Originally posted in November of 2015, this post has been updated to reflect 2017 dates and events (November 23 – 25). Get the most recent updates by heading over to their Facebook page!
Discover the unique atmosphere of an authentic New France Christmas Village and dance a jig with me to Temiskaming Shores for this annual celebration of French culture. This family-fun weekend, called “Village Noel Temiskaming,” is great for gourmands like me seeking a BIG taste adventure. According to the weekend line-up, we’re in for authentic regional French cuisine prepared in a community full of joie de vie!
Celebrating traditional French culture in Temiskaming Shores makes perfect sense—the French settlement dates back to the 17th century where Fort Temiskaming was established in 1679. We celebrate it now in the 21st century as a tribute to our heritage. Don’t forget your costume—organizers encourage everyone to dress up! From a simple commoner with a red toque to getting a Bourgeoisie with a three-corner hat adorned with a feather—we all have something in our closets to celebrate the New France Spirit.
French Canadian Fare
The opening ceremony begins with a celebration of life at the New Liskeard Community Hall, followed by the BIA Festival of Lights, where the beginning of our gastro-mission is set to begin with homemade cookies made by students.
As a descendant of the Temiskaming French community, I ate my share of “nuns’ farts.” You read that right. That’s the English translation of the proper French term “Pets de Soeur”—the log pastry rolls with trimmings from fruit pies, heavily basted with butter and sprinkled with brown sugar. The dough is rolled, then sliced into smaller pieces and baked until crispy on the edges. Did you ever think that nuns’ farts could sound so adorably delicious?
Another treat that comes to mind are the soft round cookies with a rich sucre a crème topping called “biscuits au chasse”—hunting cookies made for the men heading out on long hunts. Every cookie needs a tea, so head over with an offering to the First Nations Teepee for traditional teachings and drumming. I bet they’ll be offering sweet grass tea.
With Père Noël and the holidays just around the corner, it’s a great opportunity to stock up your pantry, get a start on unique Christmas gifts, and save yourself time with prepared holiday sweets. The Riverside Christmas Market runs from 10 am to 8 pm with a whole array of artists and artisans.
Among the food exhibitors, Poschaven Farms is inviting everyone for buckwheat pancakes made with organic buckwheat flour. If you need a warm up, try some delicious French Canadian pea soup at the Ecole secondaire catholique Saint-Marie kiosk. Finally, top off your weekend with the legendary stick-to-your-lips taffy-on-snow with la Sucrerie du Violoneux.
This is a cultural experience you and your kids will love. Start the tradition of attending Village Noel—it’s a family affair!
Things to Do
Speaking of which, there are lots of activities available for children this year! Kids will love playing Giant Chess, taking a pony ride, or learning about space from Science North‘s traveling exhibit (open to the public from 2 pm to 5 pm). After a weekend of French Canadian fare, kids can burn off some steam at Sunday morning’s Healthy Kids Community Challenge “Get Active in Temiskaming Chili Walk/Run” — starting at 9:30 am on Sunday.
Kids aren’t the only ones who may want to get some exercise. With all this foodie pleasure, I’ll need to find some activity to balance it all out! There’s a competition to see who’s the 2016 Axe Throwing Champion. Axe throwing—that counts as exercise, right? I bet if you throw enough of them you’ll get your heart rate up. These activities run at intervals throughout the weekend—you must be 18 years and older— with proceeds going towards Get Active in Temiskaming.
On top of axe throwing, activities in the 2016 festival lineup include log sawing, curling demonstrations, and the highly anticipated birch-bark canoe building demonstration! There’s a great deal to do over the weekend, and I’m hoping you’ll take it all in. For further details on the weekend’s line-up of music, outdoor fire pits, ice sculpture contest, check the full program outline here.