The Festival du Voyageur is a French-Canadian winter festival that includes historical interpretation, rousing music, impressive snow sculptures and hearty, stick-to-your-ribs Franco-Manitoban food such as mashed potatoes topped with pulled pork and gravy. The ten-day event has been held annually in mid-February since 1970, and boasts that it is the largest winter festival in Western Canada. Every year the festival welcomes more visitors; in 2013 around 97,000 people joined the festivities.

Join Canadian Geographic art director Javier Frutos as he explores the festival’s cheery joie de vivre.

Visitors walk through the snow sculpture competition during the Festival du Voyageur at the Voyageur Park. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Edouard Lamontagne, one of the first performers of the night at the "Snow Bar." (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Caribou, a staple of the Festival du Voyageur served in a glass made out of ice. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Historical re-enactments shows the lifestyle of the settlement and the roles played by the Metis, the settlers, the explorers, the Aboriginal peoples, the companies and the Voyageurs. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

One of the historical re-enactments at the Fort Gibraltar, offers a family activity during the Festival du Voyageur. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)

Historical “blacksmith” interpretation offered inside reconstructed Fort Gibraltar, shows the lifestyle of the settlement and the roles played by the Metis, the settlers, the explorers, the Aboriginal peoples, the companies and of course, the Voyageurs. (Photo: Javier Frutos/Canadian Geographic)