Costumed interpreters help visitors explore French-Canadian history at the Fort Langley National Historic Site during Vive les Voyageurs. (Fort Langley NHS)

Learn about life as a voyageur at Langley historic site

The ninth annual Vive les Voyageurs French-Canadian Festival is Jan. 20 and 21.

A good time translates into any language and the annual Vive les Voyageurs French-Canadian Festival is just such a good time.

The ninth annual French winter festival is Saturday and Sunday at the Fort Langley National Historic Site.

The festival lets people explore the French history of the fort and region, but the event isn’t just for those who understand the French language.

“Although many voyageurs spoke French in the past, today’s interpreters offer programming in both English and French,” explained Mae Whyte, the fort’s assistant promotions officer. “Vive les Voyageurs is a great opportunity to learn or improve on your French vocabulary. We invite people of all ages, backgrounds, and languages to engage with our site and the special activities we have planned for Vive les Voyageurs French-Canadian Festival.”

Enjoy interactive cultural experiences from learning Métis dances to sampling maple taffy, and celebrate the importance of trappers, interpreters – and yes, voyageurs – who helped shape the history of this site and of Canada.

Children of all ages will enjoy dancing to interactive Métis dance presentations and French-Canadian music performances. They will also have the opportunity to make crafts. The fort’s historical presentations will be ongoing throughout the day.

A highlight on the festival Jan. 20 andd 21 is always the maple taffy making.

Many voyageurs of old developed legendary reputations for their work transporting furs by canoe across the wild reaches of the country. They helped negotiate trade with First Nations, and navigated great rivers, carrying bundles of fur over portages.

Parks Canada has been hosting this festival since 2010 and have seen it grow into a winter favourite for many families, Whyte added.

During 2018, admission for those 17 and under is free. Adult admission is $7.80 and free for annual passholders.

The fort is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• LEARN more about the historic fort

The federal government made admission to national parks and national historic sites free during 2017 to mark Canada 150. It had the desired effect –many more people visited.

At Fort Langley along, the 2017 attendance figures were more than 100,000 people higher than those from 2016.

Activities at the festival are free unless otherwise specified.

SCHEDULE

10:30 a.m. Voyageur program

11 a.m. Métis dancer

12 p.m. Spoons and jigging

12:30 p.m. Music

1 p.m. Métis dancer

1:15 p.m. Voyageur program

1:30 p.m. Spoons and jigging

2 p.m. Trapping

2:30 p.m. Music

3 p.m. Spoons & jigging

3:30 p.m. Gameshow

4 p.m. Voyageur program

All-day activities (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

• Cooperage demonstrations

• Blacksmith demonstrations

• Maple taffy (cost)

• Food trucks (cost)

• Top hat construction

• Airbrush tattoos

• Bake oven

• Weaving

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