Quebec City's Winter Carnaval - My Family Travels
jesse in quebec

Ever since 3rd grade I have wanted to go on this school trip to Québec City, Canada. In 5th grade in 1997, it was so cool to be able to go on such an awesome trip with my friends, I couldn’t resist.

Ever since 3rd grade I have wanted to go on this school trip to Québec City, Canada. In 5th grade in 1997, it was so cool to be able to go on such an awesome trip with my friends, I couldn’t resist.

Twenty-two kids and three teachers went up on the train and because it was a very long ride (7 hours to Montréal, then 3 hours by bus to Québec City), we all brought cards and games. The next morning we took a walk around the city. We saw many things of interest including a view of the city from one of its tallest buildings. Each kid was equipped with $100; this equals $132 CDN. We were there for five days so we rationed our spending money.

Many of the gourmet restaurants we visited were very fancy and because we were such a large group the other people there gave us dirty looks. Personally, I’m a vegetarian but found many things to my liking. I noticed that their cuisine was new and interesting although it included lots of mushrooms. (I hate mushrooms!)

The Carnaval de Québec ran from Jan.31 – Feb.16. Carnaval was created for the celebration of winter. This festival has a lot of history and meaning to the Québécois. If you go with your class like I did, listen to your teachers’ briefing. Carnaval’s star is a big, white snowman named Bonhomme Carnaval (“Gentleman Carnival”). Every year they make small souvenirs of it. If you buy one for $3 CDN, you can go into any Carnaval game for free. This obese snowman (a human in costume) walks throughout the city and acts as a mascot.

When we went to the restaurant at Parliament, the seat of the provincial government, two things happened. One, we had crêpes, thin French pancakes served with bacon and milk, incredibly tasty! You can get them in the US but definitely not as good as these. (I got an extra one because I don’t eat meat!) Number two occurred as we were leaving the Parliament. It just so happened that we saw Bonhomme! We posed for many photos and exchanged “Bonjours“. Although he was very nice and friendly, we all whispered about how he should get to a weight loss program.

We did many things in the snow such as tobogganing on the Plains of Abraham, an area in Québec City with a lot of military history. It was simple and fun. You pay $1 CDN (76 ¢), get a ticket, grab a toboggan with one, two, or three friends and you’re off! Some other neat stuff we did was take a chartered bus to the Village des Sports, a winter snow resort. We went snow inner tubing (those things that look like inflated donuts) and snow rafting. They put you in a giant white water raft and push you down the slope! We spent six hours there, plus dinner. It was cool to be in the mountains in the darkness and see for miles. My two friends Daniel and Ana and I even went to a huge pile of snow and made a cavern inside! I wore a pair of jeans under some thick snow pants with thermals. I recommend, above all, that you bring at least three pairs of disposable hand warmers. They come in handy. Trust me.

We stayed in groups of three or four at a rather fancy hotel where my dad sent me faxes every day. CURFEW every night was at 10pm so I stayed up a little later than usual. In the morning we watched cable TV and the Canadian MTV channel. It was interesting because the songs were in French and English, both official languages of Canada.

I hope to go back and visit Québec with my 6th grade. If you go, Bon Voyage!


Jesse and his 5th grade class visited Canada’s most famous winter Carnaval in 1997.

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