Let them eat pancakes!

Schools all across DSFM will be holding a variety of Festival du Voyageur events throughout the week including the ever-popular pancake breakfasts with real maple syrup.

École Saint-Joachim is one school hosting such a breakfast. “Each teacher will be cooking up pancakes and sausages in their classrooms for their students,” explains Principal Vivianne Sarasin, “everybody will have a full tummy.”

Meanwhile, students at École Communautaire Réal-Bérard and École Sainte-Agathe will also be feasting on flapjacks. 

Kids from École Ste. Agathe wear aprons to serve pancakes to members of their community (Photo credit: Patrick Saurette).

École Sainte-Agathe Principal Patrick Saurette says his school's breakfast event is actually open to the public. The young students walk around the school's gymnasium in their little aprons delivering food to the many people who come out every year. They do not, however, deliver the coffee, because it is too hot. 

However, Saurette says there is more to Festival du Voyageur than pancakes and coffee and says his students will be participating in special events daily.

“We have games like the strongest man competition, balancing competitions, and arts and craft activities,” offers Saurette. “Basically, at the end of every day, our kids are living through somewhat traditional folkloric Festival activities.”

Other schools in the division are following suit by hiring dance troupes, singing cultural songs, and dressing up like the voyageurs of old.

Still, despite this wide variety of cultural entertainment, Saurette admits that the crowning jewel of any voyageur festivities is their food.

On top of their classic pancake breakfast, Saurette’s school is also hosting a traditional Tourtière Dinner for the whole community.

“Tourtière is ‘meat pie’ in English,” explains Saurette, “we will also be having sucre à la crème, soupe aux pois, and fèves au lard (sugar pie, pea soup and pork and beans respectively)”.

French performers entertain those who visited École Ste. Agathe's traditional dinner last year (Photo credit Patrick Saurette).
The dinner is happening on Wednesday and will feature students singing voyageur folk songs as the evening’s entertainment. Saurette says tickets are already sold out and notes the event typically draws in between 100 and 200 people from the larger Ste. Agathe area.

“I think celebrating this part of our heritage brings pride to our community,” comments Saurette. He feels it is important to celebrate the origins of French-Manitoba heritage so it continues to be valued as it is passed down by generations of students.