What to do & What’s New at the Quebec Winter Carnival 2023

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This year’s Quebec Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Quebec) will run from February 4th – 13, 2023. The start date was delayed due to extreme weather warning. This should come as not surprise to anyone living in the Great White North but organizers are being cautious and it is justified. Trust me, I’ve been in Quebec City when it was -25 C and it was not pretty but you just have to dress for the weather.

Fortunately, the weather did not dissuade co-hosts of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna from snowshoeing, toboganning or visiting Bonhome Carnaval in the ice castle! Don’t let the cold weather keep you from having some of the most fun possible during a winter carnival. Thousands will visit to take part in visiting the ice castle, watching night parades, admiring snow and ice sculptures. This year, they will forgo the swim and snow bath but hopefully will still have the taditional canoe races.

Bonhomme Carnaval at the Quebec Winter Carnival - Carnaval de Quebec Photo credit

Bonhomme is the official representative of the Québec Winter Carnival. White as snow, wearing a red tuque and arrow sash of heroes of our past, Bonhomme embodies the joie de vivre of Quebecers!

First appearing in 1955 he welcomes you to celebrate the best of winter fun in the capital of Quebec – Quebec City!

Effigy of the Bonhomme Carnaval at the Quebec Winter Carival in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

The Carnaval de Quebec has different venues.  Access to some of the events requires an Effigy pass, while others are free to watch and experience. It is well worth getting a pass so that you can visit the winter castle (a new design and theme every year). This year has Bonhomme Carnaval roasting a marshmallow over a fire!

Check out the Quebec Winter Carnival schedule to plan your trip.

What to do at the Quebec Winter Carnival

Carnival-goers are invited to a range of new activities including an Urban sliding course, a silent disco, aquafit in a ball-pit swimming pool under an igloo, five evening at Bonhomme’s Palace, and the all-new Videotron Bonhomme’s Campground!

Videotron Bonhomme’s Campground

One major novelty this year is the Videotron Bonhomme’s Campground, located in Parc de la Francophonie. There, Bonhomme’s dream of winter camping with carnival-goers will become a reality! Other must-see attractions will include the Videotron Kart Adventure, a 30-foot ice mountain to climb, the Gnome Rally, a ball-pit swimming pool in a giant igloo, and a range of shows that will get everyone singing and dancing.

Did you know that it will be possible to climb a mountain of ice up to 30 feet at Camp de Bonhomme Vidéotron? This ice climbing experience will be lead by the professionals from AventureX to ascent to the top. These professionals also guide extreme winter sports in Quebec Maritime as well as via ferreta adventures in the summer.

Will you be the king of the mountain?

Carnaval de Quebec Instagram 2023 Bonhomme Castle
Quebec Winter Carnival – Bonhomme Carnaval Palace – Official Instagram page

Night Parades

There are not one but two-night parades (on Saturday, Feb. 4 and Saturday, Feb. 11).  The two parades will each have a different route, one in Upper Town and one in Lower Town. More than 300 artists, dancers and musicians will perform during these two major events.

Held on the Grand Allee, you can walk around and see the different stations.  This year there will be different stations where a variety of performers will entertain and D.J. will also be playing some tunes.  The activities start at 6 pm and the parade starts at 7 pm.  If you wear your Effigy (plastic pass of Bonhomme) you get a few bonuses including a cup of hot chocolate!

Urban Slide

Sliding from the top of the fortified walls is usually not allowed, but the rules change during the carnival! Sitting comfortably on an inner tube, you’ll slide at top speed from Porte Kent to Place d’Youville. This sliding adventure also features music and custom lighting.

Sculptures Snow Route

Ice scupltures are everywhere at the Carnaval de Quebec – Photo credit: Carnaval de Quebec

Always a favourite, the Scotiabank Sculptures Snow Route is back for the third year. There will be about one hundred snow and ice sculptures scattered across several neighbourhoods. For added fun, you use the Carnaval de Quebec App and go on a scavenger hunt. Find 15 different scupltures, collect points and be eligible for prices.

Thes will be Instagram-worthy stops throughout the city! as these artworks are inspired by the history of Francophone music.

Partner events throughout the Capital Region

This winter, the Carnival will shine through the greater region of Quebec thanks to the varied programming of partner Events. From Quebec to Levis, through the Isle of Orleans, the activities are multiplying and there is something for everyone.

Partner events at the Quebec Winter Carival in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Check out the full lineup here: https://carnaval.qc.ca/evenements-partenaires/

There is the Polar Plunge at the Port of Quebec, hot chocolate & cookies at the Aquarium de Quebec, tasting menues at restaurants in the Grande Allee, There is also a Carnival Market where you can pick up some local souvenirs!

If you are looking for free outdoor activities, the Universite de Laval (Laval University) offers skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and trail walks on the university campus during the snowy season. Tuque & Bicycle are offering introductory sessions to fatbikes—those cool winter bikes with oversized tires. On the last weekend (Feb. 10, 11, 12) consider ice fishing at the Nordik Village at the Port of Quebec.

Have you ever wanted to see street hockey in real life? Look no further than Hockey Bottine. Back for the third time at the Quebec Winter Carnival. On Sunday, February 12, neighbourhood hockey teams will face off in Saint-Jean Street, giving their all to win the tournament.

Quebec Winter Carnival 2018 @DownshiftingPRO

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.