In the wake of travelers – La Liberté

One of the company’s houseboats. (photo: website – Voyageur Houseboats)

The Voyageurs Houseboats company offers boat trips on the waters of the Winnipeg River. This is a family business, tested by the pandemic.

By Vincent ERARIO – special collaboration

“A Hotel Room on the Winnipeg River”. It is with these words that Jérémy Faure, initiator and co-owner of Voyageurs Houseboats, describes the boats of his company. Until September 30, Voyageurs Houseboats will be renting houseboats, with which it will be possible to sail up the Winnipeg River from Pinawa: “Stays have a minimum duration of two nights and a maximum duration of seven nights. A maximum of four people can board. »

Once on board, passengers will have carte blanche assures Jérémy: “There will be four canoes-kayaks. People who want to explore and go up the banks will be able to do so. People who prefer to be isolated can be too. Four anchor points on the river will be proposed, over a total distance of nine kilometres.

Arriving in Pinawa eight years ago, Jérémy Faure had had the idea of ​​a tourism project for some time: “I have been working in tourism for ten years. It has been three or four years since I developed several business ideas. I wanted to be independent and work on my own. »

Independent, Jérémy Faure is not quite so, since his father, Pierre Faure, is the co-owner of Voyageurs Houseboats. Their complementarity has been verified. “Jérémy was very busy with market studies, I was less at ease in English than him, so I took care of the practical part of the construction, like that of the marina dock”, comments Pierre Faure.

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The project had to overcome a number of constraints. First he had to get the consent of Whiteshell Provincial Park. “The condition was that the park be favorable, says Pierre Faure, before mentioning the rigor of the specifications that they had to respect.

“Coming from France, we know the complexity of French regulations. There, we got to know that of Manitoba. There are so many problems in Manitoba, algae, zebra mussels, invasive species that one understands the precautions of the park. »

The Whiteshell park not only responded positively to Jérémy and Pierre Faure’s project, but it also supported them. “We have constant support”, testifies Jérémy Faure. Pierre Faure points to another major support: “The Economic Development Council for Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities (CDEM) helped us from the start. We had exceptional support and he was an excellent intermediary in convincing people of the viability of the project. »

| The pandemic, an additional barrier

This support is all the more welcome, as the realization of the project has come up against the consequences of the pandemic. “The pandemic has posed a lot of difficulties on different facets. It slowed down the development of the project. In terms of administrative procedures, we had to leave four to five messages to get answers, ”explains Jérémy Faure. The construction of the boats was also quite an ordeal, on the one hand due to the shortage of aluminum and the increase in the price of wood. On the other hand, because Jérémy and Pierre Faure did not find a builder in Manitoba and went to Quebec.

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Other problems followed. “The manufacture with which we entered into a partnership encountered a personnel problem. There is a major labor shortage in Quebec. My father and I had to go to Quebec for three weeks to finish the boat,” says Jérémy Faure. A misadventure which is today the strength of Jérémy and Pierre Faure. “We learned a lot of things and we know the boats inside out,” says Pierre Faure.

| history and nature

The name Voyageurs Houseboats and the company logo owe nothing to chance. “It’s the Voyageur River, it’s the Winnipeg River, which was part of the great fur trade routes, from Thunder Bay to Fort Gibraltar, hence the name of our company,” explains Pierre Faure.

“The person who designed our logo is the same as for the Festival du Voyageur. We wanted certain motifs to be represented, such as the arrowhead sash or the paddles. »

Travelers and nature will also be the red threads of boat trips. Jérémy Faure, who was interpreter coordinator for Via Rail Canada and for the Marais Oak Hammock, assures that half-day tours will be offered: “It is important to me to show the richness from the point of view of wildlife and from the point of history, by approaching the life of travelers and the camps of the natives. »

The different packages and reservations are available on the company’s website.

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