Every year, Quebec comes alive with the Carnival de Quebec, an event mixing ice sculptures, family fun and plenty of good food and drink. It’s the highlight of the year for many locals, plus it attracts visitors from throughout the world.

Experiencing Quebec’s Winter Carnival this year (7-16 February) should be on everyone’s to-do list. Why not check out some of the amazing things on offer there by reading below?

1. Visit Bonhomme’s Winterland


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Before you do anything else, you should check out Bonhomme’s Winterland.

Bonhomme is a seven-foot snowman and mascot of the entire event, and his Winterland is full to the brim of things for the whole family to do.

Just some of the activities you’ll find there include ice sledding, human foosball and even dog sledding. It’s possible to spend hours wandering around, especially if you take in some of the events, such as the snow sculpture competition, which is mentioned further down this page.

2. Head to the Night Parades


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Night parades are held on the 2nd and 3rd weekends of the festival and are seriously big. The streets are always crowded for these parades, but don’t worry: there are usually plenty of vantage points, so you won’t miss a thing.

If you’re looking for the best parade, we’d recommend heading to the Charlesbourg Night Parade, which is one of the most exciting parades on offer.

You’ll be able to watch for an hour as the parade keeps on coming, throwing up treats like marching bands, musicians and dancers.

3. See the City Aboard the Ferris Wheel


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If you want the best view of the Winter Carnival, you have to take a seat aboard the huge Ferris wheel. The fairground is only minutes away from Old Quebec and should be pretty easy to find, thanks to the looming wheel overhead.

That’s not all you’ll find in the fairground though. Those looking for some adrenaline can get themselves catapulted into the sky by riding the Super Shot, while kids will love the bouncy houses and the ice slides.

New additions are added every year, meaning that there’s always something new and exciting to experience.

4. Quench Your Thirst with Some Caribou

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If you’re heading to the carnival, you absolutely have to try some Caribou, an alcoholic drink loved by almost everyone tasting it. When served warm, it’s also perfect for fighting off the freezing temperatures.

You’ll find Caribou being sold everywhere, and some places even serve it up in little ice glasses.

But what is it? Well, it’s a mix of red wine, brandy, maple syrup and various spices. It’s pretty strong stuff, so maybe limit yourself to just a glass or two, if you can!

5. Watch the Ice Canoe Race


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The Ice Canoe Race is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the entire festival, as teams of canoers compete with others to cross the frozen waters of the St. Lawrence River. For the best view, nab a place on the Quebec ferry.

The main events are the races, but there are also plenty of other things going on too. Make sure you get there early, as if you don’t, you’ll miss out on the Western pre-race show, when country music is blasted through the speakers in a bid to get the crowd excited and ready for the upcoming races.

6. Check Out the International Snow Sculpture Competition

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The International Snow Sculpture Competition is absolutely amazing to watch. Over hours and hours of hard work, contestants create stunning works of art using nothing but snow. The winner is decided by a public vote, so make sure you get your say!

You’ll also find that there’s a superb ice sculpting workshop available to everyone, from children through to grandparents.

Led by the creator of the amazing Ice Palace, it’ll teach you how to carve out beautiful pieces – although they probably won’t be quite as spectacular as those presented in the competition.

7. Stay at Le Monastère des Augustines

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After a long day (and possibly night, depending on your tolerance for Caribou), you’ll want to stay somewhere truly luxurious. This is exactly what you’ll find when you book yourself a room at Le Monastère des Augustines.

This hotel is a former convent and still has many original features. You’ll be able to sleep in cells previously occupied by nuns, giving you a really unique experience.

The relaxation doesn’t stop with the bedrooms though, as you’ll also find yoga and healing sessions offered, to help you recover from the hedonism of the carnival.

8. Visit Bonhomme’s Ice Palace

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The Ice Palace is the centrepiece of the entire event and truly is a spectacular construction. Adults will love the craftsmanship that has gone into its creation, while kids will be entertained throughout by various exhibits.

While inside, you’ll find everything from Bonhomme’s own home, through to pieces celebrating the history of the Winter Carnival.

During the night, it’s turned into something akin to a nightclub, with DJs, dancing and plenty of alcohol. Night-time is also when the palace looks most spectacular, as it’s lit up with bright lights.

9. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

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If you’ve got a sweet tooth, the Winter Carnival is the perfect place for you!

Perhaps the most famous delicacy on offer is the super tasty maple taffy, which is maple syrup drizzled on snow and then allowed to harden.

You’ll also find Beaver Tails, another popular snack among festival goers. These traditional pastries are covered with cinnamon and sugar, providing a much-needed sugar boost when you’re starting to flag.

You’ll find these tasty treats, as well as other culinary delights, being sold all over the festival.

10. Treat the Kids to the Play Area

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Finally, here’s one for the kids: the play area.

This isn’t just a small play park, but instead a huge area full of things every kid loves to do. While the kids run around enjoying themselves, you can sneak in another warming glass of Caribou.

In the play park kids will find sledding, ziplines and even a small petting zoo. More adventurous kids can climb up the super climbing wall, while others can enjoy the giant puppets. There really is enough in the play area to keep a kid amused for hours!