By Catherine Dunwoody
Say oui! Western Canada’s largest francophone festival for 27 years is back for another fun weekend of all things French Canadian – right in Coquitlam, BC.
From March 4 to 6, 2016, the Festival du Bois showcases our fabulous and proudly French traditions and culture in Canada by way of the real deal when it comes to food, traditional music, entertainment and fun activities.
Taking place in Coquitlam’s Mackin Park the fest is definitely family-friendly and very affordable. Kick off the festival at Dîner en Plaid, with its traditional French Canadian cuisine, and rollicking music from a New Brunswick band. Plaid dress code in effect? Absolument! Be sure and sip a pint of the signature craft beer, French Lumberjack Ale, from Port Moody’s Yellow Dog Brewing – especially while you cheer on participants in the arm wrestling competition and saw contests. Salut!
Festival du Bois is known for its world-class entertainment as well. Between the Big Tent, the Children’s Tent and the Workshop Tent, there are more than enough options to keep you dancing, singing along, or learning something.
What would this festival be without traditional Québécois fare? Tuck into a dish of gooey, cheesy poutine, some stick-to-your-ribs tourtière, or a slice of maple sugar pie. An absolute must stop is the André Beauregard Sugar Shack for maple taffy twisted and pulled before a captive audience. The Sunday morning pancake breakfast feeds even the hungriest French lumberjack, make sure you don’t miss this one.
The Big Tent is a shoppers paradise, with booths loaded up with pottery, fragrant soaps, and linens from Provence, olive wood treasures, French preserves and of course Olivier’s Breads.
On Saturday & Sunday, the Youth Zone comes alive with entertainment like the Franco-Columbian Improvisation League. New this year is the Junior A Hockey Club’s street hockey area, open to all ages and skill levels, plus the Vancouver Aquarium’s new Aquavan, for an up close look and what lives in the deep blue sea. Turn back time, and walk into the 1913 built Magasin Proulx – the general store and post office that once was the centre of village life in Maillardville.
However you decide to spend the fest – enjoy! It’s such a proud part of our Canadian heritage!
Header image of poutine is by Quinn Dombrowski | Flickr