Warming up to Quebec’s Winter Carnival

Updated: Feb 14, 2020

Bonhomme, the friendly snowman mascot of Quebec City’s Winter Carnival is everywhere this week. He's in the lobby of the Chateau Frontenac and at the Carnival venues spread around town. With the purchase of a $20 pass or effigie, visitors can access the different sites as many times as they want for 10 days. Since children under 12 are free, it really is a bargain. Visitors with young children can have a Disney World-type experience for a fraction of the cost of a visit to Florida. We've seen children as young as one enjoy the snow tube rides and ice slides. Carnival is fun for all ages, but adults would probably have as much fun on any winter week as during Carnival. For us, the most fun has been riding the toboggan at the Chateau Frontenac and that attraction is available from December through the end of March. We love warming up in cozy traditional sugar shack restaurants and drinking hot wine or spiced cider by the fireplace. Exploring the old town and learning about the history of Quebec has been great too. If you plan to come to carnival in the future, here's a little overview to get you inspired. The tradition goes back to 1894 but hasn't been yearly since 1955 when it was formally named the Bonhomme Carnaval.

The main attraction is a lavish ice palace that includes slides and videogame-inspired mazes and interactive challenges. An electric light parade is held on the weekends and there is an ice canoe race on the frozen St. Lawrence River too. A new venue this year features a terrifying snow tube ride and a very gentle tube ride for the little ones (and for the timid adults). Snow and ice sculptures are everywhere at the Carnival venues and throughout the lower old town. Traditional snacks served are Caribou (high proof mulled wine) and beaver tails (a pastry not a rodent) and maple syrup candy made in by pouring hot syrup on the cold snow.

The ice bar with drinks served in ice glasses is a popular Carnival meeting place.

Videogames in the Ice Palace are this year's theme.

The Carnival is a winter wonderland that even toddlers can enjoy.

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