Head for Snowy Québec’s Winter Festivals
To embrace winter’s climate, Québec has an ingenious antidote: take the party outside. From the home of the snowmobile and the only place in the world you can do ice canoeing, Québecers are known for celebrating the winter season with the province playing host to a variety of festivals, events and shows – a sure-fire way to overcome the winter blues. Here’s a pick of the top fun festivals and events taking place in Canada’s largest province in 2018.
Igloofest, Montréal (18 January to 3 February)
One of Québec’s most exciting festivals, Igloofest bringing fans of electronic music to Montréal’s Old Port each year combining icy décor and architecture with scintillating performances by the best local and international DJs and producers. Despite taking place over four weekends in the height of winter, Igloofest is one of the hottest events in the city. Visitors can stay warm at this open air rave by getting down on the dance floor, getting decked out in winter gear and competing in the winter wear competition, Iglooswag, or exploring the igloo village.
Fête des neiges de Montréal (20 January to 11 February)
Montréal’s snow festival is an outdoor family event taking place at Parc Jean-Drapeau this winter over four weekends in January and February. Activities include ice sculpting where visitors can watch professional ice sculptors Laurent and Nicolas Godon with two 15 minute shows a day along with an interactive demonstration. La Boulathèque offers the kids fun filled shows with the Fête des neiges characters gathering on stage to get people moving about and keeping warm. One of the highlights of the event is the Tour de Lévis observation tower which offers incredible views of Montréal up on Mont Boullé.
Québec City Winter Carnival (26 January to 11 February)
Since 1894 Québec Winter Carnival has been the biggest winter carnival in the world and is set to make its return this winter to celebrate the festive season. The carnival takes place each year in Québec City offering over 200 activities including ice canoeing, an international snow sculpture competition, a night parade with illuminated floats, marching bands and dance troupes who will join all together to commemorate the winter celebration. The Québec Winter Carnival is ranked one of the top three carnivals to visit in the world and is packed with activities for families to enjoy.
Only in Quebec – read about some activities that can only be discovered in the Canadian province.
Winterlude, Outaouais (2 to 19 February)
Outaouais’ annual Winterlude festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2018. Located in Gatineau’s Jacques-Cartier Park, Winterlude takes place at the Snowflake Kingdom and offers the largest winter play area in North America. This year’s festival will take place from 2nd to 19th February 2018 and will include giant slides, snow sculptures of the National Snow Sculpture Rendezvous that will be lit up at night, entertainment from local DJs and the chance to meet the festival’s official mascots, the Ice Hogs. Admission is free.
Montréal en Lumière (22 February to 4 March)
One of the largest winter festivals in the world, Montréal en Lumière is an annual celebration which welcomes over a million attendees each year. The festival takes place outdoors taking over the Quartier des spectacles and its Place des Festivals. Gastronomy is one of the key themes of the festival with fine-dining on offer for all visitors to get involved with including culinary activities, workshops, tastings and conferences. Since the first edition of the festival, over 500 renowned chefs across five continents including the finest Montréal chefs, as well as wine producers and speakers, have taken part. Other highlights include ‘Illuminart’, an exhibition of interactive and illuminated artwork, and ‘Nuite blanche’, known as ‘the wildest night of the year’, attended by 300,000 visitors each year. Celebrating its 15th year in 2018, Nuite blanche takes place at night and offers more than 200 activities which a free shuttle service connecting them.
Jamboree Ski and Snowboard Festival (22 to 25 March)
This March, Québec City will be hosting the 19th edition of the Jamboree Ski and Snowboard Festival, one of the province’s most exciting sporting events. Visitors can walk just a few blocks from their hotel to find massive snow jumps that have been built alongside the road for the festival. Founded in 2005, the four day event will feature four world cups and 175 riders from 30 countries around the world. The highlight of the festival is the Big Air World Cup during which some of the world’s best riders try and perform ground breaking tricks above the crowd. There will also be evening entertainment including outdoor concerts and exhibits.
Looking for a place to stay with a difference, check out Quebec’s quirkiest lodgings.
Main Photo Credit: © Frédérique Ménard Aubin Montréal En Lumière
For more information on Québec’s winter events visit: www.quebecoriginal.com/en-gb/events
Mark Bibby Jackson
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