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Best of Manitoba Hot 2015. Fun in the French Quarter

by • July 2, 2015 • #ExploreMB, Art & Arts, Bienvenue, Galleries & MuseumsComments (3)8659

Fun in the French Quarter

When I attended last week’s Tourisme Riel FAM tour, torrential downpour was on the forecast…but a little rain couldn’t spoil the vibe of sunny St. Boniface. History, art, theatre and incredible cuisine make the French Quarter of Winnipeg shine. Wander through this quaint, vibrant region and discover Francophone culture and heritage at every turn.

View galleries of local artists

St Boniface City Hall:  Le Maison des artistes visuels francophones

Enter the prominent red brick building on Provencher and you will find the historic St. Boniface City Hall. The building houses the only french-run gallery in western Canada, Le Maison des artistes visuels francophones. With 5-7 expositions per year from artists in Manitoba’s Francophone community, the space is an excellent starting point for your foray into the French Quarter of Winnipeg. Now on until August is Attack by Guillaume Tarfif, which portrays the excess and accumulation of objects. Local French musician Justin Lacroix joined the gallery to perform for guests.

CCFM Galerie

Dedicated to fostering all forms of French-language artistic and cultural activities, the Centre culturel franco-manitobain may very well be the heart of the French Quarter of Winnipeg. Improv, jazz, movies, dance and art are just a few of the activities you can expect to find at the centre. Currently on at the CCFM Galerie is Divergences by Robert LaFrenière and Douglas Smith, which explores the aeronautical world.

Give a standing ovation at the theatre

Theatre in the Cemetery

Follow In Riel’s Footsteps as colourful characters guide you through the St. Boniface cemetery and cathedral for a summer evening of lively theatre and Métis culture. Built in 1818, the iconic St. Boniface Cathedral-Basilica is not only an architectural and historical must-see, but also the perfect backdrop to learn about the perseverance and legend of Louis Riel.

Le Cercle Molière

As Canada’s oldest permanent theater company with uninterrupted programming, the Cercle Moliere plays a significant historical and cultural role in Manitoba. While the theatre is dedicated to promoting Francophone dramatic arts, non-french speakers can also enjoy performances with newly introduced subtitled programming. See what’s on this season at the Cercle Moliere!

Try the region’s delightful cuisine

St. Boniface is one of the best food destinations in Winnipeg, each restaurant owning a unique angle on the culinary scene.  The only problem you’ll have is choosing where to go. Marion Street Eatery is your go-to for comfort food and a laid back atmosphere. Resto Gare features an attached coach and authentic French cuisine. Stella’s Cafe in the CCFM is a Winnipeg favourite for simple, healthy options. Chocolatier Constance Popp draws visitors in with the irresistible smells of fresh chocolate and other sweets (the spicy hot chocolate drink is to die for). And what’s more, newcomers are increasingly recognizing the French Quarter as an ideal location for business. Keep an eye out for a new bakery opening soon in the area, La Belle Baguette. I tried their Pet de Soeur, which translates roughly to Nun’s Farts. They were delicious.

Get a glimpse into yesteryear

La Maison Gabrielle-Roy

Historical spots are never far in the French Quarter. Such is the case with La Maison Gabrielle-Roy, tucked cozily into a residential street. The famous Franco-Canadian author was born in the home (now a heritage site) and lived there for 28 years. The house is also the setting for her novel, Street of Riches. Visitors can take guided tours through the house and gain insight into the early years of one of the great Canadian writers.

Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum

Step into Winnipeg’s oldest building to see a vast collection of 30,000 artifacts from the Francophone and Métis communities of Manitoba. Browse historic, fine art, archival and ethnological pieces and learn about the father of Manitoba, the fur trade, the Métis nation and the Red River Colony.

Fort Gibraltar

It is no surprise that axe-throwing is still the most popular activity at Fort Gibraltar. Here, you will go back 200 years into the past to the time of the voyageurs. In promoting the spirit of “joie de vivre”, the site hosts year-round events, including Festival du Voyageur. In the summer months, the site features costumed interpreters who relive the era’s daily life. Visit the blacksmith shop, the winterer’s cabin and the trading post.

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3 Responses to Fun in the French Quarter

  1. John says:

    Always a Northender exiled to Southern California i still mourn the utter failure of the Catholic archdiocese of St Boniface and the people of Winnipeg in their continuing lack of vision in restoring St Boniface Basilica to her former glory after the horrid fire in 1968. It is (St Boniface ) the largest French Canadian community outside Quebec, and the hideous so-called cathedral built inside the ruined cathedral facade is an typical vulgar 1960ish insult to Manitobans in general, a typical 1960-ish era know for the worst architectual style in 100 yrs, the present cathedral is a pathetic piece of hippy era mediocrity, the place is disgusting and a further insult to Franco-Manitobans.
    The Archdiocese HAD the money through insurance compensation and public donations to restore the Cathedral to her pre- fire glory. What happened to all the money???? A totally restored St. Boniface Basilica would be a wonderous balance to the equally beautiful National Rights Museum on the opposite bank of the Red River at the Forks, Come on Winnipeg the Jets were restored to you now restore that fabled Cathedral on the Red in St Boniface to her historic place in history and show the World Winnipeg is indeed a World Class City.

  2. Lil Thompson says:

    I live right across the street from the St. Boniface Cathedrale and had no idea it was built in 1818! Thought the oldest place was the bishop’s house on the corner: 1864 (?). Also, I plan to visit the museum that I’ve passed-by so often . . . thanks for reminding me the fabulousness of the French quarter goes waaay beyond what meets the eye!!

    • Breanne says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by Lil! Glad you enjoyed learning a little bit more about the area you live in 🙂 It really is a fantastic part of Winnipeg!

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