Durieu, also known as Hatzic Prairie, is a farming village west of Mission in the Fraser Valley. This place is valued as a community with strong ties to the historic St. Mary’s Mission and residential school established in the late 1800s by the Oblate Fathers.
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate came to Canada from France in 1841 to promote Christianity to Indigenous people and new settlers. While many of their contributions were celebrated in the past, they have more recently issued apologies for their role in the residential school system and for the part they played in the “cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious imperialism” towards Indigenous people.
As part of an effort to attract French Catholics from Quebec, the Oblate Fathers allowed new arrivals to stay at the mission until homes could be built, and supplied lumber from the mission’s sawmill for this purpose.
As the community grew, it established a post office in 1889 on Durieu Road. Early postmasters included Amable Legacé, whose wife Philomène chose the name Hatzic Prairie Post Office. In 1910 the Hatzic Prairie post office was renamed Durieu after Bishop Paul Pierre Durieu.