The Quebec Winter Carnival
Write a review
About
The Quebec Winter Carnival is the world's largest winter carnival that honours long-time traditions. The first winter carnival was held in 1894. Many people sport red colours and move to the sound of trumpets as they participate in a variety of activities. Since the beginning of the carnival, its purpose has been to warm everyone's hearts during the winter's hardships by eating, drinking and being happy! The carnival continues to lift spirits, and now has an enhanced programme with a variety of activities including sled dog races, ice canoe races and ice sculptures made from artists around the world.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.

Top ways to experience nearby attractions

Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.0
148 reviews
Excellent
62
Very good
44
Average
16
Poor
12
Terrible
14

TO-psych
Toronto, Canada328 contributions
Feb. 2022
I attended the first night of Carnaval today (Feb. 4, 2022). This is an iconic Quebecois event that all Canadians learn about in school during French class! I have always wanted to check it out and even though things were different this year (due to the pandemic and the trucker's convoy/protest) I am glad I came!

I bought my effigy at the entrance gate. I didn't have to wait more than a minute in line. They charged me $15 even though the website says if you buy at the door it is $25 ($15 if you buy in advance, either online and get it mailed to you or from Couche-Tard convenience stores). The effigy is a little tag you attach to your coat zipper to show you have paid. It gets you entrance to Carnaval events for the duration of the entire festival, so it's great value! You also get a coupon booklet for different restaurants/attractions. They will check your vaccine passport when you buy your effigy and give you a wrist band which shows you have shown your proof of vaccination.

From a COVID perspective, they have done everything to ensure it is a safe experience for all. Stations are spread out and when crowding might occur (Bonhomme's ice palace), you must wear your mask, even though it is outdoors. What a stark contrast to the protesters across the street... The parliament building is across from one of the Carnaval sites (Bonhomme's palace aka the Loto Quebec zone), so it was an awkward situation. The group was small but noisy, with truckers constantly honking their horns. But I did not feel unsafe, there was no violence, and there were police around. Nonetheless, it did sort of change the festive mood a bit.

There are 3 main areas for the Carnaval, a short walk from each other. The Loto zone has the ice castle, bars, snacks, a small ice slide for kids. Then up the street there is the Cadbury site which has bigger slides you can go down in a tube. Across the street from that is another area with axe throwing, a hockey-inspired game, a dance videogame competition (like Dance Dance Revolution), snow sculptures, cozy outdoor firepits, a bar, washrooms and it looked like a little indoor chalet where you could eat.

Along La Grand Allee, there are some information displays regarding the floats used in the parades and there are some set ups where you can take photos on the floats.

I definitely recommend getting a drink to warm up! They have hot chocolate, tea, coffee as well as alcoholic drinks like liquor served in ice shot glasses or mulled wine. Prices are very reasonable. I had the "Ponce du Carnaval" for $6.75 (gin, syrup, spiced rum) which comes in a cute souvenir mug that you get to keep!

The website is organized with a schedule of events and map.

Around the city there are Carnaval displays and ice sculptures to enjoy! Definitely read up on the history of the carnaval to get the most out of your experience.

Some events are cancelled due to COVID, such as the parade and the "snow bath" (which has gone virtual). Even on opening night (a Friday), it was not that busy but it was a fun and unique experience that I would recommend to anyone!
Written February 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sean M
3 contributions
Feb. 2020
We taught ourselves the unofficial National anthem of Quebec on the flight to Quebec City Winter Carnival. It was beautiful and wonderful. My partner was from Australia and never experienced weather below double digits (much less below zero!) and she is a total convert. Warm friendly people, top class food and service and the prices reasonable. We're going back!
Written March 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Alan D
2 contributions
Feb. 2020
If you get chance and are able to afford to do this, do it.
We’ve recently returned from a week at the ice festival and I must say it’s been one of the best holidays ever, if you like Christmas and the snow then this is a must. They leave up all the Christmas decorations for the ice festival in February and with all the snow it’s just magical. We do the Christmas markets each year so we have all the gear but looking at the temperatures we went out and bought extra clothes, good move. I had thermal long johns, two thermal tops, thermal fleece a down coat and a sky coat on at night when temperatures dropped to -22 and by day at -14 the same apart from the down coat and one thermal top. Plenty of places to eat and plenty to do, not cheap for us brits but a once in a lifetime holiday, I could go on and on about this holiday but in a word...magical
Written February 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

