150 reasons to visit the Outaouais in 2017

Published on January 4 2017

There are so many things to do in the Outaouais region that it’s hard to narrow down the long list. However, since we’re at 150 days before Canada’s Confederation 150th anniversary, we’ve selected 150 good reasons why you should come and see us next year.

Consider this as your 2017 bucket list. Discover (or rediscover) as many as you can!


1. It is in Gatineau, right behind the Canadian Museum of History, that you’ll get the best view on the Parliament of Canada. Take your 150th anniversary souvenir photo!

From July 1st to October 15, 2017, Mosaïcultures internationales will take place in Jacques-Cartier Park. This major international horticultural exhibition will be a thematic journey through Canada’s history, values, culture and arts.

3. Gatineau Loppet – Place au 150e
The biggest international cross-country ski event in Canada, which is taking place in Gatineau since 1979, will be adding three special activities in 2017: a linear FatBike race for 150 participants, historical representations at the refreshment stations along the route, and a mobile cross-country ski museum. Consideration is also being given to a Guinness record for the longest ski!

4. Reading Town GATINEAU Ville lecture
In 2017, Reading Town/Ville lecture will be travelling across three Canadian cities, including Gatineau. It’s an inclusive and participatory multilingual and multi-disciplinary literary event for everyone, including avid readers and new readers.

5. Lumière et son du silence
The two water reservoirs at the Masson plant will be permanently illuminated to become the lighthouses announcing the approach to Gatineau. The lights will be inaugurated in a show that will be a first of its kind in Canada, zero decibel (participants will use headphones), to highlight the natural environment while preserving its silence.

6. Grand prix cycliste de Gatineau
For Canada’s 150th anniversary, there will be live coverage on international television of this elite cycling event happening in Gatineau.

7. Beerfest 150e Craftbeer Festival
In 2017, the Beerfest/Festibière will present the biggest food and beer tasting event in Canada. For three days in June 2017, brewers and agri-food producers, as well as chefs from every province and territory in Canada will share their stories..

8. Gatineau's Intercultural Festival 
From June 20 to 22, 2017 Maison Wright-Scott will resonate with the colours of diversity for Canada’s 150th, as Aboriginal communities, newcomers and Gatineau residents gather for the Gatineau’s first Intercultural Festival.

9. Famous Historical Figures (Dérives Urbaines) 
Outdoor theatrical performances highlighting events and figures that marked Gatineau’s history will take place at the Quai des Légendes on Jacques-Cartier street.

10. AERO 150 - Special Airshow
Aero150 is a once-in-a-lifetime aviation spectacle to be held at the Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport on Sunday, April 30, 2017. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the Patrouille de France of the French Air Force (l ‘Armée de l’Air) will soar over the skies of Gatineau in a display of friendship, freedom and the historic ties between Canada France.

11. First Edition of Festival de l'humour de Gatineau
The Festival de l’Humour de Gatineau will mark the return of comedy to the Outaouais’ major events. The three-days festival will feature big names in comedy, rising stars, and the next generation of talent from here and beyond.

12. Hockey in Canada - More than just a game!
If you’re a committed hockey fan, you have to see Hockey in Canada – More Than Just a Game at the Canadian Museum of History, a fascinating interactive experience with unique artefacts, pictures of historic moments, and items from private collections. From March 9 until October 9.

13. Cirque du Soleil - VOLTA
Cirque du Soleil is coming to the Zibi site in Gatineau from August 3 to 27 for a show under the Big Top. Inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of action sports, the show weaves the adrenaline rush of acrobatics into a visually striking world.

14. The Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History
Occupying more than 40,000 square feet, this signature gallery will trace Canada’s history from the dawn of human habitation to the present day. Opening on July 1st,2017.

15. AXENEO7 « À perte de vue » exhibition
Large-scale artwork and sculptures will be exhibited at La Fonderie in 2017 as part of a Canada Scene signature project in visual arts.

