Trial of Louis Riel, O.B. Buell, Library and Archives Canada. No. 3192595.

Métis leader Louis Riel was placed on trial for high treason in July 1885 for his leadership of the North-West Resistance. Held in Regina rather than his home province of Manitoba to avoid a sympathetic jury, Riel was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Portrait Card of Louis Riel, Notman Studio. Library and Archives Canada. No. 3192038

Against Riel’s wishes, his lawyers pleaded insanity on his behalf in order to reduce the sentence to a lifetime in an asylum. Riel told the court: “I have a mission. I cannot fulfil my mission as long as I am looked upon as an insane being.”

Dr Valade’s House, photograph, ©NCC

One of the doctors assigned to evaluate Riel was Dr François-Xavier Valade of 142-144 St. Patrick Street. His home survives under the custodianship of the NCC. Riel was executed on November 16, 1885.

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