Guide To Quebec Winter Carnival: Best 5 Things To Do

Quebec Winter Carnival

Have you heard of the Quebec winter carnival? If you would like to know more about the festival, please continue reading. 

Quebec winter carnival or Quebec winter festival, as you would like to say held in the Quebec city, is a popular pre-lenten festival. A lent is a religious observance by the Christian during their liturgical calendar. The festival is celebrated with utter enthusiasm every year since 1955.

The festival is celebrated in Québec city in winter for 17 days long. The festival has a mascot of its own, the Bonhomme; it is as white as snow, wearing a red tuque. Therefore, the festival is also popularly known as Bonhomme Carnaval. In 2006, about 1 million people attended the Québec winter carnival, making it the largest winter festival ever of that time.

The Carnival- Bonhomme

By Elijah van der Giessen/ Flickr, Copyright 2021.

Carnaval de Québec (in french) is a celebration of the winters to their fullest. Every year the festival is celebrated in February. It brings about thousands of visitors together to beat the winters with fun.

From ice slides, ice sculptures to grand night parades, visitors will witness everything here. It is the ideal way of fun for both children & adults. And while there is a long list of things to do, this guide has covered the five best things to do at the Quebec winter carnival.

Things To Do at the Quebec Winter Carnival

All of the activities & events happening during the carnival take place throughout the city. However, the main site for the carnival is on the Plains of Abraham.

The major attraction of the carnival over the years has constantly been the Ice Canoe Race. Now coming back to the main part of this guide, that is the things to do at the Quebec Winter Carnival. After thorough research & analysis, we have come up with five things that visitors can do while at the Quebec winter carnival.

1. See ‘Bonhomme’ & Enjoy the Opening Ceremonies

Bonhomme is the official representative figurine of the Quebec Winter Festival. The figurine first made its appearance in the 1995 event. Quebec’s Bonhomme, unlike any other, is not sacrificed at the end of the carnival. Instead, it simply leaves & comes back fresh every following year.

The Bonhomme figurine is 400 pounds of packed snow, which is believed to spread joy & laughter among all the people. There is only one effigy of Bonhomme at the festival. And visitors often rush to get photos with him at the Bonhomme’s ice palace.

Quebec Winter Carnival

By Jason Carter/ Flickr, Copyright 2021.

Apart from that, you can enjoy the festival’s opening night ceremonies. The opening night of the carnival is always followed by fireworks & musical concerts. Visitors can have a great time enjoy that.

2. Enjoy the Ferris Wheel Ride & Other Games

The main site for the carnival is the fairgrounds on the Plains of Abraham. And during the carnival, it is not less than any amusement park.

Quebec Winter Carnival

By David Offf/ Flickr, Copyright 2021.

The ground features many fun things to do, including a giant Ferris Wheel, bouncy houses, & an ice castle with an ice slide. Along with these, there are activities like dog sledding, ice fishing, human bowling, human foosball, & cross-country skiing.

A carnival is incomplete without a ride on the giant Ferris Wheel. There’s nothing like getting the birds-eye view of the whole carnival from the top of the wheel.

3. Take a Look At the Ice & Snow Sculptures

One of the best things that the carnival showcases are the Ice & Snow Sculptures created by artists.

Quebec Winter Carnival

By Morgan/ Flickr, Copyright 2021.

The carnival organizes this showcase as the International Snow Sculpture Competition. Both local & international artists participate in the competition, creating themed sculptures of their choice.

Visitors are left awe-struck with what they manage to create every year. This year (2021), visitors can find over 100 sculptures throughout the city along a specific route, including the Petit Champlain district.

4. Take a Snow Bath

Have you ever seen something as crazy as a snow bath? Well, at the carnival, visitors are welcome at the chance to enjoy a snow bath with the snowman.

Quebec Winter Carnival

By Morgan/ Flickr, Copyright 2021.

Visitors have to put on their swimsuits & go crazy rolling out in the snow. This is one of the most enjoyed annual events, kids & adults alike.

5. Enjoy the Races & Parades

One could not enjoy the fullest at the carnival if they didn’t watch the grand parades & races. The carnival organizes various interesting races, including the Dog Sled Race Canoe Race. 

quebec winter carnival

By Lars Ploug Sorensen/ Flickr, Copyright 2021.

The Dog Sled Race takes place on the first weekend along the streets of Old Quebec. And the Canoe Race takes place over the frozen St Lawrence River. Rowing can not get difficult than this.

Another thing to watch is the parades, the Charlesbourg Night Parade. The night parade is the most amusing of all, with a spirited procession of dancing & singing.

So these are just a few things visitors can try their hands on while at the Quebec winter carnival. However, there are many more activities to enjoy, such as:

  1. Eat frozen maple syrup taffy
  2. Go Skating
  3. Explore Old Quebec
  4. Have a drink at the ice bar
  5. Take the famous Toboggan Ride

For over 60 years, this festival has given its visitors an exciting & fun chance to enjoy the winters. For the people of Quebec, it is more of a spirit & tradition than a festival.

Anyway, so far, we have discussed the things to do at the carnival. Now let us have a look at few other related details.

Quebec Winter Carnival Tips:

How Much Will it Cost?

Visitors who would like to enter the Quebec Winter Carnival s main site where all the games & activities are hosted must have a little thing called an effigy. The effigy is kind of like any Christmas ornament and is supposed to be tied to your clothes.

The effigy will cost around $20. Visitors can buy it online or in-person at the site. Other than the effigy, visitors can also buy the Carnival Passport. It will cost $45.

The passport includes the effigy, a carnival toque, a carnival drink, a stick of maple taffy & vouchers for food & beverages.

What to Wear?

Quebec is seen to be strongly freezing during the winters. And since the carnival is in February, so visitors are advised to pack heavy. We recommend you to carry warm boots, a winter jacket, snow pants, gloves, and thermal under-wears.

Click here to check a few Canadian-made winter coats to keep you warm at the carnival.

The carnival covers everything one could wish to enjoy their best, from activities, games, foods, and drinks. It brings everyone together and adds happiness to their lives.

I hope you had a good time reading the ‘Guide on Quebec Winter Carnival.’ If you have any experience to share, please feel free to comment below!

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