Some of the best views in the city, and a huge ice slide in winter, can be enjoyed from this promenade high above the St. Lawrence River.
Stretch your legs on one of the city’s most popular walks and look out over Old Québec and the St. Lawrence River. Dufferin Terrace is a riverside walkway just below the imposing Fairmont Château Frontenac hotel. The long, wooden boardwalk is a lively spot during the summer months when street performers entertain and vendors sell snacks and souvenirs. In winter, there is a massive ice slide at the end of the terrace.
As you walk along the terrace, observe the cannons that once defended Québec or stop by the statue of explorer Samuel de Champlain, the city’s founder.
Discover what lies beneath the planks at your feet with a guided tour of the archeological remains of Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux. These ruins were uncovered in a series of digs between 2005 and 2007. The ruins are directly under the terrace and are what’s left of the former residences of the British and French governors who held office between 1620 and 1834. The tour price includes a visit to a kitchen with original oven, latrines and ruins of several outbuildings. For an opportunity to see the archeological digs for free, look down from the terrace’s “archeoscopes.” There are three of these 5-foot (1.5-meter) tall glass prisms built into the promenade.
In the winter months, race down the ice slide situated on the western flank of the terrace. This temporary toboggan run has been created every year since the late 1900s. The top of the run is 269 feet (82 meters) above the terrace and it’s a steep slide along its 492 feet (150 meter) length. There’s no need to bring your own toboggan, because rental is included in the ticket price for the slope.
Situated in Old Québec, Dufferin Terrace is easily reached on foot or by bus. Make your journey more interesting by taking the cable railway up the cliff from the Quartier Petit-Champlain in the Lower Town. If you are feeling energetic, climb the adjacent stairs. You can also jump aboard a small Écolobus, a cheap, electric city bus that moves between the Upper and Lower Town.