5 Québec Winter Destinations Worth a Visit
Québec is “La Belle Province,” and is especially beautiful in the winter. Although the province is known for its harsh winters, it’s also famous for winter Carnaval; for top-tier ski resorts, and cozy sugar shacks. Whether you’re keen on an outdoor adventure or prefer a warm fire with a great view, Québec is your destination for winter done right.
For a Pint-Sized Version of Québec City’s Carnaval: Sherbrooke, QC.
If you missed Québec City’s raucous winter Carnaval earlier this February, the town of Sherbrooke hosts a winter festival of its very own. From March 3 to 4, a winter wonderland comes to life in Jacques Cartier Park, overlooking the picturesque Magog River. Bonfires, tube slides, carriage rides, and bubble football bring out hordes of winter revelers. Kids take pony rides through the park while daredevils test their nerves with a sky-high zip line and suspension bridge.
Food cards and a cash bar keep guests fed and watered and folks stick around late to watch the live music and fireworks.
For a detailed program and Carnival passes, visit: http://www.carnavaldesherbrooke.ca/
For Artsy Types: Montréal en Lumière
Nuit Blanche is an international phenomenon: an all-night arts fest hosted by cities around the world. Montreal gets in on the action with a Nuit Blanche of its very own, but they tack it on to ten full days of art, food, and culture – Montréal en Lumière.
In one of the world’s largest winter festivals, Montréalers are treated to over 226 shows, a fine dining program with 500 top chefs, and dozens of outdoor illuminated art installations scattered around the city. Montréal’s Place des Festivals also hosts a Ferris wheel, curling, live music, and street food for ten full days.
To wrap up the festival, the city hosts Nuit Blanche – an all-night art spectacle with 152 participating sites and over 600 artists featured. The event regularly draws 300,000 art and cultures lovers into the streets until the early hours. Montréal’s free all-night Métro service makes it easy to take in the sights.
For the full festival program, suggested itineraries, and ticket information, visit https://www.montrealenlumiere.com/
For Sweet Tooths Who Love a Scenic Drive: Cabane à Sucre Constantin
February is maple syrup season in Québec, giving sweet tooths a great reason to celebrate the season. A drive through the countryside to one of the province’s many sugar shacks is a great way to spend a day – an incredible feast with freshly boiled maple syrup doesn’t hurt, either.
Cabane a Sucre Constantin is a favourite among Montréalers. It’s located a mere 45 minutes outside the city, making it a great day trip for visitors and locals alike. This rustic family spot serves Québecois classics like pea soup, ham, sausages, baked beans, and pouding chomeur. They’re open for lunch and dinner on weekdays, with an added pancake breakfast service on weekends.
A mini farm, inflatable games, and a puppet theatre keep kids happy through the sugar rush and, for an added fee, you can even take a sleigh ride.
For more information and opening hours, visit https://constantin.ca/en/
For Those Looking to Enjoy Québec’s Natural Wonders: Mont Ste. Anne
If your idea of paradise involves snow-capped peaks and knee-deep powder, Québec is your destination for winter bliss. The province boasts Laurentian and Appalachian mountain ranges, with some of the best skiing east of the Rockies.
At Mont Ste. Anne, the skiing us just the beginning, although the resort is home to 71 trails and 547km of skiable terrain. Days off the slope can be enjoyed skating on the resort’s mountainside rink, or embarking on a dog-sled excursion from the mountain’s base.
The resort’s Cross Country Ski Centre continues the frosty fun, with 30 km of trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Those with a need for speed can hop on one of the resort’s fat bikes for an exhilarating ride through Québec’s wintery countryside.
For more information on travel packages and lift tickets, visit https://mont-sainte-anne.com/en/.
For Those Who Don’t Mind the Cold: Québec’s Hôtel de Glace
North America’s only Ice Hotel is just a short drive outside Québec City. Every year, the Hôtel de Glace attracts thousands of visitors, come for a glimpse of its 45 themed guest rooms, ice bar, chapel, and slide. The hotel is made from over 500 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow and lasts only as long as the Spring thaw.
Luckily, you don’t need reservation to enjoy this frosty scene. Walking tours depart from the hotel’s front gates every day from 10am onwards. A few extra dollars will get you one of hotel’s signature cocktails, served up in an ice glass from the hotel’s ice bar.
If you do plan on staying, guests are given access to rooms at 9pm, after walking tours end for the day. Beds come outfitted with subarctic sleeping bags to help guests brave the hotel’s frost temperatures. A trip to the hotel’s outdoor saunas and spas is another great way to stay warm.
For reservations or sign up for a walking tour, visit https://www.hoteldeglace-canada.com/.