11 Fun Things to Experience at Rendez Vous On Ice!

Hého, my Downtown Winnipeg Friends!  It’s almost that time of year where we all embrace our francophone heritage, no matter how deeply hidden it may be!  If you’re wondering how Downtown Winnipeg celebrates Festival du Voyageur with our St. Boniface Neighbours, look no further than Rendez Vous on Ice!

Rendez Vous on Ice has been held for the past five years and is a licenced outdoor beer garden/trading post on the Red River Mutual Trail that takes place during the first four days of Festival du Voyageur.

Here are 11 fun things you can experience at Rendez Vous on Ice this year!

1. Food/Bevies

One of the top things that Winnipeg is known for, other than then our chilly winters, is our great foodie scene!  Rendez Vous on Ice has partnered with Evolve Specialty Catering to provide a great menu of Francophone faves!

They kick things off with Breakfast on Friday, February 16th from 7am to 10pm.  Grab a Breakfast Burrito or an Apple Butter Trail Tail on your skate commute to work, along with free hot chocolate!  On Friday evening, Saturday, Sunday and Monday afternoons and evenings, enjoy traditional treats like Smoked Meat on Bannock, Poutine, Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins, Tourtiere, Pea Soup with Bannock, Mac N’ Cheese Bites or Baked Beans with Bannock.  There are also fun deserts like a S’mores Brownie in a Cup, Maple Taffy, Apple Butter Trail Tails and bevvies available too!  All food ranges in price from $4 to $8 – super reasonable, if you ask me!

2. Winter Sport Demos

If you’re like me and figure that if you can’t beat winter, you may as well enjoy it, Rendez Vous on Ice has a number of fun winter sport demos for you to try!  On the morning of Friday, February 16th, from 7am to 10pm, you’ll be able to try out Fat Biking, Snow Shoeing and even Cross Country Skiing!  I’ve heard that there’ll even be a Fat Tire Bike Loop Trail for people to try out!

3. Yoga

Looking for a little Zen after a hectic week? Look no further – at 7am and  5pm on Friday, you’ll be able to participate in Yoga on Ice with Ashley Bourgeois from Wild Path.

4. Rugby

If Zen really isn’t your thing and you need more of an adrenaline rush, pop in on Saturday from 12pm to 4pm, to watch the coldest rugby tournament on the planet and the only one of its kind to be played completely on frozen river ice!  Cheer on the Winnipeg Wasps Rugby Club Snow 7s while they play!

5. Ice Carving Demos

On Friday, February 16th from 5:30pm to 8:30pm there will be half hour Ice Carving Demos where you can watch master ice carvers demonstrating their skills on blocks of ice that have been harvested from the Red River.  The carvings will be on display all weekend, but this is your chance to see the chain saws and chisels in action!

6. Pride Parade and after Party

At 3:00pm on Saturday, grab your rainbow flags and lace up your skates to join the Voyageur Pride Skate!  Fièrte du Voyageur is a Winter Celebration for Winnipeg’s LGBTTQ community that is open to everyone.  From 5:00pm to 8:00pm Room Service Winnipeg has lined up a great night of entertainment featuring local DJS and more!

 7. Fashion on Ice

On Sunday, February 18th, from 5pm to 5:30-pm, join in on this stylish celebration of Winnipeg, winter and fashion!  Fashion on Ice showcases local fashion and accessory designers and retailers with this year’s #WoodFashion theme sure to be a hip hit!  In its fifth year, Fashion on Ice proves that winters in Winnipeg can be fashionable!

8. Live Music and DJs

Throughout the four days that Rendez Vous on Ice is open, they will host a number of live musicians and local DJS.  Here are a few of the acts to catch – Spence Tradition, Justin Lacroix, Pierre Freynet, Sol James and Moonfruits, as well as a host of DJs like, DJ Breeze, DJ Ketchup Chips, Rhayne Vermette, MonsieurIceberg aka Damien Ferland, DJ Beekeeni, Tony Neu, DJ Kasm, DJ Cedrik le Fantastik, and more!

