There is no city that embraces winter better than Quebec City. For two weeks during the coldest part of the year, the city sets out to celebrate winter with Carnaval de Québec. Carnaval de Québec is known as the world’s largest winter festival, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world.
This past weekend was not only our first Winter Carnival, but also our first trip to Quebec City. As we thought of meeting our childhood hero, Bonhomme, and indulging in maple taffy on snow, we eagerly boarded our 6am flight. Unfortunately public transportation from the airport is quite poor and only runs for a couple of hours in the late afternoon. A taxi ride will cost you $35, but you can do what we did and walk about ten minutes down the road to a Couche Tard where you’ll be able to order an Uber for half the price.
Once we reached the city centre, we headed to the toboggan run overlooking the Chateaux Frontenac. The slide is one of Quebec’s oldest attractions, originating in 1884. The run can reach a rushing speed of 70 km per hour, so make sure you hold on to your hat! Cost: $3 per slide of $10 for four slides.
After the quick thrill, we walked over to Chic Shack for the best poutine and burgers in Quebec. I opted for the Le Du Fort and a Vanilla Milkshake.
With full stomachs, we made our way over to the carnival. There’s plenty to see and do including: ferris wheel rides, tubing and tobogganing, dog sledding, human bowling, and viewing ice sculptures. Most activities are free with an effigy pass (cost: $15).
We dined at La Korrigane microbrewery for dinner. The beers at La Korrigane aren’t available anywhere outside the restaurant so you ought to try a few. I highly recommend the honey beer.
We started our second day in Quebec at Le Marche de Vieux Port Farmer’s Market, where we ate churros and tasted different jams and ice ciders. We also checked out the ice fishing and skating located just behind of the Farmer’s Market. After a stroll through the town, we had brunch at Chez Boulay, a top brunch spot in the city. I had the meat pie with a cappuccino.
Unable to resist another thrill, we did the toboggan run again after lunch. Afterwards, we took the funiculaire down to the oldest part of the city. Cost: $2.25 per ride. Once we finished exploring the old town, we looked down on the city from the city’s highest point at the Observatoire de la Capitale. Cost: $10.45 per adult or 2 for 1 with your effigy pass.
We enjoyed our last dinner at Panache, a fine dining restaurant with a warm fireplace and rustic cabin atmosphere.
We woke up super excited to meet Bonhomme in his ice castle on our third and last day in Quebec. Bonhomme is the festival’s ambassador and he’s treated much like Santa Claus by both the young and old. We exchanged a few hugs with Bonhomme before we headed on our ride share journey back home, reminiscing on our best Wintery Weekend yet.
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