Why stay inside and lament the winter season when you could be outside celebrating it? When it comes to celebrating the beauty of winter, no place does it better than Quebec City! The 2013 Winter Carnival will be held from February 1st to February 17th.
Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America, and it has been home to winter carnivals for many years. The first major carnival was held in 1894, and continued to be held sporadically until 1955, when it became an official event. By then, the iconic “Bonhomme Carnaval” had become the carnival’s mascot, and it wasn’t long before the event grew into a major affair for Quebec City, and began pulling in tourists from all over the world. Each year, new activities, events, and contests are added, making the Quebec Winter Carnival the largest winter festivity in the world.
Visitors to Winter Carnival will find plenty of activities and events going on in the 17 days of carnival. The celebration includes two parades (one on the February 9th and one on February 16th), acrobats, snow sculpture contests, dancers, music, and skating, just to name a few activities. This year’s event also includes a conference on the climate crisis, held by the David Suzuki Foundation at the Quebec Museum of Civilization, and a painting symposium at Laurier Quebec. Ongoing activities throughout the carnival include snow slides, floor hockey, and the ice palace. The carnival is a great place to try out some of the favorite foods of Quebecers, such maple taffy at the sugar shack, soup at the Normandin Soup Shack, and fondue at the Fondue Stand. A real treat is the “beaver tails”, or “queue de castor”, which is fried dough, sprinkled with goodies such as maple syrup, brown sugar, and/or cinnamon. The Calgary Flapjack Breakfast is where to go if you want some delicious pancakes, sausages, and coffee, on the house! For a relaxing experience, head over to the Arctic Spas Village, where you’ll find three spas and a sauna to enjoy; make sure to bring you bathing suit and a towel!
The winter carnival’s main site is the Plains of Abrahams (Place Desjardins). This is where you’ll find snow sculptures, snow rafting, dog sledding, children’s activities, and more. Place Youville also hosts activities, such as skating with the Bonhomme, and the Calgary Stampede Flapjack Breakfast. There are plenty of major hotels, as well as independent bed and breakfast places, in Quebec City, Quebec City becomes a pretty busy place during Carnival season, so it’s best to book accommodations as early as possible. If you’re a skier, bring all the ski equipment; Quebec City is only a few minutes away from some fantastic ski hills, including Mont Ste-Anne, and Le Massif. Weather in Quebec City can get quite cold at times (usually betweem -1° and -15°, but it can get as cold as -30°), so remember to bring a warm, winter coat, and a good pair of boots. Dressing in layers is the best way to stay warm.
Enjoy your trip to Quebec City!