Marie-Victorin Kirouac

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Bro. Marie-Victorin Kirouac, F.S.C.
Joseph-Louis-Conrad Kirouac

(1885-04-03)April 3, 1885
DiedJuly 15, 1944(1944-07-15) (aged 59)
Resting placeNotre Dame des Neiges Cemetery
Occupation(s)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.[1]

Although Brother Victorin is on record as having suggested that Montreal build its own botanical gardens as early as 1919,[2] the Garden was not authorized until 1929 when Montreal Mayor Camillien Houde approved it, 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 protecting it from being converted into a military flight school, even during the Second World War.

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 wrote the preface to an historical biography of another fifth cousin, Zephirin Paquet. Sa famille, sa Vie, son Oeuvre. Essai de Monographie Familiale, par frère Alcas.[3]

Brother Victorin died in Montreal in a car accident in July 1944, and he was entombed at the Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery in Montreal.[4] 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.[5]

To honour 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, with volunteers and a small permanent staff. The park has been a leader in the province for horticultural development in the green movement.[6]

In the early 1990s, a private high school in Montréal was opened and named for him. The school is still open but its name was changed in 2006.[citation needed]

Brother Victorin has been inducted as a member of the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame[7]

He is fictionalized as a central character in André Forcier's 2019 film Forgotten Flowers (Les fleurs oubliées), in which he is portrayed by Yves Jacques.[8] He is also portrayed by Alexandre Goyette in Lyne Charlebois's 2023 film Tell Me Why These Things Are So Beautiful (Dis-moi pourquoi ces choses sont si belles).[9]



  1. ^ Genealogy of Quebec and French America "Conrad Kirouac"accessed 20 SEPTEMBER 2017.
  2. ^ Le frère Marie-Victorin : l’âme du Jardin botanique, by Yves Gingras, in Quatre-Temps, vol. 30, June 2006; pp. 16-19
  3. ^ Zephirin Paquet. Sa famille, sa Vie, son Oeuvre. Essai de Monographie Familiale, par frere Alcas; Quebec, Canada; 1927.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Répertoire des personnages inhumés au cimetière ayant marqué l'histoire de notre société (in French). Montreal: Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery.
  5. ^ [1] Marie-Victorin rose
  6. ^ "About". Parc Marie-Victorin. Archived from the original on 2013-08-10.
  7. ^ The Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame: The Hall Archived 2014-11-09 at the Wayback Machine, Canada Science and Technology Museum.
  8. ^ Alex Rose, "Roy Dupuis pukes actual rainbows in André Forcier’s Les fleurs oubliées". Cult MTL, October 25, 2019.
  9. ^ Émilie Côté, "Les leçons d’un grand amour". La Presse, January 13, 2023.
  10. ^ International Plant Names Index.  Vict.

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