Bernadette LaRivière (1878-?), Alexandre C. LaRivière (1871-?), Adrien LaRivière (?-?), and Daughter? LaRivière (?-?).
He died at St. Boniface on 20 September 1925 and was buried in the St. Boniface Cathedral Cemetery. He is commemorated by Rue Lariviere in Winnipeg.
A Political Manual of the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories by J. P. Robertson, Winnipeg: Call Printing Company, 1887.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
The Canadian Directory of Parliament, 1867-1967, edited by J. K. Johnson, Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa [Library and Archives Canada], 1968.
“Former member upper house dies suddenly,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 September 1925, page 3.
“Hon. A. A. C. La Riviere, former senator, dies,” newspaper clipping dated 21 September 1925. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B8]
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Members of the Legislative Assembly (deceased), Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.
We thank Oliver Bernuetz (Legislative Library of Manitoba) for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 23 February 2023