Q&A with Bonhomme Carnaval
Canada has one of the coolest carnivals in the world. Held in Quebec City, the Quebec Winter Carnival is a truly unique winter experience with sporting competitions, snow games, and a great mix of traditional and innovative nighttime, sport and family activities. We caught up with Bonhomme Carnaval, the Carnival’s official ambassador, to get the inside scoop on what to expect at the 57th edition of this much-loved winter festival.
RD: What are the most popular attractions at the Carnival?
Bonhomme: The night parades (on February 5 and 12) are a true highlight. There are about 200,000 spectators who attend, and it’s my opportunity to see all the people at the Carnival at once and really appreciate the splendour of it all. Our famous ice canoe race on the St. Lawrence River is also a great draw. This year, we’re going to have 55 teams participating-the most we’ve ever had.
RD: What are some new things we can expect at this year’s Carnival?
Bonhomme: We work hard all year to make it the best Carnival, and we gather the best and most talented people to help put it all together. We’re always thinking up new ways to update and innovate the Carnival. This year, we’re going to have the largest open air playground right on the Plains of Abraham, a ferris wheel, and a winter pentathlon competition. We’re also going to have a day parade (on January 30) that’s going to feature giant inflatable characters.
RD: How many people are expected to attend this year’s Carnival?
Bonhomme: We’re expecting about 750,000 to 1 million people.
RD: How were you chosen to be the Carnival mascot?
Bonhomme: They wanted someone who represents “joie de vivre” (the joy of life), and they found that I captured that since I’m always smiling. I care about everyone having a good time and enjoying themselves.
RD: What were your thoughts on seeing yourself on the cover of Maclean’s?
Bonhomme: There are a lot of people who work on my image. I am known throughout the world, and I don’t think my reputation or credibility has been tainted by how I was (wrongly) portrayed.
RD: What are some of your favourite activities at the Carnival?
Bonhomme: Some of my favourite activities include the snow bath, where we have some brave people taking a dip in the snow wearing only their bathing suits. I also enjoy the dance parties (held on Friday and Saturday nights) with guest DJs and an outdoor dance floor. Another major component of the Carnival is sports, which will include skating, dogsled races, and a pentathlon on the Plains of Abraham.
RD: What makes the Quebec Winter Carnival unique?
Bonhomme: In many ways, the Carnival brings back the “warmth” of the season. The Carnival reminds us of the good old days of our childhood, when we would go outside and play, and really enjoy winter.
The Quebec Winter Carnival takes place this year from January 28 to February 13. For more details, visit carnaval.qc.ca.