If your family is craving the ultimate winter wonderland experience, Quebec City, Canada, delivers just that!
Winter Wonderland Getaway in Quebec City
Located in the Quebec province along the Saint Lawrence River, Quebec City is primarily French-speaking and offers visitors all of the old-world charm of Europe without leaving North America. The absolute best time to visit is during the annual Winter Carnival, which runs for two weeks from late January to February. The 2017 carnival runs from Jan. 27 through Feb. 12.
How to Get There
Fly into Quebec City (YQB) and rent a car at Quebec International Aiport. It’s just a 25-minute drive to the Historic District of Old Quebec, the only walled city north of Mexico and the site of the Winter Carnival.
Where to Stay
The iconic Château Frontenac towers over the old city, providing a picturesque skyline along the Saint Lawrence River. The hotel’s location is ideal for families visiting during the Winter Carnival as it’s only a short walk to many of the activities.
What to Do
To attend the Quebec City Winter Carnival you need to purchase an Effigy (a pass that hangs on your jacket) for everyone 8 years old and up -- children 7 years old and younger get in free! This gives you access to the festival’s complete lineup of activities, including sporting competitions and entertainment.
Here are a few activities not to miss:
Bonhomme’s Ice Palace – Bonhomme, AKA “Good Man”, is the official mascot of the Winter Carnival. You can visit him across from the Parliament Building at his magnificent ice palace, which changes theme from year to year.
International Snow Sculpture Competition – You’ll be amazed at the works of art that can be created from ice and snow. Sculptors from around the world come to compete in this annual event at Parc de l'Amérique-Française.
Giant Ice Slide – The 120-meter slide is made entirely out of ice. Sleds can be rented for a thrilling trip over the famous ramparts of Quebec City.
What to Eat
The Quebec City Carnival wouldn’t be a carnival without some amazing food. But you won’t find cotton candy and popcorn at this festival. Instead, visitors can enjoy delicious treats from local vendors, including beaver tails (fried dough topped with cinnamon and sugar or Nutella), maple taffy (maple syrup poured on snow and wrapped around a stick) and poutine (French fries topped with gravy and fresh cheese curds).
If you can’t make a trip with your family during the Winter Carnival, don’t fret— Quebec City isn’t any less magical once the event is over. The snowy landscape remains long after the celebration, and there are plenty of things to see and do, including ice canoeing, dog sledding, ice fishing, ice skating, skiing and snow tubing.
Another attraction not to be missed is Hotel de Glace, one of only a handful of ice hotels in the world. You can tour the hotel, made entirely out of ice and snow, in the afternoon, or choose to spend a night. There are rooms large enough for families and special sleeping bags are given to children so they can warm up quickly. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!