A Guide for the Urban Voyageur

One of Manitoba’s proudest traditions is the Festival du Voyageur.

Known for a while as the world’s largest kitchen party, the Festival du Voyageur was started in 1969 by a number of entrepreneurs in Winnipeg’s French Quarter, and it eventually turned into a massive 10-day celebration known for its frozen maple syrup and bearded men.

To celebrate this event, the Festival du Voyageur website has set up a “Festival du Voyageur-O-Meter,” where visitors can turn three drab looking people into fun-loving voyageurs in full costume, implying that this is what will happen if you attend the festival.

This is all fine and dandy, but what about those people who have no access to festival apparel the other 355 days of the year? Those who want to celebrate the pioneer spirit without the need to adhere to a certain number of set dates. For those people the only option is to become an urban voyageur.

Step 1 — One of the most important parts of the voyageur ensemble is an attractive waistcoat. These coats were usually made out of the hide of an animal and were extremely warm. In order to acquire one of these handsome coats, raid your nearest nature museum, stealing all you can from the stuffed animals. After this, you should have a fine hide to fashion your coat out of.

Step 2 — Another crucial part of any voyageur is his hat. Caps and hats were important to the voyageurs of the past and of course they’re important to the urban voyageurs of today. In order to acquire a cap or hat of suitable quality, one must truly face danger as the traditional red, long toque of the voyageur is made from a red and wooly material, one that can be found on the back of a common scenester. In order to acquire said material, just tackle a local wearing an ironic sweater and fashion it into a hat once removed.

Step 3 — One must also dispose of all traditional belts in exchange for a sash or a fléchée. These must be traditional, and therefore must be hand knit. Get a hold of one of these rare and valuable voyageur symbols by raiding the local old-folks home for knitting or by asking a skilled relative with a steady hand to make you a custom one.

If you were successful at completing the first three steps to becoming a voyageur, you are currently wearing a waistcoat made from real animal hide, a hat or cap fashioned out of the ironic apparel of a scenester and sporting a sash so awesome that true voyageurs are spinning in their graves. However, looking the part is not the most important part of the becoming an urban Voyageur. Living the part is most important.

One of the first things that you have to do in order to actually live the life of a voyageur is to stop using regular tenure as a method of currency. Instead, pay and bargain for everything with the pelts of animals. Don’t take no for an answer, and if anyone refuses, call them a traitor and challenge them to an arm wrestle.
Consume pea soup at least once a day.

Consume bannock once a day.

Consume maple syrup once a day.

Snare rabbits constantly. Using a small bit of brass wire, set up a rabbit snare near your place of dwelling. After actually snaring the rabbit, use the pelt for warm attire and delicious rabbit stew.

Last of all, make sure to always be carrying a wineskin. This will ensure you have the courage to maintain the pioneer lifestyle even when the rest of modern society has turned on you. But the fact is that they don’t matter anyways —you’re an urban voyageur.