9. Fire Dancing and Glow Hooping

Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 7:30 to 8:30, watch Karrie of Kurrent Motion as she entertains the crowds with fire dancing and Glow Hooping.  Knowing Karrie, I’m sure that anybody who is interested will be able to join in a Hoop Jam!

10. Wild Winter Canoe Race

Pre-register your team of 5 at www.wildwintercanoerace.com  and head down on Monday, Louis Riel Day, to take part in head-to-head heats on the four-lane, 200-metre, snow packed course as participants race canoes in snow for awesome prizes and bragging rights!

11. Come play on Ice with Peggy!

I’m definitely going to be checking out Rendez Vous on Ice throughout the first weekend of Festival du Voyageur!  In fact, Stefano Grande, the CEO (aka Quarterback) for the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ and I have put together a super fun, fat bike tour that takes in all of the Warming Huts along the Red River Mutual Trail, stops for a warm up at Old Spaghetti Factory at Johnston Terminal and ultimately ends up at Rendez Vous on Ice for dinner and even a chance to take part in the Yoga on Ice!

There are only a very few spots –Click this link and select the February 16, 2018 date to register now for your chance to join us https://downtownwinnipegtours.com/tours/bikes-brunch/

All photos courtesy of Rendez-Vous On Ice, taken by Leif Norman

 

 

My Top 6 Poutine Picks for La Poutine Week

Just as we start saying ‘he ho!’ to the snow sculptures and all things Festival du Voyageur, the dreamers that co-founded Le Burger Week bring their latest celebration of comfort fare to our city. And it doesn’t get more Franco-Canadian than poutine! I’ve narrowed it down to my top 6 poutine picks, and I’m ready to tackle them all in the spirit of a hungry Voyageur. Winnipeg’s first La Poutine Week is on Feb. 1 -7.

  1. Pony Corral (444 St. Mary Ave.) – Montreal Smoked Meat Poutine

Offering different tasty creations literally sandwiched atop fries at each of its locations, Pony Corral is serving up a nod to poutine’s Quebecois roots at its downtown restaurant. And though Montreal smoked meat is somewhat of a classic poutine topping, Pony Corral isn’t stopping at the meat – placing the fully loaded sandwich, bread and all – atop a heap of fries (not even sparing the pickle topper!).

Pony - Montreal - Downtown

  1. Tavern United (345 Graham Ave.) – Manitoba Sociable Poutine

There’s hardly a more relatable local tradition than popping into The Tavern before a Jets game, except for maybe one – the Manitoba social. Tavern United is playing on both these classic Manitoban experiences with its Manitoba Sociable Poutine. See whose weddings come to mind while savouring a poutine dripping with nostalgia. The Tavern combines its famous English cut “chips” with the traditional social fare of Old Dutch ripples, plus Danny’s pulled pork, bacon, and red onion smothered with cheddar cheese sauce, squeaky cheese curds and Royal whiskey sauce.

fullsizeoutput_2ac7

  1. Rudy’s Eat & Drink (375 Graham Ave.) – The Dirty Donald

Savour the sophistication of Rudy’s The Dirty Donald, featuring heavenly duck confit mingled with Rudy’s crispy fries, a semi soft aged cheddar, a decadent roasted garlic sage jus – finished with sour cherry ketchup and crispy sage, sure to please even the most elevated of palates.

Rudy_s

  1. La Roca (155 Smith Ave.) – Papas Locas Poutine

Who doesn’t love a Mexican take on the traditional Canadian fare, and who better to nail this than downtown’s premium Mexican lounge? The Papas Locas has crispy fries served in a skillet, baked with homemade mac and cheese sauce, queso cheese, bell peppers, and more common burrito fillings like carnitas (pulled pork), green onions, corn and fresh sliced jalapenos with La Roca’s own pico de gallo.

