The Hôtel de Glace marks 15 years of celebrating winter

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Work is underway on the 2015 Hôtel de Glace in Charlesbourg. By the time it is completed in early January, these archways will be finished with walls of sculpted ice. The largest section (right) is the wedding chapel, which has "stained ice" windows. The complex will have 44 rooms for overnight stays. Visitors can explore the hotel complex and take part in the many other activities on site.

The Hôtel de Glace, or Ice Hotel, will be celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2015. From January 5 to March 22, the public is invited to rediscover Quebec City's internationally recognized unique winter classic, built on the site of the former Quebec Zoo in Charlesbourg. Since 2001, the Ice Hotel has had over a million visitors, including some 49,000 people who stayed the night in a snow bedroom.

Jacques Desbois, also known as "Mr. Igloo," is president and CEO of the Ice Hotel. Desbois was delighted to announce the launch of the hotel's 15th season. Members of the media were given a tour of the construction site, where workers were completing the great hall, the wedding chapel and the ice bar. The entire complex takes about six weeks (depending on weather conditions) to construct and prepare for visitors.

Every year, dozens of craftsmen design this imposing structure built entirely of snow and ice. The snow is made artificially, blown from high-powered water guns when the temperature is below -5˚. Huge blocks of ice are also made, and then sculpted into fantastic shapes for the 44 bedroom suites, the wedding chapel, the slide, the great hall and its majestic ice chandelier.

The theme of the 2015 Hôtel de Glace is l'espace-temps - "time and space." Visitors will go on a dazzling journey through a series of areas where past and future are frozen in time: "With representations of the ancient past and a possible future, the Hôtel de Glace invites visitors to explore facets of reality as they travel through time.

Fascinating ‘time bubbles' - from the Big Bang to space travel - will be featured throughout the hotel," said Pierre l'Heureux, the new artistic director of the Hôtel de Glace.

A number of activities are planned for the 2015 season: The site is open to visitors as of January 5, but the Grand Opening takes place on Friday, January 16. On January 20, the Quebec Winter Carnival duchesses will spend the night at the Ice Hotel. Charlesbourg will celebrate its 350th anniversary on February 20. From March 2 to 6 will be the Normandin Spring Break activities. March 21 and 22 will be the Arctic Spas "Spring Awakening" closing weekend.

Snowshoeing trails and air-tube sliding have been added to the site this year, with a rental service available on site. Packages are available for tours, overnight stays, weddings and other special events at the Ice Hotel. For information, visit www.hoteldeglace-canada.com/
Getting to the site is easy. It's only a ten-minute drive from downtown Quebec City and there is plenty of parking.

Or you can take advantage of public transit which will take you right to the door. Show your RTC OPUS card (all categories), and you'll receive a $2 discount on the purchase of your ticket to visit the Ice Hotel, valid from January 5 to March 22, 2015.