Quebec’s Ice Castle – A Tradition Since 1870

Remember when you were little and you visited Walt Disney? Every child sees the beautiful castle and thinks “ Oh that is where my prince charming will save me!” or “ That is pretty awesome!” (At least that is what I thought). And every child wants to visit it, but alas it is a restricted are. Well that was me. A dream that was shattered. Even now it bugs me except I don’t care for the prince saving me part. I mean, please!

2015 ice castle 2

Quebec City Ice Castle in front of walls with Chateau Frontenac just behind

I would be embarrassed.

Anyway, my point is that the Carnival’s Ice Castle is not just for decoration. You can actually go visit it and yes, it is entirely made of blocks of ice. Each year Quebec finds a different design to construct the castle and each year, they are breathtaking to see. The Ice Castle is situated just on the outside of the mighty wall, in front of Parliament.

2015 ice castle with horse and buggy 3

2015 ice castle with horse and buggy city tour

Also, they always put up a stage in front of the Ice Castle for various shows of dancers and music for kids as well as adults. And at night, there is always a light show at the Ice Castle. Truly, it is a beautiful sight.  I look out my window every night at the Ice Castle with the dancing lights illuminating the turrets just above the stone wall of the Old City. (Do you remember the children’s books about Eloise, well that is me, the Manoir d’Auteuil is my home.)  The Ice Castle, well winter carnaval all in all really is magical!

Next to the castle, there are blocs of snow where local groups have snow carving competitions. It’s pretty cool to see. Some are gorgeous, others, well you could see the effort…

Blocks of snow ready for local's carving competition

Blocks of snow ready for local’s carving competition

A local college student group competes in 2013 winter carnaval snow carving competition (one of my favorites!)

A local college student group competes in 2013 winter carnaval snow carving competition (one of my favorites!)

Here is a link to a site where you can see pictures of all the Ice Castle since 1955.  It’s pretty neat. You can even see where Quebec was cutting their budget on some years, as this is expensive to build.  I don’t think anyone can really appreciate all of the effort that goes into building the ice castle.  Construction workers build the ice castle throughout the month of January, some days working in temperatures as low as -35C.  All this, to help us celebrate the beauty of Quebec City in winter!

So if you come for carnival, go see the Ice Castle. Actually, never mind. It’s one of the main attractions so you’ll probably end up there anyway.

Have fun. I know I will.


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