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#HeHo, If You’re at Festival du Voyageur, Then #BeVoyageur!

Beloved Manitoba tradition taps into technology.

For those familiar with Twitter, this headline reads like a tweet doesn’t it? And that’s exactly what Festival du Voyageur organizers want to see on Twitter.

“Our Twitter hashtags are really our festival’s rallying cry,” says Irina Ivanov Bissonnette, Festival du Voyageur’s director of marketing and communications. “We use social media via our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts as a great and immediate way to connect our festival to all our audiences before, during and after the festival.”

Festival du Voyageur kicks off its 47th-year celebration later this week when the largest winter festival in Western Canada opens February 12.

Promoting “joie de vivre” (the enjoyment of life) and extending the reach of French language and culture happens through tales of the fur-trading Voyageurs, Métis and First Nations histories at historic Fort Gibraltar. The attractions and exhibits of Voyageur Park in the heart of Saint-Boniface attract an annual attendance upwards of 90,000 to 100,000 visitors, including 12,000 school kids over the ten-day run each year.

Connecting With Festival Via New Technology

While the festival’s theme and subject matter remains dedicated to the fur-trade era, the use of technology at the festival has indeed kept pace with the modern world.

Ivanov Bissonnette is entering her fourth year on the team at Festival du Voyageur and she has definitely seen the advancement of technology usage over that time period. She laughs as she mentions that every person on site at Festival at any given time likely has a smartphone or similar device on them somewhere amid their layers of warm clothing. And she says that’s a good thing, as there is a Festival du Voyageur app that people can download for free on either Android or iOS.

“We all can use the Festival du Voyageur app whether we are volunteers, staff or visitors. It gives us the ability to learn about changes or change things right away,” says Ivanov Bissonnette.

“If a concert schedule changes suddenly, we send an alert on the app right away and everyone gets it. For festivals and concerts, it’s a great thing. It used to be on a paper trail and now it’s immediate. It’s good for sponsor recognition too.”

Social Media Changes the Way Festival Goers Interact

With social media and the Festival du Voyageur app enhancing the visitor’s festival experience, Ivanov Bissonnette says the website remains a solid foundation for all information related to the massive event.

“We run an integrated communications approach that uses our website, social media and our app to help festival goers enjoy the best experience possible,” she says. “Whether we are helping people find out how to dress, what concerts are scheduled, where to get maple taffy or simply promoting our festival spirit, we try to be as flexible and as quick to inform as we possibly can be.”

And the Twitterverse has already gotten into the #HeHo #BeVoyageur spirit, as evidenced on many Manitoban social feeds. Follow @FDVoyageur and you’ll see the streams of people excited to get their share of syrup on a stick, pea soup, Festival music and dogsledding.

Plan a Work Team-Building Event at Festival

For businesses looking for fun and team-building, Ivanov Bissonnette says the Festival du Voyageur offers a very unique opportunity.

“We offer special group rates for businesses and others that includes admissions as well as food coupons and some of our most popular activities,” she says.

“Basically, we can build special packages to include exactly what your business hopes to experience during the Festival du Voyageur.”

Once you get your Festival fix, check out all the other amazing spaces in Winnipeg to hold work events and meetings. We recently posted an article of 14 Incredible Meeting Spaces You Never Knew Existed in Winnipeg, and some of them would turn a business meeting into an unforgettable experience!

For more information, visit or contact the office directly via (204) 237-7692 or Bon Festival!

Duncan Morrison

Duncan is a Winnipeg-based writer and communications consultant that specializes in freelance writing, strategic communications and marketing plans for clients from a wide range of organizations and businesses. His work has been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines.

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