Carnaval de Québec: Quebec’s Winter Carnival 4

ice castle

Fairmont Chateau Frontenac overlooking Bonhomme’s Ice Castle

The History of Carnaval

Since the first colonizers of New France stepped foot on Québec’s shores, the Québécois have been gathering, before Lent, to eat, drink and party through the hardships of winter. This custom endured in the form of Carnaval, an 1894 reinvention of this long-standing tradition. Today, Québec’s Winter Carnival is the world’s largest winter carnival and third on the list of top carnivals, just after Rio and New Orleans.


Of course, it all has to start (and finish) with an ice glass of Carnaval’s official drink, Caribou. Sante!

Who is Bonhomme?


Bonhomme and I, chillin’ in his ice castle (literally)


 Carnaval struggled to thrive through two wars and an economic crisis. In 1954, a group of business people re-vamped the festivities, creating Bonhomme, the event’s cuddly and cool representative. Everyone looks forward to catching a glimpse of Bonhomme at Carnaval or his parade. The following video shows Bonhomme doing his famous high-kick and waving, proudly, from atop his parade float. We, needless to say, are VERY excited.

Bonhomme’s Ice Castle is a Palace fit for the King of Carnaval!

Beautifully lit, in a rainbow of colors, Bonhomme’s ice castle is tastefully decorated. Antlers and chic ice furniture define his style. Just don’t try to lick the walls. Trust me on this one.

Let’s not forget the dance party!

Every night is party night at Bonhomme’s place, complete with DJ and dance floor.


Over the years, Carnaval has enriched its activity program by adding winter sports, snow sculpture contests and events based on the traditional Québec lifestyle, such as canoe and dogsled racing. So what activities did I take advantage of? Check out the fun videos below!

The snow sculptures are amazing!

And, of course, you have to have your tourtières and poutine!



Take my advice: Get yourself to Carnaval de Québec next year. You’ll love it! Oh and be sure to hug Bonhomme for me!

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Until next time…enjoy your travels!

Erin, The Caffeinated Day Tripper


4 thoughts on “Carnaval de Québec: Quebec’s Winter Carnival

    • Erin Post author

      I’ve been in summer, as well, for the tall ships and it was fantastic. I have to tell you that, after I booked the winter trip, I was a bit hesitant about the cold. But I didn’t even think about the cold most of the time! (Other than walking like the kid in A Christmas Story.) Hope you make it to Quebec and thanks, so much, for the comment. 🙂

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