Quebec Winter Carnival: Everything You Need to Know

As winter blankets the charming city of Quebec with a pristine layer of snow, locals and visitors alike eagerly await the arrival of one of the most festive and iconic events of the season – the Quebec Winter Carnival. This annual celebration, known for its vibrant atmosphere and unique activities, has been a staple in the hearts of Quebecers for over six decades.

History of the Quebec Winter Carnival

The roots of the Quebec Winter Carnival trace back to 1894 when the first winter carnival was organised as a response to the gloomy winter months. However, it wasn't until 1955 that the modern version of the festival we know today was established. Today, the Québec Winter Carnival is undeniably a major winter event and continues to be a driving force in Quebec’s winter life. Carnaval de Québec, is one of the world's largest and most iconic winter festivals. Held annually in Quebec City, this lively celebration of winter boasts a rich history, vibrant traditions, and a wide array of activities that make it a must-visit event.

Key Events and Activities

The Quebec Winter Carnival is renowned for its diverse and entertaining events that cater to visitors of all ages. From the iconic Bonhomme Carnaval, the festival's lovable mascot, to the exhilarating night parades and the famous ice canoe race on the icy St. Lawrence River, there's something for everyone. The festival's program includes concerts, snow sculpture competitions, outdoor dance parties, and more.

Bonhomme Carnaval – The Festival's Iconic Mascot

No discussion about the Quebec Winter Carnival is complete without mentioning Bonhomme Carnaval, the festival's beloved mascot. Bonhomme is the official representative of the Québec Winter Carnival. White as snow, wearing a red tuque and arrow sash of heroes of the past, Bonhomme embodies the joie de vivre of Quebecers!

Culinary Delights at the Carnival

Quebec is renowned for its delectable cuisine, and the winter carnival is no exception. Indulge in a variety of traditional Quebecois dishes and warm beverages to keep the winter chill at bay when visiting the carnival. Keep it classic with Maple Taffy -  hot maple syrup poured onto snow then lapped up with a popsicle stick to create a sticky sweet lollipop or, tuck into; BeaverTails - hot fried dough topped with decadent indulgences or, go savoury with a bowl of steaming hot French Onion Soup.

Beyond the Carnival: Exploring Quebec City

While the carnival itself is a major draw, don't miss the opportunity to explore the enchanting city of Quebec. Discover its historic Old Town, visit iconic landmarks like the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, and indulge in delicious Quebecois cuisine.

Starting from Skratch? Here are a few tips to get you started:

Fancy exploring more of Quebec? Take a look here!

Quebec - Facts before you go


💵 Canadian Dollar (CA$)


🇫🇷 French


💰 Tip 15% of the total bill.

Known for

🍁 Maple Syrup Production

🏒 Ice Hockey

🎭 Comedy

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Imogen Kemp
December 18, 2023

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