Anti-mandate protesters gather at The Forks in Winnipeg

A group of more than 100 people gathered outside the Canadian Museum for Human Rights at The Forks in Winnipeg on Saturday to protest COVID-19 mandates.

But for Donald Bouchard, the gathering was about more than that.

“We’re here to get our hearts together and understand that we’re all in this together,” Bouchard said.

“We’re here to heal the division between people.”

And while Manitoba has already announced it will soon lift its remaining pandemic restrictions, including mask requirements and vaccine mandates, Bouchard said that doesn’t change anything for protesters.

“We’re here whether the mandates are lifted or not,” he said.

Protester Donald Bouchard says the rally was about healing divisions between people. (CBC)

Many at the event carried Canadian flags and signs with messages about freedom.

And one person brought a treat for the many kids in attendance.

Robert Carriere said it was important to him to bring the maple syrup treats that people can usually get at Festival du Voyageur to the rally, since the annual event this year requires kids under 12 to be accompanied by a fully-vaccinated adult.

Robert Carriere brought maple syrup treats for kids at the rally. (CBC)

“That’s why I wanted to do this, for all the children that have parents that aren’t vaccinated and want to have some fun and get a sense of normalcy again,” said Carriere.

“So we’re just here and we’re having fun. A lot of smiles, lot of pleasure and joy.”