Quebec City is one of those Canadian destinations that bring smiles to travellers’ faces no matter the time of year. In winter, it turns into this magical winter paradise with a European vibe, cafes, restaurants and old architecture all covered in fresh white snow. One of its most significant traditions is the century-old Quebec City Winter Toboggan Ride.
As school children in Canada, our elementary French classes often covered the Quebec Winter Carnival. The one thing I remember most from those classes is the wooden toboggan run. It was one of those unattainable dreams. One day I would be up there with the lights flickering and riding that massive hill into the hugs of Bonhomme Carnival.
As an adult, I finally lived that dream — both riding the Quebec City Winter Toboggan and meeting Bonhomme Carnival. Being in Quebec City during Winter Carnival is a magical time. The entire city transforms and participates in the three-week-long festival, and there is plenty to do and see.
Read more: Things to Do at the Quebec Winter Carnival.
Packing For the Winter in Quebec City
Don’t let the weather forecast deter you from planning a winter getaway in Quebec. Packing for winter is all about having the right gear and the critical 3 layer rule.
- First Layer – Intimates and thermal layer
- Second Layer – Winter Clothing
- Third Layer – Outwear Protection from the Elements
Great Hotels in Quebec City
Hilton Quebec City
The Hilton hotel is ideally located in Quebec City, sitting next to Parliament Hill, with rooms that overlook the old city. It is steps from the walls of the old town and 1 street over from Quebec’s nightlife. During Winter Carnival, the location is near the Ice Palace and many of the festival attractions.
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac
If you are looking for a luxury getaway in Quebec City, then this historic chateau-style hotel can set the mood for your getaway. The Quebec City Toboggan ride located in this hotel’s backyard sits right in the heart of the old city and steps from many of Quebec’s attractions.
About the Quebec City Toboggan Ride
Located on Dufferin Terrace behind the Chateau Frontenac, the toboggan run is a winter tradition in the old city. Purchase tickets at the kiosk at the bottom of the hill. There is also a small café and snack shop inside to keep you warm between runs.
The Quebec Toboggan ride is open from December to March weather permitting. Its hours of operations are 9-5 daily, with later runs in the weekend and extended hours during Quebec’s Winter Carnival.
Things you should know before you ride the Quebec City Toboggan.
- The boardwalk is very slippery in winter. Be careful where you step as when covered in snow, there are very slick patches.
- You will have to carry the wood sled up the hill ramp yourself. The ramp has wood slots to keep you from slipping as you climb up.
- Wrap the rope around your body with the toboggan gliding up the ramp behind you. This will keep the sled from slipping out of your hands and sliding back into people behind you.
- At the top staff will place the toboggan into one of the three runs.
- The toboggan will be rested with a stopper in front to allow you to sit comfortably.
- When everyone is seated and ready to go the stopper is dropped, and you will begin your run.
- This ride is super fast. Make sure to secure your hat and other loose items.
- If you plan on filming, make sure your device is secured well on a good quality handheld tripod or with a head or body mount.
Starting your Quebec City Toboggan Run
Purchase your tickets at the kiosk. You can buy one ride or multi-ride passes. The attendant at the bottom of the run will hand you rope attached to a long wooden toboggan. Wrap the rope around your body and make your way towards the inclined ramp with the toboggan gliding behind you.
At the top, the attendants will put the wood sled into one of the three runs, which will be held in place by a stopping mechanism. Once everyone sits in their sleds, they will prepare you with a countdown. The stopping device will release, and you’ll begin your descent. This run is fast. Very fast. You can expect to reach speeds as high as 70KM/h.
Other Things to do in Quebec City
Are you planning a Quebec City Winter Getaway? I have plenty of suggestions for you, which include a visit to the ice hotel, a beautiful Scandinavian spa outside the city, to plenty of Quebec City restaurants.
- Dream Inside the Ice Walls of the Quebec City Ice Hotel
- Great Places to Eat in Quebec City
- Winter Relaxation at Siberia Station Spa Quebec City
Disclosure: Travel assistance provided by Tourism Quebec on several media hosted press trips. The opinions in this post are my own.