Winter Carnival in Quebec: What to Wear

Kim Orlando Avatar

Sledders in front of Quebec's Chateau Frontenac during Winter Carnival
The city’s iconic hotel, the Chateau Frontenac is the backdrop for sledding during Winter Carnival. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Vlad G

Quebec’s annual Winter Carnival is a family friendly event, celebrating the season. Even if you hate the snow and ice, there’s something for you to love – if you’re dressed correctly. There’s an old saying – “There’s no bad weather. Only bad clothes.” Here’s what you need to pack to enjoy all of the fun at Carnaval de Quebec.

Sad to say that I won’t be there this year – I keep planning to take my family and “stuff” gets in the way.  But it is such a spectacular event, it’s worth mentioning anyway.  I visited Quebec a couple of years ago and for me, a  beach and warm weather traveler, to say that being bundled up, snow tubing, sleeping on a bed of ice and tromping around in 5 degree weather was fun, you better believe it!  There is a constant festive vibe in the city throughout the festival.  Everyone is out – kids, babies, adults, elderly and tourists.

What to Pack for Quebec’s Winter Carnival

To look like you belong there, here are a few tips:

  • Dress in layers – nylon next to skin, NOT COTTON. If you sweat, the cotton holds the moisture, keeping you cold. This goes for hands and feet too. I wore a nylon fitted tee under a thin IceBreakers merino wool pullover under an average ski jacket and I was very warm.
  • Buy a wrap
  • Bring a Buff – it looks cool and will keep your neck, face and/or head warm.  It’s also good for hat hair – you can use it as a headband or head cover if it’s really bad.
  • BonHomme is a hero so when you see the Pillsbury-looking holiday snowman wave frantically – he is important
  • Visit Hotel De Glace, even if you don’t want to sleep there. It’s living art and it will be gone in April.  IF you have already seen it, go again – the design is different every year.
  • Drink maple whiskey and caribou. Don’t ask, just drink it. It will keep you warm.
  • Try everything. I don’t ski and I don’t love heights but the snow tubing at Villages Vacances is spectacular and not to be missed
  • Dip into the Turkish baths even though it’s really really cold.
  • Eat poutine, beaver tail and crepes.

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