The 59th Annual Quebec Winter Carnival 2013 kicked off on February 1, and will continue until February 17. There’s plenty of time to still get there and have the time of your life. This is the third largest festival in the world and the world’s largest winter festival. Dress warm, come hungry and you’ll go away happy…guaranteed.
In less than 24 hours during the opening days of the show I enjoyed sledding on an fast, 120m ice-chute, snow tubing on a long snow hill, human foosball, field hockey, ice skating, cross country skiing, snowshoe races, dog sledding, ice and snow sculptures, winter hot tubs and saunas, dancing under the moonlight, horse-drawn sleighs as well as delicious food and adult beverages. While most activities are outside, there are adequate places to come in, warm up and refuel; so you never need to worry about being outside all day long.
So what’s still going on? Here’s my top ten choices for things I wouldn’t miss if I was still there:
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6) DOGSLED RIDES are available by climbing the hill past the Oreo snow slides. Amarok Expedition had out two teams of 4 to 6 dogs and were offering the opportunity to ride and actually drive the teams yourself. With just a minute or two of instructions, whole families were off around a predetermined course for some quick, fun with dogs that just want to run. This year Winter Carnival, next year the Iditarod?
7) DANCE the night away under the stars (or the snow) to the beats of local DJ’s and the colorful lighting of the giant Ice Palace. Giant fire barrels are spaced around the site to keep you warm; but if you groove enough to the music, you’ll stay plenty toasty.
8) Get crazy and watch the SNOW BATHERS battle the snow with only their bathing suits and some determination at 2 p.m. on February 16. Afterwards, do a favor and buy one of them a hot Caribou drink from Bistro SAQ – oh, so tasty – but powerful – so maybe only have one…or two…or?
9) NIGHT PARADES on February 9 and February 16 feature fantastic costumes, animations and floats; with his ambassadorship Bonhomme ruling over the event.
10) This year’s most anticipated event is the ICE CANOE RACES across the semi-frozen St. Lawrence River. Starting in Quebec, teams paddle when possible, then haul their canoes up onto the ice flows, before going back into the water again, over and over, until they reach the other side of the ice packed river in Levis, Quebec; then back again to Quebec. Spectators can cheer them on from riverside or from high above on Dufferin Terrace next to Fairmont’s Chateau Frontenac.
Want a hotel nearby? Try the Hilton Quebec, just a long block away from the Carnival entrance, with some of the best views of the city from high atop Parliament Hill. Their saunas were very popular with carnival going guests.
If you don’t fill up on Beavertails, and you are looking for something more substantial, try Bistro SAQ. On the carnival grounds, Bistro SAQ has really tasty paninis in either Italian or Ham and Cheese. You must accompany it with the warm mulled Caribou for best effect.
Get going and get to Quebec Winter Carnival before it’s gone for another year. If you’ve already been, tell us what you liked best in the comments box below.
More stories from Quebec you might enjoy:
2013 Quebec Winter Carnival opens February 1st
Wendake for First Nation culture, food and hospitality
Lower Town Quebec and Hotel Le Priori
Upper Town Quebec and Hotel Chateau Laurier Quebec
Best hostel in Canada is Hostel International of Quebec
Bike to the Biosphere in Montreal
Photographic opportunities on the VIA Rail train in Quebec
The Mondial de la Biere event (Beer Show) in Montreal
Biking in Jonquiere, Quebec
Touring Montreal, hotels and restaurants
Tour de L'ile de Montreal (Bike Tour of Montreal)
Discover the island of Ile d'Orleans outside Quebec City
Awaiting the opening of Hotel de Glace (The Ice Hotel)
Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about travel destinations, photography and tech topics across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at email@example.com with suggestions for future stories. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here. For travel ideas in Cleveland and around the world, check his Calendar of Events. To see his travel photo collection, see BardwellPhotography.com.