16. Interprovincial Picnic on the Bridge
A first in Canada! On July 2, 2017, the Alexandra Bridge will be transformed into a harbour of lush greenery, where residents and visitors from both sides of the Ottawa River – Ottawa and Gatineau – will gather and enjoy a picnic on the bridge.

17. A Canada Day like none other
Celebrating Canada Day in the nation’s capital is an experience in itself. Get ready for a memorable celebration in 2017!


18. La Machine
From July 26 to 30, 2017, an ambulatory urban theatre will take place in the streets of downtown Ottawa as astonishing creatures will be invading the nation’s capital.

19. Red Bull Crashed Ice
Red Bull Crashed Ice will make its Ottawa debut when the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship crashes and glides its way into the capital on March 3-4, 2017.

20. Stanley Cup tribute
Hat trick in 2017 with 3 major hockey milestones: the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup, the centennial of the National Hockey League and the Ottawa Senator’s 25th hockey season. It all takes place in Ottawa!

21. Underground Multi-media Experience
Take part in an ultimate underground experience with a futuristic and immersive multimedia production projected in one of Ottawa’s future Light Rail Transit (LRT) stations.

22. YOWttawa
Celebrate Canada’s 150th with a two-day large-scale ticketed contemporary music event.

23. AGRI 150
Awaken your senses and indulge in the pure beauty of rural Ottawa with Agri 150, a new Ottawa 2017 program that will take place over the course of the year in the following communities: West Carleton-March, Stittsville, Cumberland, Osgoode and Rideau Goulbourn.

24. Ignite 150
A series of 17 epic stunts and happenings will turbo-charge every corner of the capital in 2017. These experiences will be no less than ephemeral, spectacular, innovative, breathtaking, and unforgettable, while taking place in surprising and unusual locations across Ottawa.

25. JUNO Week
Canada’s musical elite will descend on Ottawa for a week of celebrations, culminating in the 46th Annual JUNO Awards at the Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday, April 2nd, 2017.

26. 2017 Canadian Videogame Awards
The Canadian Videogame Awards will be coming to Ottawa in November 2017. In addition to the gala celebrations the Ottawa 2017 Bureau will host a national championship for gamers.

27. Inspiration Village
This ephemeral hub for special exhibits and performances to highlight the regions of Canada, will be located in Ottawa’s historic ByWard Market.

28. Ottawa welcomes the world
All residents and visitors are encouraged to join the festivities of embassies and high commissions to mark each of their country’s national celebration and thus, dive into a unique multicultural atmosphere.

29. Grey Cup game and Festival
The Canadian football tradition returns to Ottawa in 2017!


So, while you’re around for one or many of these special celebrations, why not take a few extra days to explore the Outaouais region!

30. July = Family Month in the Outaouais. Plan the longest recess of the year!

31. Unwind in one of the region’s six spas (or why not all of them)!

32. Spoil yourself in North America’s largest spa, Nordik Spa-Nature.

33. Spend a day at Canada’s most visited museum (1 M visitors a year!), the Canadian Museum of History.

34. Also visit the other seven national museums, including the Children’s Museum.

35. Choose your hike amongst our 200 km of trails in the Gatineau Park.

36. Take your dog for a walk in one of our many pet-friendly hiking and walking trails.

37. Have fun all night long at the Casino du Lac-Leamy, where entertainment never ends.

38. Choose your perfect weekend getaway in one of our 5,800 camping sites.

39. Bring your canoe, kayak of go rafting on one of the 197 accessible waterways in the Outaouais.

40. Bike along 800 km of recreational pathways, 600 of which are in the heart of the city!

41. At wintertime, we’re all about snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and here’s why: 540 km of trails.

42. Come and enjoy our 20,000 lakes and dozen rivers.

43. Visit the legendary Parc Oméga, and stay overnight!

44. Sleep like a queen or a king at the world’s largest log castle, Fairmont Le Château Montebello.

45. Travel through an amazing water maze with a paddle boat at Eco-Odyssée.

46. Discover wildlife and nature aboard an airboat at Bayou Outaouais.

47. Immerse yourself in the pastoral atmosphere of the last century at the Mackenzie King Estate.

48. Put on your nicest summer outfit and have tea at the home of Louis-Joseph Papineau. You will be greeted at the Manoir as guests would have been back in the 19th century.

