Ice Canoe Racing at Carnival in Quebec City – It’s one of the toughest sports in the world!

Ice Canoe Racing photo courtesy Quebec City Touism

Ice Canoe Racing photo courtesy Quebec City Touism

Quebec City – Ice canoeing started as a grueling, dangerous, necessary means of transportation to cross the frozen Saint Lawrence River during the winter. The legend is that the racing began as a competition between families for the contract to deliver the mail. Now there’s an association (the Association de Canot a Glace de Quebec – ACCGQ) and several regular annual races, including at Quebec City’s Carnaval de Quebec, the biggest Winter Carnival in the World. More than 40 teams compete, struggling with the powerful current, great chunks of ice and numbing water. The two well-known teams to watch challenging each other are are Volvo team and the Chateau Frontenac team. Other Carnival activities for the 17-day winter festival often include night parades, ice fishing, concerts, snow sculptures, slide runs, horse-drawn sleigh or dogsled rides, skating, and even a giant football game.

The race is the main event of carnival. The teams race across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City (Basin Louise) to Levis, and back. it’s easy to watch the race from shore. The St. Lawrence is the only place in the world where this sport is practiced.


Bassin Louise, Vieux-Québec-Cap-Blanc-colline Parlementaire La Cité-Limoilou, Quebec City, Quebec


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