The 67th Winter Carnival continues until Feb. 21

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Photo: Cassandra Kerwin

Bonhomme Carnaval was hard to find during this year’s Winter Carnival, as he was busy hopping from one location to the next. On Feb. 13, he was spotted on a float on Avenue Cartier.

Like a blizzard, the 67th Quebec Winter Carnival has come and … actually, Carnival organizers recently announced that due to public demand, the ice towers and ice and snow sculptures in many Quebec City neighbourhoods can be enjoyed for another week.

Many people may have questioned holding such a popular winter festival in the middle of a pandemic, but in retrospect, Bonhomme Carnaval and CEO Mélanie Raymond have managed to sprinkle winter magic and joy across the city. After almost a year of provincewide partial lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Quebecers were overjoyed to have their Carnival back, albeit without certain elements. The parades, Jos’ Camp, Bonhomme’s World and the ice canoe races will have to wait until next year.

For the 67th edition, the Carnival returned to its original mission, to boost the local economy and create joy and a festive atmosphere in the dead of winter. After seeing the smiles on Carnival-goers’ faces and reading the positive comments on social media, Raymond knew they had done the right thing to continue to spread winter magic.

“The people we spoke to during the first few days of the Carnival were so happy to see the city looking so lovely and cheerful that we decided to extend [access to] our monuments and sculptures until Feb. 21,” said Raymond. Some elements, such as the virtual snow bath challenge, the snow route sculpture contest and the features and activities at Place Jean-Béliveau, ended as scheduled on Feb. 14.

“People are also welcome to view the videos still available on [the Carnival’s] YouTube channel,” said Raymond. On Feb. 11, Bonhomme and his co-host Virginie Gagnon looked back on the Carnival’s 66 previous editions with historian Jean Provencher in #ColdOrNot, We Get Nostalgic! Patrice “Monsieur Cocktail” Plante, BBQ Boucan and WKND Radio 91.9 continued the party on Feb. 12 with the #ColdOrNot, Happy Hour! Bonhomme and Gagnon also presented exclusive interviews about winter survival, ice canoeing and mountaineering in #ColdOrNot, We Talk! To the delight of children, Bonhomme had one last virtual appearance on Feb. 14 with Arthur L’Aventurier.

Evidently, frigid temperatures and blizzards can’t stop Quebecers from enjoying their iconic winter festival, and neither can a pandemic.

Carnival-goers adjusted to and respected the public health measures. As people continue to enjoy the snow and ice sculptures, they can look forward to the 68th edition, hopefully with all the traditional elements.

For more information, visit carnaval.qc.ca.

 

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The ice sculptors at Sculptures Michel Lepire were inspired by the Pub Galway on Avenue Cartier to create a Celtic cross for the 67th Winter Carnival. Photo by Cassandra Kerwin