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Quebec City is a stunningly beautiful city to visit any time of year, but winter is a particularly special time to go. If you're planning a trip and aren't sure what to expect, here are thirteen things you should know before visiting Quebec City in winter.
Renting A Car In Winter
- If you rent a car in Quebec between December 1 to March 15, it will be equipped with winter tires
Winter tires are mandatory by law during that period. All car rental companies operating in Quebec abide by the legal requirement to have winter tires in winter. Often, they instal the winter tires well in advance in case there is an early snow fall.
- You can’t put water in the fluid thank
It’s common in warm countries to use water instead of windshield washing fluid, but don’t do that in Quebec during winter: the water will freeze.
- If a window gets covered by frost from the inside, use an ID card to scratch off the frost
All of us locals do it. We use an ID, a debit or a credit card to scratch off the frost that builds up on the indoor surfaces of car windows. Believe it or not, flexible material of the card and the plastic edge are perfect to dislodge the frost.
- Don’t leave your water bottle in the car
It’ll be below zero in Quebec City in winter, so if you leave a water bottle in your car, it’ll freeze. If it’s very full when it freezes, it might crack, and leak once it starts melting.
Where To Buy Cheap Winter Gear To Visit Quebec City
- The Dollar shop sells hats, gloves, neck warmers and scarves
Our go-to dollar shop is called Dollarama. Dollarama in Quebec sells hats, gloves, neck warmers and scarves for a dollar or two. If you’re not after branded clothes and you’re travelling to Quebec City on a budget, Dollarama is your best bet.
- There are second hand shops all around Quebec City
There are several second-hand shops in Quebec, where people drop off old winter clothes. I’ve bought a full winter snow suit for my toddler for $5. My suggestion is that you look up shops called “Armee du salut” or “Comptoir familial” or “Village des Valeurs”.
- Scroll the Facebook Marketplace
No matter where you stay, there will be locals nearby trying to sell winter clothes on the Facebook Marketplace. Don’t be reluctant to use the Facebook marketplace in Quebec City if you don’t speak French. “Bonjour, I’m sorry my French isn’t very good, but is this still available, I’m interested. Merci.”
- You can get buy warm and waterproof winter boots for cheap in Quebec
I love a pair of Pajar boots, but if you’re only visiting Quebec City for a few weeks, you don’t need to spend that much money to keep your feet warm. My recommendation is that you check out a Canadian Tire shop – they have a lot of good quality winter boots for a fraction of the price of other shops.
Rolling Your Suitcase in the Snow
It will be easier to roll your suitcase in the snow if it has large wheels and a gap between the bottom of the suitcase and the ground. That's because otherwise you will start to accumulate snow as you pull your suitcase. I have an article titled Osprey Transporter Rolling 120 Review which shows an example of a suitcase with large wheels, but minimal space between the ground and the bag. A suitcase like this doesn't roll well on snow.
Using A Stroller During Winter In Quebec City
- You can use a stroller outside during winter
If you’re travelling with a baby or a toddler, chances are you’ll need something to push them around. Locals like me use a stroller (a pram) outside during winter. There are days when we know not to use it. If it snows too much, the pram stays homes because it gets too hard to push in fresh snow.
- You will sometimes want to swap the stroller for a sled
If there’s fresh snow and the sidewalks haven’t been cleared yet, a stroller might be impossible to push around. Until the sidewalks have been cleared, you can swap the stroller for a sled.
- Let go of the stroller’s handle if you lose your balance on ice
If you go for a walk in Quebec during winter, you might step on an icy patch. When we slip on ice while pushing a stroller, we have a tendency to tighten our grip on the stroller’s handle instead of letting it go. Holding onto the pram generally won’t stabilize you because it’s on wheels and it’s so light. What could happen however is you could bring the stroller (and your child) with you in your fall.
Flying To Quebec City During Winter
- Flights go ahead despite snow falls
Flights still go ahead on snowy days. The first and last 5 minutes of the flight could bit slightly more bumby than your average flight, but once we’ve above the clouds (above the snow) it’s business as usual.
- Flight delays and cancellations are more common
Yes, flights to Quebec City operate during winter and on snowy days, but delays and cancellations are more frequent during winter. This could be due to the de-icing process, poor weather elsewhere in North America impacting the arrival of your aircraft or crew members. Quebec City is a great winter destination and, with a few locals tricks up your sleeve, you can make the most of your time there. If you’ve enjoyed my local experts’ tips, check out my article on what to do in Quebec City during winter.
Quebec City is a great winter destination and, with a few locals tricks up your sleeve, you can make the most of your time there. If you’ve enjoyed my local experts’ tips, check out my article on what to do in Quebec City during winter.