Narcisse the Play


On July 19, 2011, the history of St. Joseph was brought to life through Narcisse – a play about St. Joseph. Through this epic outdoor community play project, the community honoured its past and celebrated its ancestors.

Narcisse the Play tells the story of arguably one of Huron County’s most colourful residents – Narcisse Cantin – best known for his audacious plan to create a mammoth canal cutting across Southwestern Ontario, connecting Lake Huron to Lake Erie from St. Joseph to Port Stanley. Cantin turned St. Joseph into an early 20th Century boomtown on speculation of the canal’s construction. This charismatic promoter forged friendships with prominent people including American steel magnate Charles Schwab and Brother André, founding cleric of St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montréal and canonized in 2010.

There were ten performances – July 19-23 & 26-30, 2011 with performance Times: Tuesday-Friday 6p.m. and Saturdays (after Mass) 6:30p.m

The play was winner of the 2011 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming – Nov 29, 2011

With a cast of 55 Huron County residents, locals in St. Joseph, Ontario are starring in their own true heritage tale of one of the most colourful residents of their rural French-Canadian settlement.

‘Narcisse’ by Paul Ciufo, is a play about Narcisse Cantin (1870-1940) who is best known for his audacious plan to create a canal linking Lake Huron to Lake Erie. Cantin turned St. Joseph into an early 20th century boomtown on the speculation of the canal’s construction. Along the way, Cantin won the support of prime ministers, giants of industry, local folk and even the recently canonized Brother André.

The St. Joseph and Area Historical Society spearheaded this pioneering play. Local folks assumed the lead roles, stitched the costumes and built the props. For fostering community pride and enhancing civic memory, the St. Joseph and Area Historical Society is recipient of the newly created Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming. For more information: Canada’s History Website

YouTube scenes from the play:

Narcisse tells investors about his plans  |  A Discussion in Canadian Parliament

Link to our Archive of photos, links, sponsors and other memorabilia.