Petit Champlain winter

Winter in Quebec

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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 or a Quebec City Christmas. It’s debatable whether the best moments of summer even come close. And these are the ones we will remember. Nous nous souviendrons.

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.
The Chateau Frontenac
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).
Quebec Christmas Market
Quebec Sunset
Sunset view from our neighbourhood of Saint Jean.
Gates to Old Quebec
New Year in Quebec
Winter Chateau Frontenac
Quebec Parliament Building
Sugar Shack
A sugar shack, located just outside the city.

Given that the Quebec winter endeared instead of scared us, we are vowing to return one day to enjoy the Quebec Winter Carnival!

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

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  1. 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!

  2. 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

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

  4. 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 😉

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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! 🙂

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