BONNYVILLE – Families will be able to enjoy a sweet treat while celebrating French-Canadian culture.
The annual La Cabane á Sucre du Nord, also known as the Northern Sugar Shack, is happening at Camp St. Louis on Saturday, March 14. Kicking off at 1 p.m., the event, which has been occuring in the area for over 40 years, will feature some traditional favourites.
“We’ll have horse-drawn sleigh rides and there’s going to be tobogganing at the little hill by the lake,” explained Christine St. Laurent, regional manager of the Bonnyville-Cold Lake French Cultural Centre (ACFA). “The maple toffee on the snow is always a big hit, we’ll have a bonfire, and the meal that’s sold at the location is a traditional one of baked maple beans, pea soup, crepes, and fried potatoes.”
There will also be a ceremony to mark francophone month.
“March is Alberta’s month for the francophone, so there’s lots of francophone activities happening all over and we’re pairing the Sugar Shack with the raising of the flag,” St. Laurent explained.
This is the second year the Sugar Shack has been held at Camp St. Louis, and St. Laurent said it was a hit with families who enjoyed an afternoon by the lake last year.
“Changing locations, sometimes you wonder if it’s going to stop people from coming… but, it was still a success and we’re hoping the weather will cooperate. I did put in an order for great weather, so hopefully it’s granted,” she laughed.
Along with offering a family-friendly afternoon of activities, St. Laurent noted the Sugar Shack is also a chance to “discover our traditions and language.”
“It’s just to maintain our French traditions, and for those who we call francophone-curious; those who don’t know about the francophone traditions but want to experiment or participate with it or encourage it, they’re welcome. It’s an event open to the public, so anyone from any language or nationality can attend and partake in the activities,” she added.
Toffee on the snow, listening to music, and witnessing attendees enjoy the festivities are highlights St. Laurent looks forward to every year.
“Some people only see each other at that event, so it’s nice to see people who haven’t seen each other for a long time just to get back together, and it involves a lot of volunteers so it’s great to see that some of our youth are participating,” she explained. “They participated as a youngster that enjoyed the event and now they’re volunteering some of their time or some of them are now bringing their families back to attend. They’ve grown up, moved away, and now they have families that are involving their kids or having them participate. That’s great to see that circle.”
Tickets are available at École Voyageur in Cold Lake and at the ACFA office in Bonnyville.
Camp St. Louis is located at 61218 Range Rd. 470, 10-kilometres west of Bonnyville on Hwy. 660.