HomeMadame Bolduc on tour… First stop Sudbury!

Madame Bolduc on tour… First stop Sudbury!

25 July 2022
Immerse yourself in the hectic and colourful life of Mary Travers, also known as La Bolduc, by visiting an exhibition that brings together archival documents, costumes, instruments, and personal letters that will help you discover or rediscover this great artist who has become emblematic of French Canada.

The Centre franco-ontarien de folklore, in collaboration with Collège Boréal, are presenting the Madame Bolduc on tour exhibition for the very first time outside the walls of the Musée de la Gaspésie. From July 19 to mid-November, the Alphonse-Desjardins Resource Centre (library) at Collège Boréal in Sudbury will host this bilingual exhibition produced by the Musée de la Gaspésie, which highlights the unique journey of the “Canadian Queen of Folk Singing”. The exhibition is an retraces different stages of her life that culminated in the creation of her Troupe du bon vieux temps, with whom she traveled the roads of Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick in the 1930s.

From Gaspésie to the stage

Originally from Gaspé and a proud ambassador of her native region, Madame Bolduc’s notoriety extended throughout the province of Quebec and several French-speaking regions of Canada, and even the United States. Although gifted with musical talent, there were no early signs that Madame Bolduc would become one of the most popular singers of the 1930s. Through her comical songs with evocative lyrics combined with a contagious enthusiasm, she set herself apart from the norm and enjoyed sincere appreciation on the part of audiences she met while touring the Canadian Francophonie and the Northeastern United States.

A collection never presented elsewhere

The exhibition showcases archival documents and artifacts from these tours, including her stage costumes and jewelry, musical instruments, and letters she wrote to her children when she was away. Particular attention was also paid to selecting objects related to the places where the exhibition will be presented, such as posters of shows that Madame Bolduc did in these cities and towns. The exhibition, which is free, can be visited Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Collège Boréal’s Alphonse-Desjardins Resource Centre, located at 21 Lasalle Boulevard in Sudbury.

We wanted the exhibition to be presented in places where Madame Bolduc and her troupe performed, so we have selected a route that starts in Northern Ontario and ends in New Brunswick, passing through Quebec. Madame Bolduc's impact on the Canadian Francophonie has been significant, and we thought it was important to promote her legacy across the country.
When I was approached by the Musée de la Gaspésie to help them coordinate the presentation of an exhibition about La Bolduc in our part of the country, I immediately replied that we were interested. La Bolduc was an inspiration not only to Quebecers, but also to Francophones outside Quebec, bringing them comfort during economic times. But she is also an example of determination for women and artists, despite having had a very short career. In addition, since the exhibition is completely bilingual (except for excerpts from songs), anyone, whether French or English, can enjoy this exhibition. 
Collège Boréal is proud to host this exhibition that is being seen for the first time outside Quebec. I was raised listening to La Bolduc, thanks to my mother who had a great appreciation for her and her music. A strong, entrepreneurial and bilingual woman, Madame Bolduc has been a role model for her generation and for those who have followed and will follow.
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