Winnipeg’s biggest winter party kicks off tonight, signalling the start to 10 jam-packed days of celebrating francophone and Metis culture.
The 44th edition of Festival du Voyageur gets underway with the traditional torch light walk through the streets of St. Boniface as part of the opening celebration. Hundreds of candles and torch lights will wind their way from The Forks to Voyageur Park beginning at 6 p.m., arriving at Fort Gibraltar by 7:30 p.m.
Voyageur Park — the “hub” of the Festival — opens its gates at 5 p.m. today and will remain open until midnight. On Thursday, officials gave the media a preview of the preparations inside the park as snow sculptors from around the world put the finishing touches on their frozen creations. Sculptures in the International Snow Sculpting Symposium can also be seen around the city in various locations, including along Provencher Boulevard leading to Voyageur Park.
Opening weekend will bring no shortage of activities and entertainment, including performances by the Dust Rhinos, Alexander McCowan, JD Edwards Band, Enjoy your Pumas, The Lytics and others.
To pay homage to Manitoba’s founder, Louis Riel, a special day of events have been planned for Monday, February 18. The Louis Riel look-a-like contest returns for a second year, where a jury will determine which of the participants looks the most like “Riel.” Also on Monday, Club St-B will host the opening night of the Voyageur Games beginning at 7 p.m.
Daily admission is $15 for adults, $10 for youth and $8 for children 6-12. Ten-day Voyageur passes are $25 for adults, $15 for youth (13-17 years old) and $10 for children aged six to 12. Passes are available at all Safeway locations, by calling (204) 233-ALLÔ or online at HeHo.ca.
Festival du Voyageur runs through February 24.