Grade 7/8 French Immersion class enjoys another successful trip to Winnipeg for the Festival du Voyageur
While most people spent Louis Riel Day enjoying time with their families, 10 students from the grade 7 & 8 French Immersion class hopped into Division Vans with Mr. McDonald and Mme Chmelowski and headed to Winnipeg for an action-packed few days.
We left around noon, and got to Winnipeg just in time to check into our hotel and get our outdoor duds on so we could walk over to the Forks for supper at the Old Spaghetti Factory and then a chance to tour the much-talked-about Ice Castles. It seemed ironic that while we had very little water in Swan River a short while ago, they had SO MUCH WATER in Winnipeg that they were able to create this incredible castle built of icicles!! For anyone that is going to Winnipeg in the next little while, we highly recommend a tour of the ice castle…it was definitely super cool!
Tuesday morning had us up bright and early and heading to the Festival site in St. Boniface for a few workshops. We enjoyed some traditional French-Canadian music (spoons, fiddle and singing), learned about fur-trade in the 1870’s, and got to meet some (people in character) woodworkers & steelworkers that toured us around their workshops to tell us about the things they would make in that era.
After impressing the local volunteers with our knowledge of Manitoba history, we headed out to The Real Escape where we were trapped in ‘The Castle’ and had to really work together to try to escape in less than 60 minutes. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in our attempt, but we all agreed that given another 10 minutes or so, we would have likely made it out alive. Considering that the overall success rate of that room is 28%, we felt we did quite well! Plus, we had a ton of fun and will DEFINITELY be looking to try another room next time!
This would typically be enough to consider the day a full one, but we still had energy to burn, so off to Polo Park we went so everyone could eat as they pleased, and enjoy a little ‘retail therapy’. As usual…the boys out-shopped the girls. J There was now a score to settle…so off to U-Puttz we went, where we could settle things on the laser-tag course, and a little bumper-car action to boot. Finally, when everyone agreed that the boys & girls were even, we headed back to the hotel for some well-earned sleep.
Wednesday had us up and running almost as much as Tuesday. First thing in the morning, we headed to the Cercle Molière to enjoy our front-row seats for a play called ‘The Wild West Show’…all about Gabriel Dumont, Louis Riel and the history of how the Europeans, the Métis and the Indigenous peoples forged their way (or tried to protect it) through the origins of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The play was a great mix of drama and humour, and there’s no doubt we all came away from it with a new appreciation for the history of our province.
After the play, we headed back to the Festival du Voyageur where we got to sit in a Tipi to learn more about how the settlers and visitors of the Red River Valley traded goods and created treaties. Our group was separated into 2, and we were given a few minutes to look at the things we had, see what the other group could offer us, and use our best negotiation skills to obtain what we needed the most. It turns out that our repeated efforts to convince Mme Chmelowski to give us free time in class are not in vain…we have become fierce negotiators, and the volunteers were suitably impressed at the amount of thought put into the process and the group’s fluency and ability to effectively barter back & forth.
Once all parties had agreed on a fair trade, they shook hands and left the volunteers to write up the treaty while we studied the original Selkirk Treaty from 1817.
From there, we had a few minutes to enjoy the BEST part of Festival…maple syrup on a stick. Mmmmmmmm! And as if that wasn’t quite sweet enough, we headed down the road for a tour of St.Boniface’s version of Laura Secord: Constance Popp Chocolaterie. We learned a lot about chocolate, where it comes from, how it’s processed, and the best part…how it tastes!! Our chocolatier treated us to some really good cocoa, some birch maple taffy and some mint chocolate.
With bellies full of sweets, we thought it might be a good idea to head back to the hotel for a few minutes of R & R before ordering pizza for supper and heading out to the Bell-MTS Ctr for a Manitoba Moose game! We were so thrilled to find our seats in the 2nd row…we could almost touch the goalies and were pretty excited to end up on the Jumbotron celebrating the Moose’s 6-3 win over the Milwauke Admirals, and the most exciting part…a line brawl that even had the 2 goalies fighting each other! The poor equipment managers…there was equipment ALL OVER the ice. They would surely have been there quite a while afterwards sorting out what belonged to which team!
Thursday morning was nice and leisurely, as we enjoyed one last breakfast at the hotel, then loaded up the vans to start the trek back to Swan River with hearts full of happy memories and looking forward to next year where we can do it all over again!!