If you can’t beat winter, why not embrace it?
That’s the philosophy behind the Québec Winter Carnival, celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014.
Host Paule Bergeron with Québec City Tourism explains: “Winter is something we are born with. We forget that we are taking some of you out of your comfort zone, but we hope you leave here with a new vision of what winter can be like.”
Here are a few highlights of my visit to this year’s festival:
Bonhomme – Winter Carnival’s Beloved Roving Ambassador
With his perpetual smile and positive energy, Bonhomme (“Good Man”) embodies joie de vivre (“joy of living”), the heart of the city’s fun festivities. Cheerful and expressive, he frequently tells children around him: “I love you so much!”
Ever the diplomat, he deftly side-steps my question, “You’re cheering for the Seattle Seahawks against the Broncos in the Super Bowl, aren’t you?” He responds gently, “That’s a delicate question.”
A good and wise man it turns out.
As a genial host, Bonhomme warmly welcomes visitors to tour his new home, the Ice Palace, for a glimpse into his private life. He knows that people are curious about what he likes to eat (“Cold things”),
where he sleeps and showers
and what he does for fun inside the 40 foot tall structure constructed from 300 tons of ice. Here guests can walk through his living and sleeping areas, including the kitchen and dining room, plus view photos taken with famous celebrities from past Winter Carnivals.
Maple Taffy Sticks
What’s not to love about a taffy stick treat made with boiling maple syrup and clean snow? After the syrup is poured onto the snow, we let it cool briefly before pressing the stick in the syrup. Rolling the maple syrup around our sticks, voila!
We have a tasty taffy snack to go.
Winter Carnival expands to eight neighborhood streets in addition to the main site on the Plains of Abraham in 2014. Happenings include street performers, lumberjack ax throwing and curling demonstrations that add to the Carnival atmosphere throughout the city.
Winter Carnival Activities
Whatever winter activities you can imagine, you will find them here at the Québec Winter Carnival. From dog-sledding to carriage and Ferris wheel rides, hockey tournaments to ice fishing, snow sculpture competitions to spa treatments – and don’t forget snow-shoeing, canoe racing, human-size table soccer, winter camping and the world’s largest snowball fight –
well, you begin to understand why Québec is well on its way to achieving its vision of becoming the “Snow Capital of the World by 2020.”
When You Go
Wondering how you can join the fun? Purchase a Carnival Effigy (small, plastic Bonhomme figure which you can attach to your outerwear) for $15.00 (or $45.00 for a family of four) as your passport to 17 days of Winter Carnival activities. Such a deal!
For further information, be sure to check the official Carnaval de Québec website.
Keep on moving and dancing, Wanderboomers!
What’s your favorite Winter Festival, wanderboomers?