Quebec’s Winter Wonderland

The words “winter” and “wonderland” seem to come together naturally to describe Quebec, and the Quebec Winter Carnival is one of the reasons why.

Quebec’s enterprising and resourceful citizens have taken the harsh Canadian winter and converted it into a fun-filled annual event. The carnival opened with a dazzling fire works display and will continue on for the next 17 days. While most folks might want to stay warm this winter, Quebec’s snow children would rather take Snow Baths as they get down to their bathing suits and roll around in the snow.

Bonhomme, the carnival’s ambassador, is a large snowman dressed in a red stocking cap and a colorful arrow head sash. The sash is a Native American tradition; it is worn around the waist by lumber jacks and peasants to hang their coats from and protect their kidneys. Most carnival goers don the sash, especially during the Night Parades, of which two are planned this year.

The legendary Canoe Race is everybody’s favorite. It takes place on St. Lawrence River where teams pull the canoes across the ice instead of paddling through the waters. Another unusual competition is the Giant Foosball Game - It’s just like everyone’s favourite foosball (table soccer) game, but life size! Participants are strapped to large metal bars and they can only move from side to side and together.

Traditional activities are slide runs, ice skating, and fishing. Visitors can also enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride or dogsled rides, or take a stroll around the area and admire the different snow sculptures on display. The Ice Tower also has a number of exhibits within its cold walls. For the kids, there are ice slides, obstacle courses and an adventure trail at the Children’s Village in Plaines D’Abraham.

For a truly unique winter experience, book at the Hotel de Glace. Built each year with 15,000 tons of ice and snow, this luxurious igloo has 36 rooms and suites, with a bar where guests can have a few drinks with friends. Hurry, before it melts!

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