The history of Brunet Monuments as told by Charles Brunet, President, 3rd generation.
Joseph Olivier Brunet was a young man of 16 years when he found himself the only bread winner of four siblings, his father and his mother having passed away within two years of each other. Having learned the craft of masonry from his father and other family members of Monuments Brunet – Côtes des Neiges in Montreal, Joseph was thereby able to support the family. He insisted his brother and three sisters finish their education, though, having taken upon himself all financial responsibilities.
After several years, with work becoming scarce in Québec, Joseph came west to Manitoba in order to find employment. He found himself in Saint-Boniface at the turn of the century, where the stone mason landed contracts to build churches throughout the province. He also built the beautiful and stately Collège Universitaire de Saint-Boniface where his name is engraved in the cornerstone. Between building projects Joseph carved and sold memorials to stabilize and supplement his income.
He eventually wrote to his brother Godias, by then a young educator, suggesting that he join him in this Promised Land. And that he did. Both Godias and Joseph found their future wives in the west and settled here to raise their families
Joseph’s brother Godias had nine children. Among them was Pierre, who as a young child was fascinated with “Uncle Joe’s” monument shop. Pierre began working after school and on Saturdays. Thus began his apprenticeship as a hand letterer and carver. Many years went by at J. O. Brunet Monuments. In 1950, Uncle Joseph passed away from a heart attack. Pierre asked his widowed aunt if he could purchase the business – now over 45 years old – from her. In 1951 after a trial year, Pierre purchased what became simply ‘Brunet Monuments’.
Pierre had six children, one of them being Charles. He in turn was fascinated and awestruck by the beautiful stonework at his father’s shop. At the age of 13, he began working at his father’s shop after school, on Saturdays and during the summer holidays. By the time he was 16, Charles was employed full time in the capacity of setter/carver. Pierre, an accomplished artist, instilled a sense of pride in his son: “If you do work that you are proud of, all else will fall into place.” In 1990, after another 40 years of successful operations by Pierre, Charles purchased the shop from his dad. Over the last 15 years Charles has continued his father’s philosophy of only producing memorials that he would be proud enough to carve for his own mother.
Charles in turn had four children. One of them would relish those days when his dad would pull him out of school to help on those big jobs. Since 2007, Benoît has become an excellent carver like his forefathers. Honesty and excellent workmanship are among the important values that Benoît has learned from his early years at the shop. Thus, the 4th generation of Brunet Monuments continues to perpetuate the memories of our loved ones.