St. Leon’s unique blend of entrepreneurial spirit, green energy and warm hospitality make it a destination of choice. Located in southwestern Manitoba, the local urban district of St. Leon is mainly French speaking. It also boasts the area’s largest co-operative: The St. Leon Co-op.

A sixth sense for business

Just down the road from Somerset, in the Rural Municipality of Lorne, St. Leon makes the most of its ideal location in the rolling hills and fertile lands of southwestern Manitoba. The town is bordered on the east by the Pembina Hills, on the north and west by the Tiger Hills, and on the south by the Pembina Valley.

The region is known for its oilseed and grain crops, and is home to pig, dairy and poultry farming operations as well as pregnant mare urine farms.

This innate business sense is not new. In 1942, the Coopérative Saint-Léon Ltée (St. Leon Co-op) was created, growing steadily and expanding its services to offer members fuel, building materials and even farm inputs.

Through the leadership of Raynald Labossière, who managed the co-operative for 46 years, and the support of its members, St. Leon Co-op began to serve the communities of St. Leon, Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Altamont, St. Claude, Manitou, Souris, Pilot Mound and Crystal City. The co-op offers a wide array of services and also sells ready-to-move (RTM) homes.  

Harvesting wind and hailing salamanders

St. Leon became the site of Manitoba’s first wind farm. The 99-megawatt (MW) energy project, created in the village, occupies 9,000 hectares (23,000 acres) of land on the Pembina Escarpment, which rises above the surrounding plains, exposing the turbines to the prevailing prairie winds. Together, the 63 turbines produce enough electricity to meet the needs of 35,000 homes, or a city the size of Brandon.

The Village of St. Leon is also famous for the annual salamander migration, when hundreds of the little critters scurry across Main Street during the hot, humid summer days at the end of August.