Who says you need to hit a beach for a great winter getaway? Quebec City brings fun, festivities for the whole family.
By Rachel Naud
The Ice Hotel
The coolest accommodation in Quebec, The Ice Hotel is the only hotel in North America made entirely out of ice and snow. The property, which is made from 500 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow, features 44 rooms and themed suites, a Nordic area with hot tubs and saunas, an Ice Bar and even a chapel. After a relaxing soak in the hot sauna, guests return to their rooms and tuck into their uber warm sleeping bags for the night. Once the lights are out, the room is still, cold and completely silent—ideal for a sound sleep. Not up for a frosty sleepover? You can tour the Ice Hotel during the day.
The largest winter festival in the world, the Quebec City Winter Carnival brings residents and visitors, alike, out of hibernation and outdoors to celebrate with fun and festivities. An event for all ages, the two-week festival lights up all areas of the city with activities including a snow bath, night parades, snow slides, giant foosball, snow sculptures, shows, sleigh rides, skating and more. One of the greatest attractions of Carnival is Bonhomme, the ambassador of the winter festival. Just don’t call him a mascot, Bonhomme can pop up anywhere from a parade float and his personal Ice Palace to local restaurants—we dare you to try and not hug him. Bonhomme is meant for squeezing.
Adrenaline junkies will love Au 1884, a toboggan slide that reaches up to 70 km/hr. Situated in the heart of Old Quebec in the historic Princess Louise kiosk on the Dufferin Terrace, the slide sits just outside of the historic Chateau Frontenac. Afterwards, calm your nerves and warm up with a cup of hot cocoa sold right there at the kiosk!
Soak at the spa
The chilly air is a lot easier to take when you’re soaking up the luxury at the Sibéria Spa. The Scandinavian spa, just a 20-minute drive from Old Quebec, is based on the concept alternating hot, cold and rest to bring about deep relaxation. Surrounded by picturesque forest and freshly fallen snow, only the brave take the plunge in the chilly pools before retreating to the comfort of the steamy hot tubs. Afterwards, head to a yurt, complete with hanging hammocks or check out the relaxation hut where you can curl up on comfy cushioned seats while a fire crackles and warms the space. Feeling stuffy? Clear out your sinuses at the eucalyptus steam room. For those who can embrace the cold with the hot, this thermotherapy is meant to reduce stress, eliminate toxins, relax muscles, improve sleep quality and strengthen the immune system while reviving body and soul.