Festival du Voyageur’s 50 remarkable individuals


Festival du Voyageur would not be where it is today without the extraordinary contributions of thousands of workers, artists and volunteers since its humble beginning in 1969. While it would be impossible to recognize all of the people who have contributed to the Festival du Voyageur, we have chosen to honour the following 50 people who have made a lasting impact on what has become Western Canada’s largest winter Festival. Here are their stories:


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Albert Vermette

Founder of the Festival du Voyageur fiddling and jigging contests.

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Andy Desjarlais

Musician and fiddler at the Festival du Voyageur. Composer of the Red River Jig.

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Avelin & Hélène Molin-Gautron

Historical costume designers as well as historical interpreters at Festival du Voyageur.

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Bruce Decker

Historian and researcher who was the driving force of Fort Gibraltar’s reconstruction.

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Festival du Voyageur would not be where it is today without the extraordinary contributions of thousands of workers, artists and volunteers since its humble beginning in 1969. While it would be impossible to recognize all of the people who have contributed to the Festival du Voyageur, we have chosen to honour the following 50 people who have made a lasting impact on what has become Western Canada’s largest winter Festival. Here are their stories:


img01

Albert Vermette

Founder of the Festival du Voyageur fiddling and jigging contests.

img01

Andy Desjarlais

Musician and fiddler at the Festival du Voyageur. Composer of the Red River Jig.

Sign Up for updates

Festival du Voyageur would not be where it is today without the extraordinary contributions of thousands of workers, artists and volunteers since its humble beginning in 1969. While it would be impossible to recognize all of the people who have contributed to the Festival du Voyageur, we have chosen to honour the following 50 people who have made a lasting impact on what has become Western Canada’s largest winter Festival. Here are their stories:


img01

Albert Vermette

Founder of the Festival du Voyageur fiddling and jigging contests.

img01

Andy Desjarlais

Musician and fiddler at the Festival du Voyageur. Composer of the Red River Jig.

img01

Clarence & Barb Neepinak

Indigenous elders who have guided and contributed significantly to Festival du Voyageur’s heritage and education programs.

img01

Claude Forest

Founder of the Petit Canada night, organized by the Conseil jeunesse Provincial. This evening is dedicated to youth programming.

img01

Colin Mackie

Creator of the summer heritage programming at Fort Gibraltar and has assured the historical integrity of Festival du Voyageur in his role as Director of heritage and education programs.

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Daniel Lavoie

Musician and author of the lyrics of the voyageur song.

img01

David MacNair

Long-time snow sculptor for Festival du Voyageur.

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Denis Duguay

Long-time snow sculptor for Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Denis Encontre

Long-time fiddler and musician at Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Denis Savoie

Long-time snow sculptor for Festival du Voyageur and the artist behind the classic cartoon site maps of Voyageur Park.

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Frank Savoie

Co-founder and Director of the television show Télé-Relais.

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Gary Tessier

Snow sculptor, founder and long-time coordinator of the iconic International Snow Sculpting Symposium at Festival du Voyageur.

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George & Pat Einarson

Volunteers and long-time organizers of the Festival du Voyageur’s Visiting Festivals program, creating bonds with festivals in Minnesota, Wisconsin and even Florida.

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George McQuat

President of the St. Boniface Chamber of Commerce that was essential in the founding of the Festival du Voyageur in 1969.

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Georges & Anita Forest

Georges Forest is the founder of the Festival du Voyageur, along with the support of many. He and Anita, along with the family, tirelessly promoted the Festival du Voyageur across Canada in its inaugural year and all in historical Voyageur costumes. They were named the First Official Voyageur Family.

img01

Gérald & Jeanette Dubé

Creators of the snow sculpture that inspired the iconic tuque and boots logo of the Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Gerry Turenne

Former Executive Director (1973-1983) who contributed tremendously to the growth of the organization and introduced initiatives that live on today , such as the hosting of the Visiting Festivals from the USA and Cajun night, to name a few.