La Roca

  1. Peg City Poutinerie (2nd floor, Cityplace) – Korean Steak Fajita Poutine

Maybe you’re already familiar with the Cityplace poutinerie’s charms, but its limited-edition Korean steak creation is sure to spice up your food court fiesta. Enjoy the usual suspects of Peg City’s perfected trio of fries, cheese curds and gravy – mixed with red and yellow peppers, caramelized onion and Korean steak drizzled with sesame seeds.

Peg-City

  1. White Star Diner (258 Kennedy St.) – Shepherd’s Pie Poutine

Just when I thought the homey fare couldn’t get any better, White Star Diner merged a couple of this Canuck’s favourite meals. With its famous meat loaf and sweet green peas paired with the squeakiest cheese smothered with real beef gravy, White Star somehow made two familiar comfort foods better.

Shepherd's Pie Poutine-White Star Diner-2

Let me know what your favourite poutine is for La Poutine Week by tagging me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @downtownpeggy.

Happy poutine eating!

DT-Peggy-Signature-2017

The Ice Castles Are Here!

I don’t know about you, but ever since I heard that they were being built at Parks Canada Place on the Forks Historic Site, I’ve been excited to see the Ice Castles! Any trip to the Forks for the past month has involved me walking or biking past the fenced-off area, watching the castles grow as if by magic.

Finally, after much anticipation, the Ice Castles will open to the public on Friday, January 5th, and I got to have a sneak preview last night, along with my media, travel and tourism pals!

First off, let me say that it was a brisk -35°C with the wind-chill. I bundled up with thermal layers, massive cozy scarf, my favourite Hudson’s Bay toque, alpaca wool socks and some warm boots.  The “floor” of the Ice Castles is made of layers of ice and ice chips – which is much like walking on coarse gravel – so good, flat-soled boots are recommended.

Just approaching the Ice Castles at night is breath-taking.  I hadn’t even walked up to the entrance and was already snapping pictures of the towering ice walls, glowing with colour-changing LED lights.

As I entered, I was greeted by a couple of popular enchanted Ice Princesses.  The Ice Princesses will be greeting guests on Saturdays and Sundays between 1 to 4pm, weather permitting.

The most beautiful and adorable Polar Bears and Polar Bear cubs, painted by our own amazing Kal Barteski, are dotted  throughout the Castle walls and corridors.

 

There’s something so wonderful about watching a fire dancer with a backdrop of ice!  The fire twirler last night was as funny as he was talented, keeping up a running banter as he twirled, getting the audience involved in his act. On Friday and Saturday evenings, from 7 to 10pm, there will be fire performances.

What would an Ice Castle be without ice slides?  Young and old(er) alike will delight in whooshing though the icy chutes on magic carpets. So FUN!

My favourite feature was the colour-changing ice fountain.  I was mesmerized as the water danced and changed colours from dark red, to purple to pale blue, accompanied by music.

I had the chance to talk to Blake, who is the Site Manager of the Ice Castles. It’s really an amazing process where icicles are made and then hand-placed in location. The icicles are then sprayed with water to make the ice-walls and other structures grow.  The ice artists were able to start on building the structure at the beginning of December, working daily to grow icicles and create the astounding Narnia-esque structures.

Probably what I loved the most about the Ice Castles was how beautifully they frame two of Downtown Winnipeg’s iconic structures, the Esplanade Riel bridge and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  Both lovely in their own right, they made a glorious backdrop to photos taken from within the Castles.

The Ice Castles will open officially on Friday, January 5,  from 4 to 9pm.  They will be open during the day on Saturdays from 12:00 to 10:30pm and Sundays from 12 to 8pm. They’re also open weekday evenings on Monday and Wednesday through Thursday from 4 – 9pm.  They will be closed on Tuesdays.  For more information, and to purchase your tickets, check out their website: www.icecastles.com/winnipeg/

Until next time,

DT-Peggy-Signature-2017