If you’ve never heard of The Pas, Manitoba, then you’re probably just like 95% of folks. Let me enlighten you!
It’s a town in Northern Manitoba on the Saskatchewan River. It’s waaaay north of Winnipeg, about 6 hours’ drive, but only 2 hours south of Flin Flon. You’ve heard of Flin Flon?? Oh good, so you have some idea of the location. Technically it’s north of the 53rd latitude, and has a population of about 5500 in the town proper. You can find out more HERE.
When I lived there (in the 70’s) the only fast food joints were the Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Dairy Queen. Things have changed – they now have a McDonald’s, and it’s open 24 hours!! Wowzers! and a drive-thru Tim Horton’s – whaaaat?! Sweet!! We had two traffic lights back then, I’m not sure how many there are now. There’s one high school, one middle school, and three elementary schools. One library. When I lived there we had one movie theatre, but I think they have some at the mall now.
One thing that hasn’t changed though, is the town’s annual Trapper’s Festival. It is literally a festival for trapper’s, with competitions including trapping, ice fishing, dog-sled racing, etc. A Fur Queen is crowned, there’s a parade, a beard-growing contest, a bake-off, hockey tournament, moose and goose calling competition, and so much more. It’s awesome! I remember the ceremonies by the river, with large bon fires, hot dogs, bannock, etc.
We looked forward to this each February. Even as kids, we loved taking part – the school had jigging contests and shows, we searched high and low for the hidden Ice Worms (long white things made of fur) – one large, one small, each with a reward. It was $50 and $100 back then as I recall. Looks like they have added Weasels to the hunt – fun! The clues were my favourite part – I’m a huge fan of puzzles and riddles, as you know. There were (and are) tons of free family things to do, and the events hardly cost anything if you have to pay.
The Trapper’s Festival started again today. The full list of events is HERE. My brother still lives near there and attends it every year. Today he texted me the advertisements for it and I wanted to share this with you.
Imagine if this festival was held in B.C. – it would never fly. But for those living in these northern communities, this festival builds community. If you ever have a chance, you should go! Put it on your bucket list! It would be worth the trip just to take Operation Sled Dog! Eat your heart out, Operation Red Nose.