Winnipeg is home to the largest French-speaking community west of the Great Lakes. Just across the river from downtown Winnipeg, you’ll find Saint-Boniface, the francophone capital of Western Canada. In fact, the original diocese of Saint-Boniface went from present-day Winnipeg to the Rocky Mountains. Today, is the historic hub of French and Métis history, an area the language, folklore, traditions and history of the first French-Canadian settlers live on. Spend the day discovering the joie de vivre (love of life) of this historic and dynamic community, just minutes from downtown Winnipeg.
New in 2018, you can start your tour at the Information Center to view a 40-minute documentary At the Heart of Manitoba’s Francophone Community, a 40-minute film that tells of 200 years of history and covers the struggles and perseverance of a people destined to disappear in the history books but that has survived and strived. Then visit to the St. Boniface Cathedral, the former head of Catholic churches in western Canada and one of Manitoba’s most photographed sites. Learn the story of how the cathedral came to be, and enter the ruins to see how the old has been integrated with the new. There is event a theatre production in its cemetery which brings its history characters to life. Afterwards, walk over to the St. Boniface Museum, which is not only the former Grey Nuns’ convent, but the oldest remaining structure in Winnipeg and the largest oak log structure in North America.
A visit to the French Quarter would not be complete without a traditional French-Canadian lunch at one of its great restaurants. Or visit some of the boutiques and shops on its main avenue.
Finally, go back in time at Fort Gibraltar, a full-scale trading post where costumed interpreters recreate and share with you their lives in the fur trade in 1815. Try your hand at hatchet throwing, bake bannock around a camp fire and experience what life was like for the Voyageurs and first Francophone settlers who braved the Canadian wilderness – and won!
Lots of surprises and plenty of joie de vivre await you on this captivating tour!