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Guy Savoie

Former President of Festival du Voyageur (1975-1978) and City Councillor who had a great influence on the Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Hadley Castille

Cajun musician who played at Festival du Voyageur for many years and helped strengthen ties between Louisiana and Manitoba.

img01

Hélène Martin

Long-time former employee of Festival du Voyageur having contributed to many Festival du Voyageur initiatives, notably the establishment of the francophone school program, the Visiting Festivals program and the building of relationships with Louisiana.

img01

Jolly Turenne

Graphic designer and artist who created the iconic first logo and stylized font of the Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Lee-Ann Blaise

Seamstress for the Official Voyageurs’ costumes and of several Governors’ Ball costumes.

img01

Léo Duguay

Federal Member of Parliament for St. Boniface (1984-1988) having contributed to securing a long-term funding program for the Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Llowyn Weslake

Created the first school program at Festival du Voyageur in the early 1970s.

img01

Louis Boys

Iconic Franco-Manitoban musical group founded in the early 70s that has played countless times at Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Louis Paquin

Former Executive Director (1986-1993) having contributed to many Festival du Voyageur initiatives, notably the establishment of a skating trail on the Red River that is now visited by hundreds of thousands of Winnipeggers each winter.

img01

Marcel Meilleur

Télé-Relais’ Musical Director and long-time fiddler at Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Marcien Ferland

Coordinated several activities of the Festival du Voyageur, former conductor of the Chorale des Intrépides and composer of the harmonies of the “Voyageur song”.

img01

Maurice Paquin

Host of the Télé-Relais and the one who popularized Festival du Voyageur’s rallying cry – « HÉHO!! ».

img01

Maurice Trudel

Government of Canada public servant who contributed to securing long-term funding for the Festival du Voyageur.

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Mayor Ed Turner

Last Mayor of St. Boniface (1960-1968), Mr. Turner was essential in the founding of Festival du Voyageur alongside Monsieur Forest.

img01

Michel Monnin

Former Festival du Voyageur President (1972-1975) who advocated for a festival that focused more heavily on francophone culture.

img01

Michelle Gervais

Former employee who contributed tremendously to the marketing and tourism of Festival du Voyageur in the 1990s. She later occupied the role of Official Voyageur Family in 2010 and 2011.

img01

Miguel Joyal

Long-time snow sculptor for Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Noël Joyal

Former Executive Director (1983-1986) who resigned from his seat on the Board of Directors in order to guide and lead the organization through difficult financial times.

img01

Normand Gousseau

Former Executive Director (1993-2003) who has contributed to numerous Festival du Voyageur initiatives, notably the capital campaign and construction of the Maison du Bourgeois located at the heart of Fort Gibraltar.

img01

Paul Graveline

Collaborated in the construction of the first skating trail on the Red River that is now visited by hundreds of thousands of Winnipeggers every winter.

img01

Réal Bérard

Snow sculptor and visual artist whose iconic artwork has been featured and utilized in many Festival du Voyageur marketing materials and merchandise over the years.

img01

Réal Curé

Key contributor to the longevity and growth of the Festival du Voyageur Sugar Shack.

img01

Robert Trudel

First president of the newly incorporated Festival du Voyageur inc. from 1969-1971.

img01

Roger Lafrenière

Long-time snow sculptor for Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Vincent Dureault

Long-time emcee and host of the Télé-Relais, of the Farcetival (comedy show) and of many other events linked to the Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Yvette Audette

Musician and long-time coordinator of the Festival du Voyageur’s fiddling and jigging contests.


img01

Avelin & Hélène Molin-Gautron

Historical costume designers as well as historical interpreters at Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Bruce Decker

Historian and researcher who was the driving force of Fort Gibraltar’s reconstruction.

img01

Clarence & Barb Neepinak

Indigenous elders who have guided and contributed significantly to Festival du Voyageur’s heritage and education programs.

img01

Claude Forest

Founder of the Petit Canada night, organized by the Conseil jeunesse Provincial. This evening is dedicated to youth programming.

img01

Colin Mackie

Creator of the summer heritage programming at Fort Gibraltar and has assured the historical integrity of Festival du Voyageur in his role as Director of heritage and education programs.

img01

Daniel Lavoie

Musician and author of the lyrics of the voyageur song.

img01

David MacNair

Long-time snow sculptor for Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Denis Duguay

Long-time snow sculptor for Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Denis Encontre

Long-time fiddler and musician at Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Denis Savoie

Long-time snow sculptor for Festival du Voyageur and the artist behind the classic cartoon site maps of Voyageur Park.

img01

Frank Savoie

Co-founder and Director of the television show Télé-Relais.

img01

Gary Tessier

Snow sculptor, founder and long-time coordinator of the iconic International Snow Sculpting Symposium at Festival du Voyageur.

