A lot of Winnipeggers grow up going to Festival du Voyageur, but as somebody who has only been here for five months, I (Angela Peacock) got my first taste over the weekend.

My friend and I headed out after church on Sunday, and the first thing that struck me was what a beautiful day it was for taking in a winter festival. The smell of bonfires also caught my attention as we left the vehicle behind and walked toward the Fort.

I had a few missions going into the outing. First, was to learn more about the history of the festival itself, as well as the period of Manitoba's history that it celebrates. I can definitely cross that off the list. The whole afternoon was filled with going around and hearing about the woodworking, the fur trade, and the food.


Hearing about what happens at the trading post.


Reenacters explained how trappers could bring in their goods from the trapline and exchange not only for money but also trade for goods from the trading posts.

Some of the top furs included beaver, bison, fox, and wolf, among many others.

I'll admit, I'm kind of a city girl, and seeing some of the empty eye sockets from the skinned animals did weird me out a little! But feeling the furs you could also definitely understand why they were in such high demand hundreds of years ago. 


Trying the famous maple taffy

Speaking of food, there was no shortage of that. 

Everyone I talked to before going told me that I had to try the maple taffy. This leads me to my next mission: find and try this amazing taffy. 


I figured that it must be worth it because the line was quite long with dozens of people ahead of us waiting to get the sweet treat. We waited in line for about 10 minutes, and watched families pull their kids through mud where I'm sure snow usually is. 


After getting to the front of the line and rolling the popsicle stick in the syrup, I can tell you that it was pretty good. It was a lot sweeter than I expected, and it was also softer and even creamier than expected. I was thinking it would be like a maple lollipop, hard and not chewable. That was definitely not the case, as the sweet maple dripped down on my stick as I ate it and watched it pull away in a stringy goo, kind of like pulling melted cheese apart.

(And, yes, it may have gotten in my hair as it was blowing in the wind.) 

Music and entertainment

Even though it has been mild this winter (so I've been told over and over again by veteran Winterpeggers), we were getting a little bit cold, so we went to one of the tents to hear the music and warm up for a few minutes while we enjoyed our snacks. 

We didn't stay for too long, but there are a lot of options to take in both traditional music as well as tribute bands and local acts.

You can find more info on the entertainment options here.

Hay sculptures?! 


Since it has been an unusually warm winter compared to other years, there weren't any ice sculptures. To make up for it, they actually decided to use hay and branches. 

I've been told that the ice sculptures are quite creative and amazing to see in person, but it was also pretty amazing to see what artists could do with a pile of hay and twigs.

Final thoughts

Overall, I quite enjoyed my first time at the Festival du Voyageur. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon, and it sounds like the forecast will be similar throughout this week.

There are definitely a lot of great activities to take in, and best of all you do it while learning about our history.

I'm looking forward to going next year, especially if temperatures stick around the freezing mark rather than the usual -20. 

(Just a reminder: watch out for your hair and the taffy!)