Trapping, jigging, and hot maple syrup over ice? Experience French Canadian culture and long-standing traditions at Fort Langley National Historic Site (FLNHS).
On Saturday and Sunday, Jan 25 and 26, the park will hold their 11th annual Vive les Voyageurs festival, which hopes to get guests tapping their feet French-Canadian beats, not to mention, tasting some sweet treats.
Celebrating French-Canadian and Métis fur trader culture of the 19th century, two days full of demonstrations such us trapping techniques, Métis jigging (dancing) workshops, live music, and tiny boat races will be available for visitors to try.
Nancy Hildebrand, promotions officer at FLNHS, said Fort Langley’s history has rich French Canadian ties.
“Many of the Hudson’s Bay Company workers—including those who came to work at Fort Langley—were French-Canadian. Many developed legendary reputations for their work transporting furs by canoe across the wild reaches of the country,” Hildebrand said. “They helped negotiate trade with Indigenous communities, and navigated great rivers carrying bundles of fur over portages.”
The weekend is expected to be filled with plenty of history, but also some more symbolic and fun activities for all ages to partake in as well.
“Our tiny boat races are new. Anyone can use recycled material like corks and yogurt cups to make something that floats and race them down a little river,” Hildebrand said. “It’s to tie in the importance of boat transportation history at the fort.”
lelәm’ at the Fort Café will also be serving poutine and tourtière, while a special trade shop window will be pouring hot syrup over shaved ice – turning the sweet substance into a gooey glob of taffy wrapped around a stick.
Pat Calihou will also be on site, carving his ongoing York boat project and answering questions about voyageur history.
Vive les Voyageurs Festival 2020 weekend schedule for Saturday and Sunday will be as follows;
10:30 a.m. Trapping Techniques – Gord McIntosh (Storehouse)
11 a.m. Spoons and Jigging – Maurice Guibord (Theatre)
11:30 a.m. Tiny Boat Races (Lower Fort Grounds)
12 p.m. Music – Vincent & Michael (Upper Big House)
12:30 p.m. Trapping Techniques – Gord McIntosh (Storehouse)
1 p.m. Spoons and Jigging – Maurice Guibord (Theatre)
1 p.m. Tiny Boat Races (Lower Fort Grounds)
2 p.m. Spoons and Jigging – Maurice Guibord (Theatre)
3 p.m. Music – Vincent & Michael (Upper Big House)
3 p.m. Tiny Boat Races (Lower Fort Grounds)
4 p.m. Trapping Techniques – Gord McIntosh (Storehouse)
Heritage interpretation with Louis Seguin, a special Métis presentation by Ken Pruden, live blacksmith demonstrations, and hands-on activities will also be happening throughout the weekend.
Regular admission fees do still apply.
‘It’s one of the most interesting events of the year,” Hildebrand said, even calling Vive les Voyageurs one of her own personal favourites. “The feeling of culture and music and food is all around.”
Fort Langley National Historic Site is located at 23422 Mavis Ave and open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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