Our History

Ovide & Louise-Anna Côté

Married January 11, 1923

Ovide Côté
Born April 8, 1899: Deceased July 22, 1964

Louise-Anna Bisson
Born Jan. 15, 1904: Deceased April 15, 1987

A brief history of Ovide & Louise and their family

Ovide Côté and Louise-Anna Bisson met in the town of Labroquerie Manitoba where Louise was raised and Ovide’s family owned the Labroquerie Hotel. After a short courtship, it didn’t take very long for the young couple to decide to marry. Ovide and Louise did not want a big wedding and were married at 6:30 a.m. in the Labroquerie Catholic Church. They had a wedding breakfast at home and took the train at 7:40 a.m to go for their honeymoon in Winnipeg.

Seeing there was not much to do in the city, Ovide spent most of his time playing pool while his beautiful wife patiently watched and waited. Ovide wasn’t a gambler, but was somewhat of a pool shark and managed to win $200. What a great wedding present!

Ovide worked in the logging business and they eventually rented a home in Labroquerie. On August 24th, 1924, they were blessed with the birth of the first son, Joseph, who was born at home with the help of a mid-wife. Sadly, Joseph passed away in 1926 at the age of 19 months. Three more children, Lucien, Lucie and Leona, were all born at home. Leona was the last child born at home as there were complications. From then until August 1946, Louise gave birth to 17 more children, born at either St. Boniface Hospital or Steinbach Hospital.

With all the blessings of children, there is also sadness and loss as well. Along with Joseph, their 7th child Raymond died at childbirth, their 12th child Raoul died when he was less than 2 months old, and their 20th child Réne died at only 3 weeks old.

Ovide and Louise moved the family to Vassar, Manitoba in 1942 which will forever be considered the home town for the family.

In 1963, Ovide became ill with cancer and Louise stayed by his side to take care of him. He died peacefully on July 22, 1964 with Louise and his children by his side.

In 1968, a tragic car accident took the lives of their sons Émilien and Louis, and their grandson Wayne (son of Florence and Richard Cayer).

Louise continued to live in Vassar until 1982 until she became ill and moved to Villa Youville in Ste. Anne where she could be closer to medical care and senior assistance services. Louise passed away on April 15, 1987 at the age of 83.

I had more than once had asked my parents “If you had to do your life all over again, would you still have 21 children, make all the sacrifices you did for us and work so hard to clothe and feed us?” and both of them answered the same: “Of course, I wouldn’t want it any other way and besides, which one of you would I give up?”

– Doris Hovorka (14th child of Ovide & Louise)

100 Years – The Cote Family Reunion

This incredibly large family continues to grow and now spans six generations in some of the older family branches. Since 1980, the family has strived to organize family reunions every four years in their home town of Vassar. Though they haven’t always happened as planned, there are many dedicated family members who work hard to make it happen and keep the tradition alive.

In 2016 (the last family reunion due to COVID in 2020), there were almost 500 people who came to the event over the August long weekend.

This year marks a special milestone, as January 11, 2023 was the 100th anniversary of Ovide and Louise getting married. We are looking forward to seeing everyone gathered together to celebrate and take pride in our roots and in our family.

The Children of Ovide and Louise-Anna

Louise and Ovide had 21 children from 1924 to 1946. There were 13 boys and 8 girls.

  1.   Joseph: Born Aug, 13, 1924 (Deceased in 1926)
  2.   Lucien: Born July 6, 1925 (Deceased in 2012)
  3.   Lucie: Born July 18, 1926 (Deceased in 2020)
  4.   Léona: Born August 13, 1927 (Deceased in 2022)
  5.   Florence: Born December 9, 1928 (Deceased in 2005)
  6.   Thérèse: Born March 9, 1930 (Deceased in 2010)
  7.   Raymond: Born in 1931 (Deceased in 1931)
  8.   James: Born May 3, 1932 (Deceased in 2020)
  9.   Aimé: Born August 30, 1933 (Deceased in 2022)
  10.     Denis: Born January 25, 1935
  11.     Alice: Born August 2, 1936
  12.     Raoul: Born in 1937 (Deceased in 1937)
  13.     Rita: Born July 10, 1938 (Deceased in 2021)
  14.     Doris Born July 2, 1939
  15.     Ovide: Born July 20, 1940
  16.     Anita: Born November 29, 1941
  17.     Robert: Born November 26, 1942
  18.     Émilien: Born April 29, 1944 (Deceased in 1968)
  19.     Émile: Born April 29, 1944
  20.     René: Born in 1945 (Deceased in 1945)
  21.     Louis: Born August 26, 1946 (Deceased in 1968)

Story Credit

The information above was adapted from a family history book created by Doris Hovorka. The story she wrote spanned several pages in her book with photos and family history and insights. There was much more detail in this story than we could include here – as a family of this size has many stories to tell!

We appreciate the time and energy she put into that story and thank her for allowing us to use the information here.