A couple of weeks have passed since Dr. R's French students had the opportunity to attend Festival du Voyageur and spend the day learning about Metis and Voyageur history and culture. We asked Ariana N and Simone M to reflect on their day at the Festival!
Festival du Voyageur is best described as an annual winter festival that spans 10-days (and two weekends) and takes place in Winnipeg's French Quarter, Saint-Boniface. FDV proudly boasts that it's the largest winter festival in all of Western Canada.
From Ariana N:
The SBDHS French classes went on an exciting trip to Festival de Voyager. I was a part of the French 20F class (grade 10 class) that had a day of fun-filled activities. Our day started with a loud “HÉ HO” (hey-ho!) greeting! Throughout the day you’d yell “HÉ HO “ as a way of saying “hi” to the voyagers. We then journeyed to the maple forest where we learned that it takes 80 litres of maple from a tree to make maple taffy. After that, we got to try the sugary sweet, yet delicious, maple syrup. We then saw an exceptional hoop dancer who had been dancing with 10 hoops all at once. She even showed us how to make a snake. It was challenging, but she walked us through the process.
After lunch, we participated in swing your partner and beaver ball! Swing your partner combines traditional folk dancing, and music, all in a warm rustic cottage. We learned how to dance to simple dances involving a partner. Then we finished the day with beaver ball, which was my favourite activity. It was a game of outdoor dodgeball that had two beaver fur-coated balls being thrown at each other. The weather was so warm that we were taking off our jackets!
Overall, the day was a great day! We shared laughs together, and spoke un petite French! C’était une belle journée! HÉ HO!
From Simone M:
Wow! Festival du Voyageur was a blast and this year was probably the most fun out of the 4 years that I have gone. We started off our day learning about maple syrup and how maple water is obtained from the trees. We saw all of the gadgets that they use to make maple syrup and discovered that it requires a lot of maple water to produce just a small amount of maple syrup. After the presentation, we indulged in some maple taffy that was made right off of fresh snow. It was the perfect thing to have at 9 o’clock in the morning!
The horses took us to an area where we learned about the navigation devices that the voyageurs would have actually used during their time. Even though many stomachs were full to the brim with Beaver Tails ™ and poutine, we learned how to do some traditional dances and a partnered circle dance that we performed at the end of our session. It was entertaining to dance as a whole group and putting it together at the end. Right before we left, we took a quick tour of Fort Gibraltar. Inside the fort, we learned about what the voyageurs ate, what they traded, what they made, what their living conditions were like, and even what the blacksmiths made. It was fascinating to see how simple life was then compared to now. At the end of the day, many people started to close their eyes on the bus because we were exhausted from the fun-filled day that we had just endured!