The annual Quebec Winter Carnival is three weeks of parades, concerts, snow sculptures, ice skating parties.
One of the most popular events is a canoe race on the St. Lawrence River. If the river is frozen solid, teams pull their wooden canoes over the ice instead of paddling them through the water. Another event is the snow bath, in which hardy partyers strip to their bathing suits and roll around in the snow.
Usually, the Quebec Winter Carnival is the biggest party of the year in historic and picturesque Quebec City, the end of January and beginning of February. This year is different.
That's because 2008 is the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City, with celebrations and festivities throughout the year. Just part of the list includes a special exhibit of hundreds of artworks from the Louvre in Paris, and a Cirque du Soleil show specially created for the year-long birthday party.
What makes this green travels?
Quebec City is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in North America, a magnificent walled city -- the only walled city in North America.
So, it's important to Quebec's residents, businesses and government to protect the city's history and resources -- its architecture, parks, the river that runs through it, and the lakes and waterfalls a few minutes outside the city.
Any time in 2008 is a great year to visit Quebec City, and be part of a 400th birthday party.
Picturted -- Winter scene in front of Quebec's iconic hotel, the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac.