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All About Flying Canoe Volant

Published Jan 2, 2024
News/Blog Photo

The Flying Canoe Volant is celebrating their 12th anniversary from January 31st to February 3rd at Mill Creek Ravine and La Cité Francophone in Edmonton, Alberta.

Started in 2013, the Flying Canoe Volant is a bilingual nighttime event held in the French Quarter of Edmonton. It is loosely based on the legend of the Flying Canoe. The tale talks of voyageurs making deals with the devil to make their birch bark canoe fly. This was so the travellers could see their families. However, the devil tricked them and these voyageurs are cursed to fly the skies for the rest of eternity. This – incorporated with First Nation, Métis and French-Canadian traditions – inspired the festival, which became an interactive experience celebrating creativity, culture and local history.

The event works with over 250 volunteers and over 50 local and national artists, DJs and performers each year to welcome around 35,000 guests onto the grounds. It has even been recognized federally, provincially and locally for its significant contributions to relationship building and connecting communities.

Spanning 3.4km, the event site provides both indoor and outdoor activities across 3 locations. At La Cité Francophone, enjoy some maple taffy, ride some ice slides and warm up by the fire pits. Inside, you’ll find Café Bicyclette for a nice bite to eat. Here, you can also find performances by Indigihauz Gala and FCV Cabaret. At École Rutherford School, walk through stunning light displays and partake in some winter activities. Take a break at Café Croissant and enjoy live entertainment on the Community or Franco Stage. After a hiatus, the tubing and canoe races are back and will be held in this location. At Mill Creek Ravine, you can visit the Indigenous and Métis camps along with Trapper’s Cabin. Overall, it is a night full of dance, music, lights, legends and fun.

If you’re up to the challenge, grab 2 or 4 of your closest friends and partake in the relay. First, participants must sprint to grab a provided flag and fur bundle. Then, two people will portage a canoe across an obstacle course, leading them to the third event. If you are a group of adults, you must use a buck saw to cut away at a tree cookie until it drops. If you’re a group with small kids, you will instead stack wood as fast as possible. The final event of the relay for all groups is axe-throwing, which must be done by people ages 9 and older. The relay runs on February 2nd and 3rd and costs $20 per team.

The event runs for 6:00pm to 11:00pm all four nights. Indoor spots and trail lights are only available until 10:00pm. Admission is free, but you can donate on-site or through their website. There is free parking available at Mill Creek Pool, École Maurice-Lavallée, La Cité Francophone and Bonnie Doon Mall with a shuttle circling the last two lots. 

All our Edmonton locations are within a 25-minute drive of the event. Residents at our Fox Two Rentals, Gillianne Manor, Parkside Village, Hazeldean Heights and Granville locations are less than a 10-minute drive away. For tenants at Ash Whyte Manor, Queensland Apartment, Spanish Monarch and Verdwell Apartments, you can either make the 3-5 minute drive or walk a mere 23 minutes.