This year, Québec City and its iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac hotel are celebrating milestone anniversaries (410th and 125th, respectively). To celebrate, the city is hosting a wide range of free and inexpensive cultural activities throughout 2018. Whether your idea of a good time is a day of snowboarding or a stroll through a museum, here's what you won't want to miss this year in Québec City.
For the Bon Vivant: Le Château Frontenac 125th Anniversary
As the most photographed hotel in the world, it's no surprise Le Château Frontenac is celebrating its 125th anniversary in style. The festivities have already begun and, while the agenda does include a few exclusive galas and soirees, the vast majority of events are free and open to the public. Highlights include seasonal workshops on maple syrup, chocolate, and wine; and a concert by the Québec Symphony Orchestra this spring.
The hotel will be doling out thousands of pieces of gratis birthday cake for Canada Day on July 1 and the city and hotel’s anniversaries on July 3. The sweet celebrations will take place on Dufferin Terrace, adjacent to Le Château Frontenac and — quite fittingly — next to the site where Samuel de Champlain founded New France. In November, the hotel will host an open house, offering visitors a unique opportunity to take guided tours of the historic property for a free, behind-the-scenes look at the majestic castle and the iconic guests who have stayed there.
For the Winter Sports Enthusiast: Jamboree 2018
If watching the PyeongChang Olympics on your flat screen left something to be desired, brave the frosty air and hit Jamboree 2018. From March 22 to 25, the festival will host winter athletes from 30 countries to compete in the FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Ski World Cups. Much of the action will take place right in the center of town in the St-Roch district and will be free for spectators to enjoy. It’s no secret that the Québécois embrace winter like none other, so the festival will be complemented by nighttime outdoor concerts, art installations, and more parties.
For the History Buff: The New France Festival
The New France Festival, which takes place August 1 to 5, will transport you to the province's early days. One of the biggest history festivals in North America, this commemoration of Québec’s heritage includes period costumes and parades through the cobblestone streets of Old Town, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The festival also features live musical performances and tasting counters for local artisanal foods. Entry to the event costs $12 CAD on-site, but presale tickets can be purchased for $10 CAD online.
For the Art Aficionado: New Exhibition Rooms at the Museum of Fine Arts
The Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec — which comprises four separate pavilions connected by tunnels — is a work of art in and of itself. The institution proudly showcases Québécois collections from the 17th century to the present. In celebration of its 85th anniversary, the museum is planning to unveil five new exhibition rooms later this year. They will be devoted to both ancient and contemporary art and will house approximately 700 works that have shaped the province’s artistic heritage. Admission to the museum is $20 CAD for adults, but visit on Wednesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and enjoy half-price entry.