Fairyland of Festivities
A magical ice palace was built for Bonhomme, the Carnival’s guest of honour, for the first time at Place D’Youville in 1955. The impressive ice construction even had a dungeon, used to jokingly jail Carnival-goers who refused to honour Bonhomme’s effigy. From 1956 to 1972, Bonhomme’s palace was located also at Place d’Youville. Crowds gathered to dance and celebrate at the site that had special lighting and entertainment for the occasion. In 1973, Bonhomme’s ice palace was moved opposite the Québec Parliament.
The Carnival kingdom’s palace was built from snow from 1979 to 1994 with around 9,000 tons of snow compacted into enormous bricks. The bricks were shaped and assembled according to an artist’s blueprints. The result was a castle of impressive dimensions; 50 metres wide, 20 metres deep and 20 metres high. Fifteen men worked continuously for two months to create this immense snow sculpture. The estimated cost of the project was $65,000 CAN, to which an additional $20,000 was added for electric installations, light displays and special effects. The work is always worth it, since the palace is the centre point for many Carnival activities.
To the delight of all Carnival-goers, the ice palace made its return in 1993. The move is seen as a refreshing return to Carnival’s origins.
Site of Bonhomme’s Palace
At the very beginning, the Palace was built in Place d’Youville. In the early 1970s, it was built on the Esplanade du Parlement. In 1999, the Palace was built in front of the Drill Hall since repairs were being done in front of the Parliament. From 2000 to 2011, Bonhomme’s Ice Palace was set at Place de l’Assemblée-Nationale, near the traffic circle. In 2012, the Palace will be directly on the Plains of Abraham. Look at the photographs!