World’s Biggest Winter Carnival

Quebec’s Winter Carnival is the largest winter festival in the world, dating back to 1894. Its reputation for good times and festivities places it right up there with Rio and New Orleans, albeit with a distinctly icy touch. 475 tons of water is used to create snow sculptures, including an incredible ice palace. There are various competitions, such as dog sledding, canoe and sleigh racing, and things really get hopping when thousands descend for the night parade, ushered in by a boisterous character known as the Bonhomme, and his naughty knights. An added bonus: Old Quebec City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a walled city that is incredibly romantic, distinctly unique, and full of culinary Quebecois delights.

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Length of Trip : 3 – 7 days

Cost :
The Carnaval Effigy is your passport to enjoy 17 days of festivities at the main festival site brimming with activities, sporting competitions, breathtaking entertainment and many other privileges. It costs under CA$15.00.

Best time to go : Winter Carnival usually takes place first two weeks of February.

Wheelchair friendly : Since the site is outside in snow and ice, there is no special wheel chair access, and motorized vehicles are not permitted. Access is allowed but will be challenging. There are disabled washrooms on site.

Family friendly : Yes

Where to eat :
There's great eating to be had at the following:
High end
Initiale - Relais & Châteaux
Restaurant Panache
L’Échaudé
La Fenouillière

Medium
Café de la Paix inc.
Côtes-à-Côtes Resto-Grill
Rôtisserie St-Hubert

Budget
Chez Ashton
Vieille maison du Spaghetti
At the grounds, there are various fast food vendors on site, although the crowds can get busy. You can always leave the grounds for a meal in Old Quebec. Your effigy gets you a discount at participating restaurant partners.

Official Site :
Carnaval de Quebec
Learn more about Canada.

Where to Stay :
Look no further than the spectacular Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, which dominates the Old City skyline with castle-like turrets and steeples.

Getting There :
The capital of Quebec, Quebec City is accessible via daily flights from Toronto. Here are directions from the airport, bus terminal or train stations to the carnival site.

Note from Robin :
It might not look out of place in Europe, but foreign visitors to Old Quebec are thrilled to find well-preserved bastions, gates, and fortified structures dating back to the city’s founding the in the 17th century. According to UNESCO, it is a “remarkable example of a fortified city of the colonial era, and unique north of Mexico.” Strolling along shops, restaurants and cafes, some of Old Quebec’s famous sites include the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Québec and Église Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, the province’s oldest church. Take a walk along the old stone ramparts, or shop in the continent’s oldest shopping district, the pedestrian-only Quartier Petit Champlain.

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Magical Quebec City

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The Palace of Bon Homme

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Fairmont's Chateau Frontenac

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The legendary ice canoe race

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Carnaval grounds

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View of Old Town

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