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One of Canada’s top events, the Festival du Voyageur is kicking off in Winnipeg. The 10 day event is Western Canada’s largest winter festival. Ity takes place in the French Quarter, Saint-Boniface,  celebrating Canada’s fur-trading past and unique Frenchheritage and culture through entertainment, arts and crafts, music, exhibits, and displays.

Festival du Voyageur has been a staple of Franco-Manitoban culture for almost 50 years.

The first Festival du/of the Voyageur took place February 26 to March 1, 1970, at Provencher Park, with an estimated attendance of 50,000 people.  Georges Forest, who founded the event,  was in charge of promoting the event and did so by wearing clothing that represented the Voyageurs. This initiated the tradition of “Official Voyageurs,” which continues to this day.

Snow and ice sculpting, traditional arts and trades and crafts demonstrations, snowshoe workshops and tours will run throughout the ten day festival.

A new event this year is an outdoor portrait exhibit celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the women’s suffragist movement in Manitoba, being done with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The Université de Saint-Boniface Portage tent is another new addition to Festival this year. It used to be the Souvenir Tent, but was not being used to its full potential.

At night, the Université de Saint-Boniface Portage tent is featuring events to appeal to a wider range of people, like karaoke and a singles night on Valentine’s Day.

While Festival is a staple of Franco-Manitoban culture, it’s by no means exclusive to just the francophone community.

“It’s about finding that balance,” said Desaulniers.

“The focus is francophone culture of course, but we’re trying to be as inclusive as we can with our programming, and we want everyone to be a part of it.”

Festival du Voyageur runs Feb. 12 to 21. Further information on schedules, prices, events and activities, and exhibits can be found at www.festivalvoyageur.mb.ca

Source Credits: Global News, The Manitoban, Wikipedia

 

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