Zooming Downhill on a Toboggan
The sound of the wind buffeting your ears and face doesn’t dull your howls of joy as you zoom downhill in a toboggan that reaches up to 97kmph (60 mph). The thrill of the slide stays with you even after you’ve finished your quick ride. Once your heart stops pounding, it’s time do it over again—starting with the walk up to the top of the ramp, stopping occasionally to take in the squealing delights of the others racing downhill on Les Glissades de la Terrasse in Quebec City.
The ride itself may have taken your breath away, but the scenery surrounding you could also do the trick. On one side of Les Glissades de la Terrasse, ferries traverse the broad St. Lawrence River. At the base of this manmade toboggan run looms Le Chateau Frontenac, the historic Fairmont hotel with its rounded turrets and massive wings reminiscent of ancient castle, built in the late 1800s to house railway passengers and encourage tourism.
Les Glissades de la Terrasse, located on Dufferin Terrace, is open only from mid-December through late March, so make time to take advantage of it if you’re in town in winter. A maximum of four persons to a toboggan are allowed, but there’s no minimum age, height, or weight, so it’s great family entertainment. The low cost ($2 for one) also keeps it family-friendly. You must rent toboggans on site that are specifically designed to fit this run. Be sure to stop by the miniature sugar shack at the base of the run to purchase little cake cones filled with maple syrup.
When you’re not coursing downhill at top speed, there’s plenty else to keep you busy. Travelers who love winter sports and festivals will enjoy Quebec City in the cold season. For 2 weeks every winter, Carnaval de Quebec (the largest winter carnival in the world) turns the city into a cold-weather version of Mardi Gras. Parades, the canoe race on the St. Lawrence (where participants paddle in open areas, then push their canoe across the ice to the next open area), and dog sled races are great spectator events. You can keep warm by staying active with snowtubing, snowrafting, and even riding a zipline across the Plains of Abraham in the heart of the city. Quebec City also attracts skiers and snowboarders who want an urban setting after a day on the slopes. Skiing at nearby Mont-Sainte-Anne, with its 56 trails, is a great day outing before returning to Quebec for the vibrant nightlife.
If you’re interested in indoor entertainment, visit the Musée de la Civilisation and in particular the “Memoires” exhibit (85 rue Dalhousie; 418/643-2158; www.mcq.org) that depicts the city’s multi-faceted heritage. Also be sure to indulge in the city’s excellent cuisine—an adrenaline rush in its own right. Don’t miss the locals’ favorite, Poutine: French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. —LF
Quebec City Tourism, 399 Saint-Joseph Est ( 877/783-1608 or 418/641-6654; www.quebecregion.com).
When to Go: Mid-winter.
$$$ Le Chateau Frontenac, 1 rue des Carrières ( 800/257-7544 or 418/692-3861; www.fairmont.com/frontenac).