The beautiful Old City of Québec, built in 1608 was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and remains a fascinating place for both adults and children. The city hums during Carnival despite the frigid temperatures.
Quebec City is like a perfect amalgam of tasty and picturesque
Paris and as friendly and easygoing
Dublin. (Don’t miss the lovely Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac) The combination of spirited people, superb French cuisine, music, games and outdoor sports, festival madness and stunning nightlife makes for an exciting visit.
Another well known icy-attraction is the Ice Hotel, or Hotel de Glace, which is constructed in early January and last until it melts, usually by early April. This Ice Hotel is (of course) below freezing, and all walls, floors, and furniture are made out of huge blocks of ice. There are a few large exhibition rooms, 34 individual rooms, a few suites and even a chapel where the occasional icy wedding takes place. The Hotel’s stylish Absolute bar (sponsored by the Vodka Company) serves up chilled drinks inside glass shaped ice cubes. A curious phenomenon here is that beers are stored in a refrigerator – to keep them warm enough for consumption! Heavy duty sleeping bags are provided to all overnight guests – but it’s still freaking cold!
More than 300 outdoor shows and activities take place during the Winter Carnival including: snow canoe races, ice car races, outdoor concerts, day and night parades, dog agility competitions and of course, the Snow Bath. Ice Sculpture artists from around the world work long hours creating extraordinary designs of all shapes and sizes displayed all over Quebec City. In fact 370 tons of ice was used in ice sculptures during last year’s festival. There is also plenty of participatory winter fun for everyone such as riding snow rafts down some icy slopes, ice fishing, and dog sledding or being a part of a giant human Foosball game. Plus, the exquisite dining choices in
Quebec City are alone worth the visit.
Charming year round, the dead of winter may be the time when
Quebec City is at its most eloquent. Many people might think it’s crazy to willingly stand on the street in the freezing cold at night to watch a parade, but it can be wonderful. “We’ve learned to embrace the cold, not fear it,” said Nicole Bergeron, a native Québécois, watching the colorful floats and bands pass on by. And embrace it they do. Despite February’s chill,
Quebec truly may be the warmest place on earth, with heat emanating from the people who breathe color and life into the cold, dark Canadian night.
For more information see: www.carnaval.qc.ca
See previous WInter Carnival article: www.aerochug.com/examiner/x-4791-SF-International-Travel-Examiner~y2010m1d21-Quebec-Citys-Winter-Carnival-A-hot-time-in-a-cold-clime
All text & photos c. Bob Ecker
Sidebar: “Caribou” is the customary drink at the Quebec Winter Carnival. According to legend, the recipe originally combined brandy with Caribou blood. In actuality this drink is made of brandy, vodka, sherry and port, a sweet, highly alcoholic drink that enables imbibers to happily survive the