This year, people all over B.C. and Canada will be tuning in online to Coquitlam’s Festival du Bois 2021. The spotlight on French-Canadian culture will be shining right here on our community – and you can join in the fun for free, from the safety of home.
It all takes place from April 16-May 02, featuring exclusive concerts and interviews by musicians from all over Canada, videos, children’s programming and so much more.
All eyes on Coquitlam
Festival du Bois is among the largest French-Canadian festivals in Western Canada, typically attracting more than 10,000 people to Mackin Park. It’s going virtual this year, making it widely accessible to viewers across the country.
Register online to join the free festival celebrations starting Friday, April 16 at 5 p.m.
All event information can be found at festivaldubois.ca.
“This makes it even a bigger showcase for Coquitlam,” says Johanne Dumas of the Societé francophone de Maillardville, organizers of Festival du Bois.
The festival is presented in association with L’Association Francophone de Kamloops, l’Association des francophones des Kootenays Ouest, and l’Association franco-yukonnaise, helping to draw viewers from all over the province.
Pair your festival with French-Canadian food
Why not sink your teeth into some French-Canadian food while settling in to enjoy the performances? Start with real Canadian maple syrup on your pancakes from Cora Coquitlam. Did you know Cora started in Montreal in 1987? Try a house made baguette, croissant, quiche or pastry from Olivier’s Breads, a French Bakery located on King Edward Street. Or, experience baking a from-scratch tourtiere at home (recipe soon to be uploaded to festivaldubois.ca). And don’t forget some gooey poutine takeout to round out the day. Bon appétit!
Times have been hard across Canada for musical artists, says Dumas, and their stories will be reflected in the personal video interviews.
“We decided we would talk to them, ask them about their COVID reality. We said to all the artists: ‘Pretend you’re in a kitchen party. Invite us in,’” she said.
Musicians include Florent Vollant, Sirène et Matelot, Jocelyne Baribeau and many more, from children’s entertainers Monsier André, plus Frenchie the Clown and others. There will also be videos demonstrating unique French-Canadian and Québécois traditions.
Shining a spotlight on Maillardville
Festival du Bois will shine a spotlight on Coquitlam’s history, with videos and photographs of times gone by.
Some may not be aware that Coquitlam is home to the largest community of French-Canadians in B.C. In the early 1900s, sawmill owners recruited French-Canadian timbermen from Quebec and Ontario to work at the Ross-McLaren Sawmill, later to be renamed Fraser Mills. A mill town developed around it, and the community they built was called Maillardville.
Today, you can take a self-guided walk through the neighbourhood. Start at Mackin House and walk toward Carré Heritage Square, which marks the historic entrance to Fraser Mills. Visit the Fraser Mills Station and Place des Arts, Coquitlam’s community arts centre and music school based at Ryan House, a turn-of-the-century residence. Take a peek inside Our Lady of Lourdes, a church built in 1938 on the site of the original church, built in 1910. Click here for the self-guided tour map. Read more about Coquitlam’s history.
Enter to win a gift basket
Visit the Festival du Bois website to enter to win one of two gift baskets packed full of event and French-Canadian goodies.
For even more ideas about things to do in Coquitlam, go to visitcoquitlam.ca. Share your photos with us on social by tagging #explorecoquitlam!