Made in Snow: Carnaval de Québec History

January 26, 2018

 Joyeux carnaval! From January 26 to February 11, 2018, the annual Carnaval de Québec (Quebec Winter Carnival) is happening in Québec City, and we’re sharing in the festivities!


The Carnaval de Québec is the largest winter festival in the world. You may recognize its mascot, Bonhomme Carnaval. The Carnaval has been running for 64 years, since 1955, but winter festivals in Quebec City got their start long before that.


Winter carnivals in Québec, held to relieve the tedium of winter, date back to New France. The first organized winter carnival in Québec took place in 1894. It was organized by Frank Carrel, the owner of the Québec Daily Telegraph. The event kept going in following winters, but the First World War, Great Depression, and Second World War prevented it from being an annual tradition.


In 1954, a group of businessmen from Québec City decided to bring back the event. The first version of today’s Carnaval de Québec ran in 1955 with Bonhomme Carnaval as its representative. The Carnaval caught on and became a tourism attraction nation and worldwide.


The 2018 Carnaval has some changes from the 1955 version. Winter sports and Québecois activities have been added. But its core purpose and spirit remains the same — and, of course, Bonhomme Carnaval does, too.


If you were to attend the Carnaval, there would be plenty to keep you occupied. Parades, snow sculpture carving, hockey, ice skating, and more all make up the fun.


Some of the most iconic features of the Carnaval include:


  • Bonhomme’s Ice Palace — just what it sounds like! A palace made of ice and snow that is the of Bonhomme Carnaval.

  • St. Hubert Snow Bath – for the brave and adventurous. Three cold baths interspersed with warm reprieves.

  • Canoe Race – almost 60 teams bring canoes across the frozen waters of the St. Lawrence River in this heated competition.


The Carnaval de Québec is one of Canada’s top longstanding winter traditions and we can’t wait for the festivities!

 Did you know Kerr’s Candy also has a long history in Canada? We were founded one year after the Québec Winter Carnival in 1895. We’re proud of our heritage and our Canadian-made candy! Check out our products and learn more about our history at


We want to know — are you attending the Carnaval de Québec this year, or have you attended in the past? What was your favourite part? Tell us or show us your Québec Winter Carnival pictures on social media! We’re @KerrsCandy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.