Festival du Voyageur

The largest winter festival in Western Canada is celebrating its fiftieth year.

Written by Kaitlin Vitt

January 21, 2019

The largest winter festival in Western Canada is celebrating its fiftieth year. Festival du Voyageur takes place in Saint Boniface, Winnipeg’s French quarter, and promotes French-Canadian culture.

Georges and Anita Forest were the festival’s first “official voyageurs,” dressing in historical clothing everywhere they went to promote the event. The giant winter party celebrates voyageur, Métis, and Indigenous histories and features traditional food, live music in outdoor tents, and snow sculptures by international artists.

700

Litres of maple syrup used each year at the festival for maple taffy, a sweet treat made by pouring hot syrup on snow, placing a popsicle stick at one end, and then rolling up the syrup as it cools.

1972

The year Léo La Tuque — a human-sized hat wearing boots and a ceinture fléchée (arrow sash) — became the official mascot.

15.24

Height in metres of a 1988 snowman — the tallest snow sculpture made for the festival.

1,100

Number of volunteers who help to run the festival.

93,400

Number of festival visitors in 2018. More than seventy-five thousand people attended the first festival in 1970.

This “By The Numbers” originally appeared in the February-March 2019 issue of Canada’s History.

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