mikedF5820BB
Mississauga, Canada27 contributions
Feb. 2020
We had a terrific time in Quebec City for the Carnaval. We bought VIP tickets for the parade on Saturday night. What a spectacle! We had great seats, a free huge fleece carnaval blanket , free hot chocolate and a couple of glasses of wine, all included in the price($75/pp). We saw the ice canoe races, lots of ice carving, i rode the toboggan ride behind the Chateau Frontenac, and we heard plenty of great music. Everyone was super friendly and and speaking english was never a concern. I would highly recommend this great even, just remember, its bloody cold there so layer up and leave your running shoes at home ! .
Written February 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Travel_Bugforever57
Burlington, Canada76 contributions
Feb. 2020
I went with 2 friends and we had a blast. I had read reviews from 2019's Carnival, and they were not too positive. I can say that this year's was absolutely enjoyable. We did arrive when 50cm of snow had fallen, which added to the ambience, albeit bad for parking...LOL. We managed. We did tubing, played hockey, tobogganed down the glissade, twice...once in the day time and another at night. Maple syrup taffy on a stick, walked through the old city...watched the canoe race on the frozen St. Lawrence river, etc. etc. etc. I highly recommend it! Don't forget to visit the Ice Hotel in Valcartier, and visit the Montmorency Falls!
Written February 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Andrea M
Maine2 contributions
Feb. 2020 • Friends
Fantastic time in Quebec. It’s cold, but well worth it! I highly recommend going to the ice castle and hopefully you’ll get to meet Bonhomme!
Written February 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

DadFromMaine
Maine364 contributions
Feb. 2020
I live in a cold place, so I know hard it can be to organize winter activities. Quebec City saw a raging blizzard on opening day of Carnival this year. And cold! But when we arrived the next day, everything was good to go. Such energy! We did not do many activities.....mostly wandered around. So we didn’t buy the entry token. But it was still fun. We DID do the opening weekend parade. We wandered over to Grand Allee about 7:45 after dinner. And the parade came by about 15 minutes later. It lasted about an hour (maybe a bit longer), which was perfect considering it was about 5 degrees fahrenheit. Our kids (7 and 11) really enjoyed it. Spectacular. We did not do the new sliding hill, because we did the tobaggan run on Terrasse Dufferin instead. If we were in town longer, we would have done more Carnaval activities. We did see some snow sculptures, etc. And the ice castle looked cool. Warning: some streets are blocked off, and there are big crowd. But no problem for us. Go!
Written February 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SadieFrost8
Ottawa, Canada208 contributions
Feb. 2020 • Family
Wow, we have been attending Carnival for years and now it seems to only cater to adults. We use to enjoy the tubbing and ice slides. We only saw one or two this year. We have a free Winterlude festival in Ottawa that now surpasses Carnival in every way. This year there were plenty of slides, ziplining lining and tubing in Ottawa. It's such a shame that Carnival has become such a ridiculous spectacle. We actually enjoyed being in the lower section than the Carnival actual site. Good luck with your winter festival we won't be returning.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

merlinsurrietrekker
Glenshaw, PA716 contributions
Feb. 2019 • Couples
Our first visit to the city was for CARNAVAL. Such fun and loads to see and do. We enjoyed the music, activities, food, beverages, but especially the maple taffy!
Do take the opportunity to visit for CARNAVAL!
Written July 19, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mustang Sally
6 contributions
Feb. 2019
Some of the best little restaurants and walks in the snow ever! Great good, great drinks, great people! Be prepared for cold.....I would have brought ski type glasses for my eyes. The parade was pretty late by the time it finally got to us.....hopefully they will change that.
Written May 10, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Showing results 1-10 of 98
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

THE QUEBEC WINTER CARNIVAL (Quebec City) - 2022 What to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about The Quebec Winter Carnival


Restaurants near The Quebec Winter Carnival: View all restaurants near The Quebec Winter Carnival on Tripadvisor