Edmonton’s Flying Canoë Volant takes off March 1

The Flying Canoë Volant is taking off, but the celebration of French Canadian and Indigenous culture and cuisine will look and feel quite different this year, says organizer Daniel Cournoyer.

The biggest change is that all patrons will be required to pre-register online, he says.

People must sign up for hourly slots between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. over the six nights running March 1 to 6.

Already the earlier hours later in the week are filling up, says Cournoyer, executive director of La Cité Francophone.

Here’s what to expect at this year’s Flying Canoë Volant, the annual celebration of French Canadian and Indigenous culture and cuisine on from March 1 to 6, 2021 in Edmonton, Alta. 1:56

You can see more from Mill Creek Ravine on Our Edmonton at 10 a.m. on Saturday, noon on Sunday and 11 a.m. Monday on CBC TV and CBC GEM. 

More than 60 lighting installations will make for “a beautiful walk” in Mill Creek Ravine, Rutherford School grounds and at La Cité Francophone at 8627 Rue Marie-Anne Gaboury, but there will be no interactive pieces, Cournoyer says.

There will also be no indoor cabaret, outdoor musical performances or dancing. The popular children’s sliding hill will be closed and events like bannock making won’t be offered.

The goal of this year’s flying canoe is to stay a paddle apart and to focus on the sights and sounds, Cournoyer says. 

Daniel Cournoyer, producer of the Flying Canoë Volant, checks on outdoor preparations at La Cité Francophone for this year’s event. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

That will include video snippets of the festival entertainment from previous years and other prerecorded cultural offerings like cooking demonstrations played on a large outdoor screen in the Mill Creek Ravine, says MJ Belcourt Moses, art coordinator of the Métis Camp.

“They can still see these wonderful artists doing performances and some lovely work that they’ll be sharing, they’re just not going to be there live,” Belcourt Moses says.

Reimagining this year’s festival in the wake of COVID-19 has been about creative minds coming up with safe solutions to offer this annual celebration, she says. 

“That connection and collaboration between the French and the First Nations working together and we’re still doing that today,” Belcourt Moses says.

MJ Belcourt Moses, art coordinator of the festival’s Métis Camp, says artists will be performing and sharing their work, they’re just not going to be doing it live. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

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