Bonhomme is the official representative of the Québec Winter Carnival. White as snow, wearing a red tuque and arrow sash of heroes of our past, Bonhomme embodies the joie de vivre of Quebecers!
Bonhomme made his first public appearance at the Porte Saint-Louis on January 9, 1955 to invite the public to celebrate during the three weeks preceding the Carnival.
Wilfrid Hamel, then mayor of Quebec City, also took the opportunity to give Bonhomme his first set of Keys to the City. This tradition continues to this day with the mayor of Quebec City giving Bonhomme the Keys to the City at the start of each Carnival. This symbolic gesture confirms Bonhomme’s uncontested status as master of celebrations and king of the festivities. It’s no wonder that Bonhomme Carnaval is a proud international symbol of winter tourism.
Our Bonhomme is quite different than the inanimate, straw or wooden European Bonhomme that is sacrificed at the end of each carnival, on Shrove Tuesday, to symbolize rebirth and the return of spring. Our Bonhomme simply leaves at the end of each Carnaval to come back fresh and rested ready to share the same joie de vivre the following winter!
Where does he go in the meantime? It’s hard to say! Bonhomme is quite a mysterious character. Even where he came from is a bit of a mystery. The three founders of the contemporary Carnival, Louis-Philippe Plamondon, Wilbrod Bherer and Louis Paré, created their own version of a character capable of embodying and sharing all the joys of winter. Miraculously, Bonhomme soon came to life as if the festive spirits of the locals had breathed life into him. From then on, Bonhomme responded to the call of our founders, taking the Carnival under his wing and making it the joyous event we know today.
Bonhomme continues to spread magic everywhere he goes. After all, isn’t he a bit magic himself?
Learn all there is to know about Bonhomme…
First name: Bonhomme
Last name: Carnaval
Year of birth: 1954
Hometown: Quebec City
Height: 7 feet
Weight: 400 pounds of packed snow