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Brooke Shields outshines carnival queen

It was a merry fete celebrating pea soup and tourtière. Revellers rejoiced in the culture of les habitants when the Quebec Winter Carnival first began in 1894. In 1955, residents of Quebec City revived the festival with new traditions in the old city. Skilled canoeists raced on the half-frozen St. Lawrence and artists built ice sculptures. But over the years purists say Le Carnaval de Québec has strayed too far from its roots, using gimmicks from Bonhomme to Brooke Shields to attract crowds.

media clip
The Quebec Carnival queen flees her own ball on Feb. 5, 1988, upstaged by Hollywood beauty Brooke Shields, reports say. Isabelle Boutin leaves her party crying after media ignored her, snapping photographs of the actress instead. Boutin and Shields were seated next to each other at the carnival's prestigious Queen's Ball. This year, the Quebec government invited Shields and other American celebrities to boost the carnival's international exposure.

The media has no shortage of photo opportunities at the 33rd carnival. As seen in this CBC Television clip, cameras flash when Bonhomme greets Brooke Shields in her floor-length mink.
• The Globe and Mail reported that Queen Isabelle Boutin left in tears "visibly upset by a ball that wasn't hers." Boutin denied the allegations saying, "My ball was wonderful. I had a lovely evening and it was a dream come true to dine with Brooke Shields."

• Some carnival-goers paid $250 a plate to be seated next to a celebrity at the Queen's Ball.

• Among other celebrities attending that year were Carol Alt, Woody Harrelson, Margot Kidder and Carrie Fisher.

• At the 1984 carnival Anne Murray danced with Bonhomme at the Queen's Ball and performed songs with Dionne Warwick, including Up Where We Belong, Islands in the Stream and She Works Hard for the Money.

Medium: Television
Production Date: Feb. 5, 1988
Guest(s): Helene Turcotte
Reporter: Diana Bishop
Duration: 1:38

Last updated: November 21, 2014

Page consulted on November 21, 2014

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