Claudine Julien is crowned Queen of Quebec City’s Winter Carnival

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Photo: Cassandra Kerwin

Bonhomme Carnaval crowns Claudine Julien Queen of the 63rd Quebec City Winter Carnival. 

Before a cheering crowd on the evening of January 27, Bonhomme Carnaval pulled the final capsule from a barrel and announced that the Duchess of Charlesbourg, Claudine Julien, was Queen of the 63rd Quebec Winter Carnival.  

The evening began with dignitaries offering their thanks to organizers and volunteers. Mayor Régis Labeaume presented the Key to the City to Bonhomme and declared the city open to Carnival-goers. Bonhomme then cut the ribbon, officially opening this year's Winter Carnival. 

 Finally, it was time for the long-awaited selection of the Carnival Queen. The seven duchesses appeared on stage sporting matching white headbands, mittens, white fur-lined coats and fur-covered boots - they were well-protected from our traditional winter cold, although this particular evening was unusually mild.

 Each duchess was introduced and described her experience during the weeks leading up to Carnival. Selected as duchesses for their borough of the Greater Quebec City area last October, they had worked hard selling bougies (candles) to earn as many capsules as possible in anticipation of the draw to name one of them Queen. 

 Tension grew as Bonhomme Carnaval began pulling capsules from the barrel. Bets were on the Duchess of Cité-Limoilou Steffy Theetge, who had earned 90 capsules, the most of all the duchesses. As expected, the draw became a three-way contest among Theetge, Duchess of Charlesbourg Claudine Julien, and Duchess of Lévis Marie-Laurence Nolin, who had 65 and 60 capsules respectively. 

 The crowd fell silent when the final capsule was drawn, revealing Julien as Queen. Spectators went wild when Julien's children raced onstage to present her with flowers. The Duchesses placed a white cape on her shoulders and Bonhomme placed the historical Carnival crown, first used in 1955, on her head. 

Queen Claudine Julien, her duchesses and Bonhomme will be the highlight of the Carnival parades. The Charlesbourg parade will take place on the evening of February 4, while the Upper-Town edition will be on February 11. 

 For more information on the duchesses, the Queen and the charitable organizations they supported, visit Carnival continues until February 12.