img01

George & Pat Einarson

Volunteers and long-time organizers of the Festival du Voyageur’s Visiting Festivals program, creating bonds with festivals in Minnesota, Wisconsin and even Florida.

img01

George McQuat

President of the St. Boniface Chamber of Commerce that was essential in the founding of the Festival du Voyageur in 1969.

img01

Georges & Anita Forest

Georges Forest is the founder of the Festival du Voyageur, along with the support of many. He and Anita, along with the family, tirelessly promoted the Festival du Voyageur across Canada in its inaugural year and all in historical Voyageur costumes. They were named the First Official Voyageur Family.

img01

Gérald & Jeanette Dubé

Creators of the snow sculpture that inspired the iconic tuque and boots logo of the Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Gerry Turenne

Former Executive Director (1973-1983) who contributed tremendously to the growth of the organization and introduced initiatives that live on today , such as the hosting of the Visiting Festivals from the USA and Cajun night, to name a few.

img01

Guy Savoie

Former President of Festival du Voyageur (1975-1978) and City Councillor who had a great influence on the Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Hadley Castille

Cajun musician who played at Festival du Voyageur for many years and helped strengthen ties between Louisiana and Manitoba.

img01

Hélène Martin

Long-time former employee of Festival du Voyageur having contributed to many Festival du Voyageur initiatives, notably the establishment of the francophone school program, the Visiting Festivals program and the building of relationships with Louisiana.

img01

Jolly Turenne

Graphic designer and artist who created the iconic first logo and stylized font of the Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Lee-Ann Blaise

Seamstress for the Official Voyageurs’ costumes and of several Governors’ Ball costumes.

img01

Léo Duguay

Federal Member of Parliament for St. Boniface (1984-1988) having contributed to securing a long-term funding program for the Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Llowyn Weslake

Created the first school program at Festival du Voyageur in the early 1970s.

img01

Louis Boys

Iconic Franco-Manitoban musical group founded in the early 70s that has played countless times at Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Louis Paquin

Former Executive Director (1986-1993) having contributed to many Festival du Voyageur initiatives, notably the establishment of a skating trail on the Red River that is now visited by hundreds of thousands of Winnipeggers each winter.

img01

Marcel Meilleur

Télé-Relais’ Musical Director and long-time fiddler at Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Marcien Ferland

Coordinated several activities of the Festival du Voyageur, former conductor of the Chorale des Intrépides and composer of the harmonies of the “Voyageur song”.

img01

Maurice Paquin

Host of the Télé-Relais and the one who popularized Festival du Voyageur’s rallying cry – « HÉHO!! ».

img01

Maurice Trudel

Government of Canada public servant who contributed to securing long-term funding for the Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Mayor Ed Turner

Last Mayor of St. Boniface (1960-1968), Mr. Turner was essential in the founding of Festival du Voyageur alongside Monsieur Forest.

img01

Michel Monnin

Former Festival du Voyageur President (1972-1975) who advocated for a festival that focused more heavily on francophone culture.

img01

Michelle Gervais

Former employee who contributed tremendously to the marketing and tourism of Festival du Voyageur in the 1990s. She later occupied the role of Official Voyageur Family in 2010 and 2011.

img01

Miguel Joyal

Long-time snow sculptor for Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Noël Joyal

Former Executive Director (1983-1986) who resigned from his seat on the Board of Directors in order to guide and lead the organization through difficult financial times.

img01

Normand Gousseau

Former Executive Director (1993-2003) who has contributed to numerous Festival du Voyageur initiatives, notably the capital campaign and construction of the Maison du Bourgeois located at the heart of Fort Gibraltar.

img01

Paul Graveline

Collaborated in the construction of the first skating trail on the Red River that is now visited by hundreds of thousands of Winnipeggers every winter.

img01

Réal Bérard

Snow sculptor and visual artist whose iconic artwork has been featured and utilized in many Festival du Voyageur marketing materials and merchandise over the years.

img01

Réal Curé

Key contributor to the longevity and growth of the Festival du Voyageur Sugar Shack.

img01

Robert Trudel

First president of the newly incorporated Festival du Voyageur inc. from 1969-1971.

img01

Roger Lafrenière

Long-time snow sculptor for Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Vincent Dureault

Long-time emcee and host of the Télé-Relais, of the Farcetival (comedy show) and of many other events linked to the Festival du Voyageur.

img01

Yvette Audette

Musician and long-time coordinator of the Festival du Voyageur’s fiddling and jigging contests.