Nestled in the picturesque Cypress Hills, the village of Bruxelles offers that “small town” environment that today’s harried individuals seek. Bruxelles, located just 5 km off the #34 Highway on PTH #245 just of the second highest point in Manitoba, Bogaert’s Hill, was founded in 1879 when settler Narcisse Gaucher arrived in what was then referred to as the St. Alphonse North area. Most of the early immigrants were Walloons from Halanzy, Belgium with Flemish from other parts of Belgium arriving soon after. When the village asked to have a priest of their own, Fr. Willems from Belgium arrived in 1889 and Archbishop Tache and Fr. Campeau established the Bruxelles boundaries and it was officially name the parish of Bruxelles in 1892.
The Ursaline Sisters from Tildonk, Belgium arrived in 1914 and were instrumental in establishing a convent school which continued the operation of Ste. Marie School established in 1889. When a new school was required in 2000, the community came together and raised the funds themselves to construct a new building so their children could continue to receive their K-8 education in their hometown.
Within the village itself, the community works strongly together to provide many forms of recreational activities for its residents. An enclosed skating rink, large sports field for soccer and baseball, children’s playground, canteen, ski trails and a developing park area, from the recently reclaimed convent grounds, offer many opportunities for active living.
A senior’s hall is well used for “Bien” tournaments and meetings, and the Community Hall is available for weddings, banquets, family gatherings, and school concerts. The newly opened Carelsfield Inn, the renovated parish rectory, offers out-of-towners a quiet country retreat to unwind and enjoy the nearby ski hills, cross-country trails, snowmobile trails and boating opportunities. Lake Seven in open to campers and swimmers during the summer with frequent outdoor bands entertaining on the weekends. The Trans-Canada Trail encircles the village and nearby Lake Seven.
Bruxelles has a long history of musical talent, including the Bruxelles Brass Band founded in 1899 which continued for over 75 years and was featured on Wayne Ronstad’s “On the Road Again” television program a few years ago. Piano, violin, and guitar lessons are offered locally.
The main agricultural activities are dairy farming, grains and oil seed farming, PMU farms and beef cattle. A local grocery store offers groceries, hardware, gasoline purchases and Post Office services while the Westoba Credit Union is here to handle your financial needs. St. Gerard Parish Church, rebuilt in 1918, offers weekly masses and the Ladies Auxiliary hosts the annual Fall Supper. A recycling center, maintained by the local 4H Club is also situated in town.