Hundreds Turn Out for First Full Day of Festival du Voyageur

Hundreds Turn Out for First Full Day of Festival du Voyageur

WINNIPEG — Saturday marked the first full day of Festival du Voyageur festivities in St. Boniface, as Voyageur Park hosted the hubbub of activity with hundreds of people walking through the gates.

With sunny skies and no wind, it was the perfect day to celebrate the rich culture and history of the Métis and French Canadians during the fur trade.

Watch highlights from Saturday:

Sculptors Jim Alexander and David MacNair stand next to their creation as part of the International Snow Sculpting Symposium near the main entrance of Festival du Voyageur on Saturday, February 18, 2012. (STAN MILOSEVIC / CHRISD.CA)

The festival wouldn’t be what it is without the volunteers, many of whom return year after year to lend their time in making the 10-day festival a success.

Sisters Nancy Gouliquer and Michelle Pringnitz have been volunteering for more than 20 years — a tradition they hope to pass down to younger generations with knowledge on the woven sash. The technique in creating the traditional voyageur dress piece is a challenging one, but one the youth who attend the festival are taught by patient and enthusiastic volunteers.

Flood lights add ambience to Voyageur Park's many snow sculptures. (TED GRANT / CHRISD.CA)

“Real handwoven sashes have a deep “V” in them,” Gouliquer said. “You can only get a deep V if it’s handwoven, machines can’t do that.”

Caroline Touchette, a youth volunteer at the souvenir tent, has been volunteering her time since a young age and returns every year. Her two friends work as interpreters dressing up from the time of traditional voyageurs.

“It’s an excellent way to learn about an important part of our heritage and culture,” Touchette said.

The culture continues until February 26. Visit for a complete list of activities to experience the joie de vivre.

View the photo gallery below from Saturday:

— With files from’s Vincent Lee / video/Stan Milosevic