“Hé Ho, let’s go to festival”, Darlene said. Pronounced “Hay Ho” not “Hee Ho”, is just one of the many things a first time visitor to Festival du Voyageur has to learn when navigating the cultural mores that make St. Boniface’s annual winter festival so unique.
That’s right Anglophones leave your English-speaking ways at the gate of Fort Gibraltar, this is a Francophone festivity. Based loosely on the mid-winter celebrations of the voyageur, this boisterous party celebrates French-Canadian culture and embraces the close bonds of community that only a harsh Canadian winter can bring.
Having won highly coveted tickets to see an invitation only concert by country music recording artist Shane Yellowbird, we were all set for a night out. As we left home the temperature was hovering at a balmy -18c but a strong wind decided to play havoc with our plans ensuring that any hardcore partying would have to be done in the relative comfort of one of the event tents set up around Whittier Park.
Having descended back into a deep freeze over the past couple of weeks seemed appropriate for Festival. Ensuring that all the outdoor events went off without a hitch. It seems counter intuitive actually wanting frigid temperatures but since so many of the outdoor events are dependant on cold weather not a single soul seemed to mind bundling up before heading out to the park.
Bar de Neige (Snow Bar)
Posted in Winnipeg and Hometown Goings On, Winnipeg Events, Winnipeg Food Scene, Winnipeg Music Scene
Tagged Winnipeg, St Boniface, Festival Du Voyageur, Fort Gibraltar, Whittier Park, Fur Trade, Food, QX104, QX Nation, Tourtière, Friendship Force, Maple taffy, Neige, Sugar house, Winnipegger, Hé Ho, Cabane à Sucre, Magnificent 7's, Keith and Renée, Good Year Song, Shane Yellowbird, Snow Sculptures, Tire D'érable sur Neige, French-Canadian Culture, Pickup Truck Song, AT&T, Manitoba Homecoming 2010, Fort Garry Brewery, Caribou Wine, Snow Bar, Bar de Neige, Francophone, Maple syrup
Just when I thought this world couldn’t get any stranger. In a bizarre case of the grass must be greener over there, Winnipeg is welcoming visitors from Australia and southern United States who want to experience cold.
Val Keenan and Jean Hyrich will welcome visitors to Winnipeg. (Photo - Matt Preprost: Winnipeg Free Press)
Yes, that’s right cold. Bone chilling lock yourself in the bedroom and crank up the furnace and hide cold. The six-day winter exchange is all part of worldwide cultural exchange movement called Friendship Force. Founded in 1977 by US President Jimmy Carter, Friendship Force joins people around the world in an opportunity to explore different cultures and experience the world in a way travellers seldom get to experience. By billeting, the travellers get the opportunity to stay in a home hosted by a native of the area. Thus getting an authentic taste of daily life that staying in a hotel just cannot deliver.
Australian Pam Ferguson with host Jean Hyrich. (Photo - Phil Hossack: Winnipeg Free Press)
Posted in Winnipeg and Hometown Goings On, Winnipeg Events
Tagged Winnipeg, Winnipeg Free Press, Festival Du Voyageur, Canada, Manitoba, Curling, Trans-Canada Highway, United States, Winter, Frostbite, Blizzard, Tourtière, Australia, Festival, Friendship Force, Jimmy Carter, Exchange Programs, Cultural Exchange, Hockey, Windchill, Northwestern Ontario, Winterpeg, Manisnowba
Winter in Winnipeg can be simply brutal even for the heartiest of folk. If you hail from a warmer climate just imagine days where the sun doesn’t rise until 8 am and sets before 4 pm in the depths of the season. Imagine at least 4 solid months where the mercury never rises above freezing and on most days it’s hovering somewhere around -10 to -15 Celsius. Imagine for a moment if you will of living in the city that often holds the title of coldest city on the planet.
The beginnings of a snow sculpture.
Is it any wonder why then in the middle of this madness we affectionately call winter that we hardy fools bundle up and head out into the winter darkness to enjoy Festival du Voyager. A predominantly french cultural affair that celebrates the men and women who opened up this part of the country during the fur trade of the 17 and 1800′s.
Carved from snow, a giant bird guards her egg.
Tourtière for supper! Two Voyageurs enjoy a hearty meal.
Posted in Uncategorized, Winnipeg and Hometown Goings On, Winnipeg Events, Winnipeg Food Scene, Winnipeg Music Scene
Tagged Beard Growing Contest, Canada, Coldest City on Earth, Festival Du Voyageur, Fort Gibraltar, Fur Trade, Joie de Vivre, Métis people (Canada), Metis Fiddle, Metis People, Music, Saint Boniface, Sierra Noble, Snow Sculpture, Tourtière, Winnipeg