FAFARD, THÉOGÈNE, physician, druggist, and professor of botany; b. in 1855 probably in Montreal, Canada East, son of Norbert Fafard and Appoline Claude; m. 28 Nov. 1882 Anna-Séphora Germain at St Boniface, Man., and they had one daughter who survived infancy; d. 4 Jan. 1890 at St Boniface.
Théogène Fafard’s family was well established in the Montreal area in the early 1870s. In 1872, after three years at the Collège de Montréal, Fafard began to study at the Montreal School of Medicine and Surgery, which was affiliated with Victoria College at Cobourg, Ont. His brother Abel, who was to follow him to Manitoba, was an undertaker, and another brother, Norbert, a physician, was with the Montreal firm of Fafard et Daoust, chemists and druggists. In 1876 Théogène graduated and for the next two years practised medicine in Montreal.
What brought the young physician to Manitoba in November 1878 is not known, but he arrived at a time when hundreds of French Canadian families were moving into the province. Within a week of his arrival Fafard had a patient at the hospital operated by the Sisters of Charity of the Hôpital Général of Montreal (Grey Nuns), and thus began an association with the Hôpital de Saint-Boniface that lasted until his death. The records of the hospital, founded in 1871 by the Grey Nuns as an extension of the charitable institutions established by the order after its arrival at Red River in 1844 [see Marie-Louise Valade*], show that Fafard cared for hundreds of patients during his 11 years as resident doctor. According to an 1887 report, he visited “the sick every day and gives his services at no charge.”
In the bustling climate of St Boniface in 1878–79, and as a member of a small Franco-Manitoban élite, Fafard soon involved himself in community affairs. He became a director of the Société de Colonisation de Manitoba, a member of the Roman Catholic section of the Board of Education of Manitoba, and the official physician for the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste. He failed in his only attempt to win election to the St Boniface municipal council in 1880, and was content to take charge of the enumeration for the St Boniface provincial constituency in 1881.
When it became apparent that Fafard could not distinguish himself in political life, he focused his energies on medicine, and during the 1880s he gained recognition as the foremost French Canadian doctor in the province. In 1880 he was appointed a coroner for the province of Manitoba, a position he held until his death. In 1882, in partnership with his brother Abel, now a contractor in St Boniface, he opened a pharmacy which he sold seven years later to Dr Joseph-Honoré-Octavien Lambert. When St Boniface was incorporated as a town in 1883, Fafard was chosen as its first medical officer over his rival, Dr Lambert.
Fafard was one of the incorporators of the privately operated Manitoba Medical College in April 1884 and he joined the faculty as professor of botany on 1 October for the second session. He occupied this position until his untimely death in January 1890.
PAM, MG 7, D8. Le Manitoba (Saint-Boniface, Man.), 1881–90. Le Métis (Saint-Boniface), 1878–81. Élisabeth de Moissac, “Le soin des malades à la Rivière-Rouge et le premier hôpital de Saint-Boniface,” Les Cloches de Saint-Boniface (Saint-Boniface), 70 (1971): 82–87, 140–48.