Coronavirus Canada: Despite pandemic and curfew, Quebec City’s Winter Carnival will carry on

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Coronavirus Canada: Despite pandemic and curfew, Quebec City's Winter Carnival will carry on
Coronavirus Canada: Despite pandemic and curfew, Quebec City's Winter Carnival will carry on

Quebec City’s renowned Winter Carnival will go on as planned, though with major changes due to the ongoing pandemic.

This week, teams were hard at work preparing for the sixty-seventh edition of the event. Winter Carnival CEO Melanie Raymond said planning has been an exercise in “finding new solutions.”

“It’s like finding something new, rethinking our carnival,” she said.

Though there will still be traditions such as appearances by mascot Bonhomme Carnaval, there will be physical distancing and masks, and respect for the Quebec-wide curfew.

“We had to give up all the activities that gather a lot of people at the same place, the activities which could provoke a lineup,” said Raymond.

Though there won’t be a parade or ice palace, many festivities will be held online, with family-friendly programming available on the Carnival YouTube channel. Carnival-inspired artwork will be spread across the city, which Raymond said she hopes will encourage people to explore different neighbourhoods in a safe way.

“(We want people) to discover all this light and magic with the snow sculptures and ice sculptures,” she said. “We have six different 20-foot high ice towers and they’re all going to be different, so you can discover all six of them during your walk through the city.”

Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume said the show must go on this year to preserve the tradition for the future.

“We’re going to take the financial risk with them, because if you stop, they might die,” he said.

Benoit Pigeon of the Quebec City Tourism Office said there’s a silver lining to this year’s very different edition.

“Right around in the city, there’s about 700,000 people and they are coming downtown, they are coming OT the area. We all need to take fresh air, so there are people in town.”

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