Société des musées du Québec

Winter Wonders at Quebec’s Museums

Nathalie Lampron, museologist & writer

Zoo Ecomuseum / Photo : Victoria De Martigny

Put a log in the fireplace: winter traditions

Maison Saint-Gabriel - extérieur
Maison Saint-Gabriel

In Souvenirs des hivers d’autrefois, Victoriaville’s Musée Laurier rekindles memories of winters past with displays of objects and images. The exhibition also includes oral reminiscences gathered during a cultural mediation project in the community. Bring along your parents and grandparents to share in the heart-warming memories!

Exhibition in French only.

Going further back in time, we have an opportunity to explore what winter was like in New France through a guided tour of the exhibition L’hiver à l’époque de la Nouvelle-France at the Maison Saint-Gabriel, in Montréal. A time when staying warm was a constant concern!

Guided tour in French only.


History trivia: What is it?

What object was very useful in the past during intense cold weather? It is part of the collection of the Site historique du Magasin général Dumoulon, in Rouyn-Noranda. Warm coal was placed in a drawer on the side.

La maison Dumulon - anglais
Foot warmer, 1st half of the 20th century, DUM.1996.x.319, Collections de la Corporation de La maison Dumulon / Photo : Corporation de La maison Dumulon


Hold on to your hat … it’s time for winter sports!

Musée du ski des Laurentides
Musée du ski des Laurentides / Photo : Denis Landry

Skiing is a traditional winter sport. Take advantage of your outings to the snow-clad hills near Saint-Sauveur to visit the Laurentian Ski Museum. Did you know that the region is recognized as the cradle of skiing in Canada?

One of the exhibitions at Québec City’s Musée de la civilisation also attracts our attention: Come and play outside! 200 years of practising sports in Quebec City. Generation after generation has taken to the city’s slopes, rivers and wide open spaces for wholehearted enjoyment: skating, curling, skiing, ice canoeing, snowshoeing . . . It’ll put you in the mood for some outdoor fun!

Are you a snowmobile enthusiast? Head to the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier, named after the inventor of this mode of transportation that was skillfully designed to meet the challenges of Quebec winters!


Winter ... raw and glorious in the museum collections

Musée maritime du Québec
Musée maritime du Québec / Photo : Marie-Pier Morin

You’ll want to listen closely during the new immersive exhibition at the Musée maritime du Québec, in L’Islet-sur-Mer. Imagine life aboard the sturdy Ernest Lapointe icebreaker, tossed about by gale-force winter winds as it broke through the ice-covered waters. The artist Caroline Gagné has designed an enthralling soundscape from archival excerpts and recordings made aboard the ship. It definitely won’t leave you cold!

At home

The art of appreciating winter: The many shades of white!

Choose a winter-themed painting from the online collections of Quebec’s art museums: explore the works at the Musée d’art de Joliette, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. See if you can detect how the artist has represented the various shades of the snow and ice. This will let you sharpen your powers of observation! You can also take time to look closely at the snowy landscapes in your surroundings. You’ll begin to see winter in a whole new light.


Life below zero

Curious about how northern animals adapt to the cold? Enjoy your chance to admire the polar bears, walruses and arctic foxes at the Aquarium du Québec, in Sainte-Foy. Meanwhile, the Montréal Biodôme takes you on an excursion to the land of the penguins in the Subantarctic Islands ecosystem. And as a bonus, you can warm up in the tropical ecosystem. All bundled up, head to the Ecomuseum Zoo, in Montréal’s West Island, to visit the outdoor zoo and discover Quebec wildlife in a natural setting. Spot and observe the otters, wolves, deer, lynxes and so many others!


At home

Science experiments: Having fun with ice!

Take advantage of a freezing cold day to create ice bubbles or, if you prefer to stay warm, watch the formation of ice crystals online. These fascinating experiments are available for viewing on the Montréal Science Centre’s website.


Quebec’s museums are ready to welcome you in a safe environment! Be sure to inform yourself about the public health measures and the reservation procedure before you arrive.


Share your moments of winter wonder in Quebec’s museums: #MuséesQc #museeFamille