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Best Festivals in Quebec

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18 December 2012 by Alex Stewart

There are lots of reasons to visit Québec - the wilderness on the doorstep, the adventure sports available, the warm welcome and the luxurious accommodation. Then there are the extraordinary annual events and festivals that take place here.

Head here to warm up the Canadian winter with a host of participatory events. Book early as accommodation often fills up fast and once there, remember to wrap up warm - the average winter temperature in Québec City is -10°C! Later in the year look and listen out for music and cultural events that rival any in the world.

Ice Hotel Québec

Ice Hotel

2015 is the 14th anniversary of the Hotel de Glace, which is painstakingly redesigned and rebuilt every year. A Nordic event, it brings together nature and city living, with the option to spend a night in one of the 26 rooms and themed suites. Authentic, unique and unforgettable, it's an extraordinary experience, even before you enjoy a cocktail from an actual ice glass.

Snow Village

04 January - late March

From the 4th January until late March the Snow Village opens; in 2015 the village will feature snow and ice replicas of New York, including a 25-room hotel, a 100-seat restaurant, igloos, ice chapel and uber cool bar with outdoor terrace.

Québec Carnival

29 January - 14 February

Quebec winter carnival

Takes place in late January or early February and is billed as the world's largest winter carnival. Lasting around two weeks, the festival was established in 1894 as an antidote to winter. It evolved into its current form in the 1950s. These days it features night parades, ice slides, dog-sled races through the city streets, snow rafting, outdoor cinema screenings, an international snow-sculpture competition and lively dance parties. Die-hard participants tackle the snow bath or compete to canoe across the St Lawrence River, carrying their craft across frozen sections of the river.

Fête de Neiges

17 January - 18 February

On weekends between mid-January and mid-February, as the mercury plummets, Montréal hots up. Head to the Parc Jean-Drapeau to join in with people enjoying skating, sliding, sculpting, outdoor shows and a hoist of surprises.

Montréal High Lights Festival

18 February - 27 February

Montreal Highlights Festival

From 21 February to 3 March, this international-calibre event, featuring the city's leading theatres, orchestras, dance troupes and museums, as well as leading restaurants and hotels celebrates the best that Montréal has to offer in the way of performance, culinary, lighting and visual arts. Downtown Montréal in particular is ablaze with light and colour at this time, with live entertainment making this the place to be.

Grand Prix of Canada

07 June - 09 June

A leading sports event and one of the few Formula 1 races in North America, the Grand prix of Canada takes place over the weekend 7 June to 9June 2015 at the demanding Gilles Villeneuve Circuit in Montréal.

Montréal Jazz Festival

30 June  - 09 July

Montreal Jazz Festival

Every June-July the Montréal International Jazz Festival stages about 600 concerts over the course of 11 days. More than half of these are free of charge. Some 3,000 musicians from more than 30 countries perform for upward of 2.5 million visitors, making this the premier international jazz get together. It's a great way to see new talent or catch established stars whilst simultaneously enjoying the vibrant beat of downtown Montréal.

Festival d'été de Québec

09 July - 19 July

The counterpoint to the winter carnival, Québec's Summer Festival, which lasts 11 days and has been running for 50 years, sees the city transformed into a giant outdoor stage where hundreds of performers stage events. The best are to be found in venues in and around Old Québec.

Just for Laughs

16 July - 30 July

Montréal is in stitches during July when the world's largest and most prestigious comedy event comes to town. Street theatre, stand-up performances, gala events and theatre shows hold 1,600 shows, three quarters of which are free of charge, outdoor performances.

SAQ New France Festival

05 August - 09 August 2015

Celebrating the arrival of the first Europeans on American soil, this event in early August features festivities including theatre, dance, parades and street entertainment. A five-day programme involves 1,000 events inside the walls of Old Québec that take visitors back in time to the 17th and 18th centuries. Dress up in period costume and  time travel!

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