The oldest event hosted in Canada to break up the monotony of short days and frosty nights is the Québec Winter Carnival, which started as an annual tradition in 1954. Everyone is welcome, and if you don’t speak French, don’t worry—those who work in the restaurant or tourism industries will cheerfully do so.
Each year, thousands of tourists flock to Québec to take part in family-friendly activities like ice skating, night parades, and snow sculptures.
And if you’re worrying about how chilly it will be, reconsider! You won’t notice it’s freezing at Carnival since you’ll move around and layering so much.
Québec Winter Carnival
This carnival, the most significant winter celebration in the world, draws a million visitors each year! This winter festival’s representative is Bonhomme Carnaval.
The Québec Carnival is one of our favorite student vacation places and activities! Québec City, one of Canada’s loveliest towns and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the ideal fairy-tale setting for anybody learning French or looking to step outside their comfort zone on a winter student vacation.
The first significant snow festival in Québec was held in 1894 due to this yearly celebration during the coldest and darkest months. The Québec Winter Carnival was revived and modernized in 1954 by a group of Québec businesspeople to draw tourists and support the region’s economic development after being interrupted throughout the years by both World Wars and the Great Depression.
The French-Canadian custom of a huge feast, live music, dancing, and gigues was followed by the New France settlers as they celebrated (traditional French-Canadian dances).
The rest is history, as they say! The Quebec Daily Telegraph’s owner and managing editor, Frank Carrel, devised the idea for the Carnival to cheer people up throughout the winter. More than 500,000 people now attend the carnival each year.
Its official representation is Bonhomme, a giant snowman who always dons a red cap, black buttons, and an “arrowed sash.” He rules over his ice castle and leads a night procession through the illuminated and ice-decorated Grande Allée. Axe tossing, the yearly ice canoe race on the St. Lawrence River, and—for the truly daring—the Snow Bath, a unique fusion of snowdrifts and swimming trunks, are other events.
The Ice Canoe Race
You’ve come to the right place if you want a more frantic and dramatic authentic Carnival experience. The annual ice canoe race delivers every bit of the wild winter sport you may expect.
The event has roots in New-First France’s Nations and early immigrants, who built boats from birch bark to traverse the river during winter with food and medicine. The Algonquian term Kébec, which means “where the river narrows,” is the source of the word Quebec, which means “where the river freezes” and can produce a natural ice bridge.
Nevertheless, most locations along the massive St-Lawrence River are only possible with a canoe. The only thing left for contemporary transportation and connection between coastlines is a gratifying sport for Carnival attendees to watch!
The specific vantage points from which spectators watch the race are Terrasse Dufferin, the hotel rooms at Château Frontenac, or the riverfront next to Le Petit Champlain and Place Royale if you want to see the race while on your student vacation.
Check the itinerary because it usually happens every second Saturday of the Carnival.
Ice Palace, ice slides, and parades!
Visit Bonhomme Carnaval’s residence, the Ice Palace, as one of the other traditional Carnival activities! The castle’s design varies with each edition and comprises 2000 ice chunks weighing around 300 pounds each.
A spa area, Bonhomme’s office, a welcome space, a museum room containing items from earlier editions, a children’s playroom, and a gym have all been a part of the Palace in prior years.
And it’s all arranged in the form of a snowflake. Speaking of craftsmanship, A night procession occurs every Saturday night throughout the 17-day Winter Carnival.
Various floats with singers, jugglers, and marching bands are displayed during the parade, lasting around 30 minutes before Bonhomme closes it out.
The floats often feature aspects of Québec’s nature, music, and culture. It’s a requirement for any Carnival schedule, so dress warmly, choose an excellent location, and be ready to dance the chilly weather away!
The Plains of Abraham, along Grande-Allée, and all other Carnival venues are also accessible to you with your puppet. At these locations, you may partake in lumberjack competitions, try out ice slides, see snow sculpture artists at work, and more.
Winter Carnival is the ideal opportunity to sample “Beaver Tails,” also known as Queues de Castor, a tasty type of doughnut that is flat and fashioned like, you got it, a beaver’s tail.
Families may locate a more upscale location to purchase these traditional sweets in Old Québec’s lower town, just adjacent to “Cochon Dingue,” a popular spot to eat and sip hot chocolate. While the carnival fairgrounds often provide a variety of choices, such as a Barbecue shack and an inside dining area.
You may participate in this traditional winter pastime at the carnival. This dog sledding trip is highly advised. Sled dogs will drag you through the snow while you feel the cold wind on your face.
Also, the sled dogs like running and being outside in the snow, so don’t worry about this trip’s moral implications. The dog-sledding businesses in Quebec have incredibly high standards and provide excellent animal care.
Across from Camp à Jos, on the Christie North Slope, is a tube ride. It’s a leisurely 300-foot fall, making it suitable for children and anyone without the adventurous gene. Another option is the enormous tube park in Village Vacances Valcartier, which features runs for everyone. There are slopes for everyone, from the calm to the hair-raising.
Q: What is Quebec Winter Carnival
The Quebec Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Quebec) organizes one of the most remarkable events in the world by taking advantage of the lengthy, bitter Canadian winters.
Q: When Quebec winter carnival is celebrated?
To break up the monotony and extreme cold of winter, family, and friends would get together in January to mid-February in colonial New France (1534–1763), which is where the custom of celebrating in the middle of winter originated in Québec.
Every year, almost a million people attend this winter carnival, which lasts for 10 days. It serves as the finest winter party in the world, giving the people of Quebec an excuse to come out of their winter hibernation each year and enjoy themselves.
At two locales, the Québec Winter Carnival has occasionally staged night parades. A procession featuring enormous inflatable figures may also be present during the day. Both children and adults gather in the snow-covered streets to see a spectacle of vibrant acts. The two-night parades with the Carnival star are not to be missed.