The winter may not seem like a good time to visit Quebec, after all, it is freezing cold! But even though temperatures regularly plummet into the negatives, Quebec has a number of unique wintertime festivals to attract visitors. So if you can brave the cold, pack your winter coat and head to La Belle Province for a taste of what makes Quebec such a special place.
Montreal is Quebec’s largest city and home to the world’s second largest Francophone community (after Paris). Though lively year round, Montreal’s festive spirit is on full display in the winter.
Igloofest is an annual electronic music festival that takes place outdoors in the Old Port of Montreal. Perhaps the world’s only frozen rave, Igloofest is a wild experience where young revelers and world-class DJs party together in a spectacular setting next to the St Lawrence River. Fitting with its frozen theme, there are ice bars and igloo lounges to keep the crowd entertained and campfires to keep them warm.
The festival takes place over a four-weekend period in January and February, and more than 60,000 people attend annually. Bring warm clothing though, as it’s a long and fun night in the cold.
Montreal en Lumière and Nuit Blanche
In late February, shortly after Igloofest winds down, it’s time for another huge festival, Montreal en Lumière. This ten-day festival celebrates the impending arrival of spring with art exhibits, concerts, carnival rides and theater performances.
Make sure to catch the gourmet food stands and trucks set up around the city during the festival. Famed chefs from Montreal and the rest of Quebec set up shop to serve an array of regional delights.
Montreal en Lumière ends with a bang with the Nuit Blanche or “white night”. For one night only the city puts on almost 200 free art events. Galleries, museums and exhibitions all stay open until at least 2 a.m. and public transportation runs late into the night to accommodate visitors.
Quebec City, the quaint capital of Quebec, is located three hours from Montreal on the St Lawrence River. It’s North America’s only walled city and its old town is a labyrinth of meandering tiled lanes that are lined with small shops and cafes.
Carnaval de Quebec
Every February for two weeks Quebec City hosts the Winter Carnival or Carnaval de Quebec. This family-friendly event transforms the entire city into a winter wonderland with parades, ice sculptures, concerts and special events for children. Make sure to try the maple taffy!