Winter in Quebec

Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Dalene and Pete Heck
All the locals we met in Quebec’s capital were jovial and welcoming, perhaps impressed with our month-long commitment to their city during the depths of winter. They often apologized for their English while asking of our French, to which we quickly revealed our incompetence. It was of no matter though, and at times we even felt welcomed into an exclusive brotherhood forged of frosty endurance.

And within our month we were exposed to the full cycle of their Canadian winter. We felt the fierce bite of temperatures nearing -30C and several days when we couldn’t bear the thought of going outdoors, especially given that the intensity of a snowstorm wouldn’t permit us to see anything anyways. On other days, warm rain thawed the city and eliminated the banks of snow. Our Christmas day was not a white one.

But for the majority of our time, it was exactly as we had hoped it would be: old cobbled streets were covered by a thick blanket of snow and icicles reflected the rainbow of Christmas lights. Sidewalks were filled with people enjoying their holidays – at -15C we expected a small crowd out for New Year’s eve celebrations but instead found ourselves in the middle of a swinging street party.

On those days there is no other city in Canada that can match the magic of winter in Quebec, it’s debatable whether the best moments of summer even come close. And these are the ones we will remember. Nous nous souviendrons.

There is no other city in Canada that can match the magic of winter in Quebec, it’s debatable whether the best moments of summer even come close.
Quebec Ferry to Levis

The ferry from Lower Old Town Quebec City to Levis, just across the Saint Lawrence.

Chateau Frontenac Toboggan Chute

An 80 year old toboggan run operates on the boardwalk outside of the Chateau Frontenac.

Chateau Frontenac

The Chateau Frontenac

Petit Champlain Daytime

Petit Champlain – the oldest commercial street in North America abuzz with Christmas activity.

Notre Dame des Victoires

Notre Dame des Victoires Church in Place Royale (Lower Old Town).

Holiday Lights
Notre Dame Cathedral
Frontenac Peeking over Petit Champlain

Christmas Shopping in Quebec
Quebec Christmas Market

Quebec Sunset

Sunset view from our neighbourhood of Saint Jean.

Quebec Decorated Door
Frozen Landscape

Gates to Old Quebec
New Year in Quebec
Winter Chateau Frontenac
Quebec Parliament Building

Sugar Shack

A sugar shack, located just outside the city.

Many thanks to Quebec City Tourism who provided some assistance during our stay. As always, all opinions are our own.

28 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • January 19 2015

    your photos are gorgeous! I remember going to Montreal on a road trip in January years ago and it was cold. Quebec City looks just as cold!

  • Maria
    January 19 2015

    Guys, your photos always look amazing! Pete does a great job πŸ™‚

  • Connie Singer
    January 19 2015

    Yours is the only blog I now read regularly! I truly admire what you are doing! Your photos are so lovely. A soon to be retired nurse I am looking to expand my photography skills with travel as the motivating factor. You have inspired me greatly!

    • February 6 2015

      So sweet of you to say…thank you Connie!

  • January 19 2015

    Beautiful photos! I’m ashamed to say I live in Ontario and have yet to visit Quebec. Hopefully will make it this year!
    Ashley recently posted..Preparing for India

  • These are all so gorgeous! As lovely as it is to live in Southern California… I’m dying for a cold Christmas. Maybe next year πŸ™‚

    Happy travels!
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted..My Favorite Spots in Downtown Los Angeles + Giveaway!

    • February 6 2015

      We highly recommend it Lauren! There’s nothing quite like a true winter-y Christmas season.

  • January 19 2015

    So beautiful. I loved it in summer and would like to visit in Winter one day – although I am quite scared about temperatures that low – the lowest I have endured so far was only -7C
    Katie recently posted..Lesotho: A country in Africa that you probably haven’t heard of

    • February 6 2015

      It’s all about having the proper clothing to enjoy it!

  • Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog
    January 19 2015

    Wow – these photos are gorgeous. Very winter wonderland! Must be such a beautiful city. Must put it on my itinerary for the Canada trip πŸ™‚

  • January 20 2015

    Keanu woah! Gorgeous photos. Seems I have to include a stop here on my next visit home to Canada. πŸ™‚

  • January 20 2015

    Wow, your photography and story story on Quebec City has blown me away. Beautiful capture of a lovely place. Thanks

  • Looks both frigid and gorgeous! I too am impressed by your “month-long commitment to their city during the depths of winter.” Brrrr!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..5 Weird Foods the French Consider Delicacies

  • January 21 2015

    Beautiful. I start sneezing and coughing just looking at it. Time to get Spanky to rub me up with some Vicks πŸ˜‰
    Frank (bbqboy)
    Frank recently posted..Photos of Nong Khai, Thailand. You’ll see why we love this town…

  • January 21 2015

    As always, I am so jealous of your photos. Excellent job! Pete, you really need to make that photo gear post you talked about so I can go and buy all the lenses you use πŸ˜‰
    EuroTripTips recently posted..7 Stunning and Iconic Things to Do in Norway

  • January 21 2015

    I absolutely love the opening photograph. I think the real charm of Quebec City is that it can feel so warm and cozy, even in the middle of winter.I would love to go back for another visit soon.

    • February 6 2015

      I think you are right Vanessa about the city’s charm – and it’s why we were so happy to spend a full month there to really feel that!

  • January 21 2015

    I went to Quebec City last February and thought it was absolutely beautiful, but these photos are *almost* better than the real city! (Just kidding, it’s a fabulous city!) Thanks for sharing the moments you experienced in such gorgeous pictures.

  • January 21 2015

    Fantastic photos. You caught the city in all its’ winter glory.
    Leigh recently posted..Castle Mountain Resort – A Skiers Paradise

  • January 22 2015

    I have yet to experience Quebec in the winter. I’m more a fan of hot weather travel but your photos are so gorgeous it really make me want to venture outdoors and experience it for myself!
    Mary Calculated Traveller recently posted..4 Girls Go Ice Fishing for the First Time: The Confession

  • January 24 2015

    Old town Quebec City is so pretty! It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been there. As an East Coast Canadian girl, it’s really not that far for me to visit. I should make the effort this year to get back. Thanks for the gorgeous photos!

  • January 26 2015

    Those are some of the most beautiful pictures but -15 degrees is just way too cold for this Indian girl!! I would freeze to death πŸ™‚
    Arti recently posted..Time Travel in Tulsibaug: Ancient Shree Ram Temple, Pune

    • February 6 2015

      You have to try it once Arti! πŸ™‚

  • January 27 2015

    Quebec City sounds and looks stunning in the winter time! I was there in spring and it was still beautiful but now, after your post, I’d love to return there in the colder months! πŸ™‚

    • February 9 2015

      Kami! Just tell me when, becasue I’m coming with you! πŸ™‚

  • February 11 2015

    Your winter street scene photos are magnificent!

  • Tricia
    March 8 2015

    Seems like a perfect place to spend the holiday season. Beautiful!

  • Tricia
    March 8 2015

    Seems like a perfect place to spend the holiday season. Beautiful!

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