Chilly temperatures and falling snow drive many Canadians inside, but in Winnipeg these conditions are a sign to party. This joie de vivre is behind Festival du Voyageur, Winnipeg's winter celebration of our French and Métis heritage. The 10-day fête runs every February and is the largest winter festival in Western Canada.
Fort Gibraltar, a circa 1815 replica fur trading fort on the banks of the Red River, is home base for this winter blast. Hale and hearty festival goers dress the part by donning voyageur sashes and red toques. Ornate snow sculptures, live music acts and historical re-enactment are mainstay attractions that keep families returning for generations. Jigging and fiddling contests, cooking competitions and a beard-growing battle make this indoor/outdoor party a must-see. Don't forget to indulge in stick-to-your-ribs heritage dishes like bison tourtière, maple sugar pie and pemmican poutine. They'll warm you from the inside out.
The 46-year-old festival is affirmation of the province's strong ties to its fur trading past. It's also one heck of a way to shake off winter.
Facebook: Festival du Voyageur