Bonhomme celebrates his 60th birthday

Bonhomme celebrates his 60th birthday

This year’s edition of the “Carnaval de Quebec” is officially its 60th presentation. Although the winter celebrations go back to 1894, the registered launch of the now famous Carnival was in 1954 and was the year the world famous mascot Bonhomme was created Bonhomme_Carnavaland presented as the official “effigy” to represent the city during the event together with the well known Carnival Scarf. Up until then the activities around the same time were in celebration of the beginning of Lent, and since the province at the time was run by the Church, the whole thing was a religious winter gathering assisted by Priests and members of the Faith.

In 1954 M. Wilbrod Bherer, and M. Louis-Phillipe Plomondon realized the possibility of commercialising the event and using it as a way to get Quebec City better known internationally around the globe. In the beginning it was actually free to go to the different sites.

The Carnival grew and had some of its best years in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s becoming at one point the largest Winter Carnival in the world and was compared to other similar affairs like Mardi Gras and Carnaval de Rio. Some well known visitors were Grace Kelly, Brooke Shields, Michel Fugain and numerous assorted politicians throughout those years. There was even a special wine produced at the time called, “Cuvée Bonhomme” which was exclusive for the Carnival and its visitors. There were car races on an ice track and many different activities which over time were eliminated or replaced by newer ones and the different boroughs hosted separate goings-on spreading the fun around the City.

The famous Ice Palace took on a modern look in the ‘90’s changing the image of the occasion to a more up to date version but not to the liking of everyone.

The Duchesses are back this year as well as some of the old more traditional experiences although the main events still take place on the Plains of Abraham. The parades are always a favorite activity and there are now two of them and why not, “everyone loves a parade” after all.

This year’s “Carnaval” takes place from Jan. 31, to February 16th. Joyeux Carnaval.

See you there.
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LifeinQuebec.com Staff Writer

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