FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Winter Carnival, Québec

Sep 21, 2015

You don’t have to love snow and ice to enjoy Québec City’s annual extravaganza of all things winter, but it helps. For an activity-packed 17 days — Jan. 29 to Feb. 14, 2016 — the Québécois don’t just skate and ski on it. They celebrate it, slide down it, carve it into works of art, drive dog teams over it, build castles with it, make candy out of it, even sleep in it.

Québec Winter Carnival engulfs the city. On a toboggan slide beside the historic Château Frontenac, three toboggans filled with revelers race down parallel chutes. A huge ice palace with towers to climb fills Place Loto-Québec. Find the best view of the palace from above, atop the city’s famous ramparts — Québec is North America’s only walled city.

View from the ice palace

View from the ice palace © Stillman Rogers Photography

On two frosty Saturday nights, the whole city bundles up to watch a parade where more than 600 colorfully costumed people create a mobile stage show of floats, performers, dancers and bands. More cheering spectators crowd the riverside terraces to watch a canoe race across the wide St. Lawrence. Competing teams propel massive canoes through the freezing water and over an expanse of moving, tilting ice slabs that jam its surface.

Most of the activities take place on the Plains of Abraham, Québec’s huge city-center park on a high bluff overlooking the river. Lining its wide promenade, dozens of giant sculptures await the judges at the International Snow Sculpture Competition. Beyond stretch snow-covered acres of sleigh and dogsled rides, a giant outdoor hot tub, ice towers to climb, tubing and snowboarding parks, igloos, zip lines, skating rinks, free ski lessons for kids, live entertainment stages and events that include the popular Snow Bath, with competing teams in bathing suits rolling in the snow.

Look for the Cabane à Sucre — Sugar Shack — where you can sample traditional chewy sweet candy made by pouring maple syrup onto snow. The nearby Ice Bar serves up another winter tradition: a steaming Caribou concocted of warm Port wine, rum and maple syrup.

You may want another of these if you elect to spend the night at the continent’s only ice hotel. Guests at Hôtel de Glace sleep bundled into down-filled sleeping bags on beds carved of ice in a building constructed entirely of ice. Themed rooms and suites are designed anew each year and melt away in the spring. You can tour the hotel and have a drink at its Ice Bar without staying the night.

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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