The Joys of Winter During “Carnaval”
Sainte-Agathe’s first winter carnival is said to have been organized by Omer St-Amour, a pharmacist, in 1908. This festive occasion would be interrupted some years, owing to the two World Wars and the Great Depression, among other events, before being reborn in spectacular style thanks to a flamboyant figure: Adélard Ratelle, nicknamed Monsieur Carnaval. He travelled far and wide, including to the United States, to promote this major tourist event that highlighted not only the town’s attractions, but also French-Canadian traditions like the arrowhead woven sash, old-time meals and dance nights featuring folk music.
The extensive program of activities included an ice castle, ice sculptures, the crowning of the Carnival Queen, a torchlit parade with floats, ski and dogsled races, skijoring, hockey, slides, fireworks, and plenty of evening entertainment in the town’s hotels and parish hall.
(1, 2) Ice castle and curling on the lake (Nantel Bay).
(3) Sliding at the Petites Alpes.