Monday, February 21, 2011

Quebec City's Winter Carnival is the Winter Olympics of Fun

The Québécoise call it "the real winter game." I can see why. . .it's not for anyone timid about being in cold and snow! Carnaval de Quebec is the grandest celebration of winter and has been on my bucket list for years. I finally made it!

For 57 years, Quebec City has thrown this 17-day party that includes day and nighttime parades, music, dancing, fireworks, ice sculptures and lots and lots of sport activities. It's an ambitious, fun and beautiful fete to winter. Entrance to the Fun Park is a mere $12 for the entire 17 days; the street parades and many other events are free.
The gang at the night parade. Photo/Dino Vournas

Everything one can do in snow and on ice is here: from popular activities like ice skating, snow rafting, ice slides, Nordic skiing, dog sledding and sleigh rides to crazy adventures like snow baths and canoe races in the icy St. Lawrence River to exciting spectator events like the St. Hubert Derby (horse racing with sleighs). People come from all over the world to revel in winter like the Quebecoise!
St. Hubert Derby
A Snow Bath at -10 C

Tim Johnson, a journalist from Toronto, rides the Zip Line high above the Fun Park.

Reigning over it all is the lovable, ever-present larger-than-life mascot called Bonhomme. He is Carnaval's Rock Star, appearing everywhere—skating with the children, cheering with the crowds, kicking off events—and always, always commanding huge audiences wherever he goes. He holds a special fascination with women, who just giggle in his huge presence!

Edmonton journalist Jody McKague, me and Tim Johnson, giggling!
Photo by Dino Vournas
Photo by Dino Vournas

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