Quebec: inside the world's biggest winter carnival

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Attracting 500,000 people to Quebec City every year, the Carnaval de Québec is a riotous 17-day snowfest that will blow the winter chill right out of you.

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  • Welcome to Quebec's winter carnival
    © Alexander Blinov/123RF
    Welcome to Quebec's winter carnival

    Nowhere hosts a winter party like Quebec City.

  • Ice palace
    © Rusty Elliott/123RF
    Ice palace

    Built in a different style every year, using 300lb blocks of ice imported from Montreal, ticket holders are free to wander its rooms and various activities including spas, gyms, playgrounds and even temporary museum exhibitions.

  • Dog sledding
    © Melissa Schalke/123RF
    Dog sledding

    A taste of dog sledding at the winter carnival will have you booking a day-long trip.

  • Snow sculptures
    © Zeljka Burazin/123RF
    Snow sculptures

    The International Snow Sculpture competition displays its fruits across an entire field and showcase the very best of both Quebecois and wider Canadian artists.

  • Maple taffy
    © marcbruxelle/123RF
    Maple taffy

    Otherwise known as tooth-breaker taffy.

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Nowhere hosts a winter party like Quebec City. Every year the Canadian city shrugs off hibernation and emerges for a riotous 17-day snowfest that will blow the winter chill right out of you, otherwise known as the Carnaval de Québec.

It's a tradition that stretches back over 60 years in this glacial city, often considered entirely uninhabitable during the winter by outsiders. But whilst the cold hasn't let up by the end of January, the carnival celebrations make a trip all the more worthwhile.

Originally dreamed up as a pre-lenten party, the carnival has come from small beginnings to rival some of Rio's finest celebrations. It now attracts an astonishing 500,000 people every year, many of them young families in search of fun in the snow.

Best moments 2016

A $15 ticket will grant keen beans entrance to all 17 days of the festival, whose glorious centrepiece is an enormous, fully functioning ice palace. Built in a different style every year, using 300lb blocks of ice imported from Montreal, ticket holders are free to wander its rooms and various activities including spas, gyms, playgrounds and even temporary museum exhibitions.

The 17 days pack in an incredible volume of events and activities, from the Snowboard World Cup to night parades and the International Snow Sculpture competition, whose fruits are lovingly displayed across an entire field and showcase the very best of both Quebecois and wider Canadian artists.

For kids, activities abound with ice slides, snow tubes and toboggans (all available for adults too), as well as an area to try out ice fishing - an added incentive to make a catch is that you can have it cooked fresh for free.

The festival's night parades take place over two of the three weekends and feature floats, singers, jugglers and, the festival mascot himself, Bonhomme. As night falls, you'll also find hockey touraments kicking off and festivities continuing late into the night.

For more information on any of the carnival's events, visit the official Carnaval de Québec website.

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Posted on 02/01/2017 28 shares
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