Bro. Marie-Victorin Kirouac, F.S.C.
April 3, 1885
Kingsey Falls, Quebec, Canada
|Died||July 15, 1944 (aged 59)|
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Cause of death||Automobile accident|
|Residence||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Occupation||Religious Brother, teacher and botanist|
Brother Marie-Victorin, F.S.C. (April 3, 1885 – July 15, 1944), was a Canadian member of Brothers of the Christian Schools and a noted botanist in Quebec, Canada. He is known as the father of the Botanical Garden of Montreal.
He was born Joseph-Louis-Conrad Kirouac to Cyrille Kirouac, a flower merchant, and Philomène Luneau in Kingsey Falls, Quebec. Prior to taking religious vows and becoming Brother Marie-Victorin, he was known as Conrad. Noted American writer Jack Kerouac was his fifth cousin, once removed.
Although Brother Victorin is on record as having suggested that Montreal build its own botanical gardens as early as 1919, the Garden was authorized by Montreal Mayor Camillien Houde only in 1929, with construction beginning in 1931.
Subsequent administrations, both municipal and provincial, opposed the Garden as a boondoggle; however, Brother Victorin continued to champion its cause, promoting it at every opportunity, leading specimen-collection expeditions, recruiting Henry Teuscher as its designer, and even (during the Second World War) protecting it from being converted into a military flight school.
Brother Victorin is also known for his writings: his Flore laurentienne is a botanical record of all species indigenous to southern Quebec, and was the first such record to be compiled. He also penned the preface to an historical biography of another fifth cousin, Zephirin Paquet. Sa famille, sa Vie, son Oeuvre. Essai de Monographie Familiale, par frere Alcas.
Brother Victorin died in Montreal in a car accident in July 1944. A building at the Université de Montréal, where he had taught botany, was subsequently named for him.
The Marie-Victorin rose, developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, was named in his honour.
To honor the centennial of his birth in 1985, a park was established in his hometown of Kingsey Falls, named Parc Marie-Victorin. Originally 3 acres, it has expanded to nearly 30 acres, and volunteers and a small permanent staff. The park has been a leading in the province for horticultural development in the green movement.
In the early 1990s, a private high school in Montréal was opened and named for him. The school is still open but its name has changed in 2006.
- Genealogy of Quebec and French America "Conrad Kirouac"accessed 20 SEPTEMBER 2017.
- Wikitree "Joseph-Louis-Conrad Kirouac (1885-1944)"
- Le frère Marie-Victorin : l’âme du Jardin botanique, by Yves Gingras, in Quatre-Temps, vol. 30, June 2006; pp. 16-19
- Zephirin Paquet. Sa famille, sa Vie, son Oeuvre. Essai de Monographie Familiale, par frere Alcas; Quebec, Canada; 1927.
- http://www.canadianrosesociety.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=80&Itemid=55[permanent dead link] Marie-Victorin rose
- "About". Parc Marie-Victorin. Archived from the original on 2013-08-10.
- The Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame: The Hall, Canada Science and Technology Museum.
- IPNI. Vict.
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