49. Explore our eight covered bridges, most of which are in the Gatineau Valley. They are filled with history.

50. Take a photo of the spectacular Marchand Bridge in the village of Fort Coulonge. With 499 feet long, it is the longest covered bridge in the province.

51. Hop aboard an electric-powered boat: the water-taxi, an Amphibus or a cruise to travel between Quebec and Ontario provinces, on the river.

52. Pamper yourself and your loved one with a romantic retreat at the Wakefield Mill Hotel & Spa

53. Visit La Ferme Moore, an urban farm in Gatineau, and taste their fresh organic food.

54. Try a unique camping experience in a suspended tent at Horizon X. You’ll sleep like a baby.

55. Discover the depth of the earth in the famous Laflèche Cave, the biggest visited cave in the Canadian Shield. Are you brave enough for a night stay?

56. Explore Lusk Cave — a superb marble cave and natural geological phenomenon that has been thousands of years in the making.

57. Live an unforgettable dog sled adventure any time of the year. Yes, even during summertime!

58. Try the highest bungee jump in North America at Great Canadian Bungee.

59. Climb up to 45 feet… indoors! Altitude Gym is a unique indoor rock climbing facility.

60. Swing, zip, climb and glide through the trees on an exhilarating aerial adventure in one of the region’s three aerial parks.

61. Climb along a 500-metre rock face above the Coulonge River!

62. Bike along the 14 km Louis-Joseph Papineau cycling trail. Different pieces of art along the pathway make for a unique cycling experience in Québec.

63. Visit the charming Wakefield and Chelsea villages.

64. If you like white water canoeing, you must go to the Dumoine River - one of the most beautiful free flowing rivers in the Pontiac region.

65. Bask in the sun on one of numerous sandy beaches, including the Norway Bay Beach, the Fort William Beach (formerly a Hudson’s Bay Trading Post) as well as the beach at Leslie Lake in the Pontiac.

66. Every summer on Friday night, traditional fiddle music can be heard from Fort William, a testimony of the village Irish heritage. Listen to the tunes and watch the beautiful sunset.

67. Celebrate Thorne's German heritage through music, food and traditional costume, at the Ladysmith Oktoberfest.

68. Take part in an electrifying rally at Explora Géo-Rallye and uncover clues while driving an electric all-terrain vehicle (geobike) equipped with an iPad!

69. Be part of the 161th edition of the oldest agricultural fair in Quebec, the Shawville Fair.

70. Hike in the Gatineau Park to discover the ruins of a revolutionary industrial plant that he built in 1911, the Carbide Willson ruins.

71 .Discover the most spectacular mini-golf in the Gatineau-Ottawa Region in a beautiful natural setting, Dunn-D’s mini golf!

72. Immerse yourself in a surreal ambiance and dance the night away at Aléa nightclub, located in the Casino du Lac-Leamy.

73. Admire the planets, stars and constellations from the most southerly dark sky site in Quebec, the Rose Valley Astronomy Observatory.

74. Watch the most beautiful sunsets on the Ottawa River from the Aylmer Marina.

75. Hockey fan? Come and say hi to Guy Lafleur in Thurso and Maurice Richard in Gatineau.

76. Bathe in a natural spa at Parc du Pont-de-Pierre, on the north shore of Lac Trente-et-un-Milles.

77. Visit the oldest barbershop in the region, built in 1940 on the smallest lot in Gatineau on Papineau Street, where a scene of the movie “On the Road” was shot.

78. Marvel at the wonders of nature and admire Pink Lake which, despite its name, is emerald colored due to a natural phenomenon.

79. See the urban art scattered throughout Gatineau.

80. Ride the Véloroute des Draveurs, part of the Trans-Canada Trail!

81. In winter, go wild as you tube down the slopes at Domaine de l’Ange-Gardien and pay a visit to Mr. Léger in his sugarshack as spring approaches.

82. No matter the season, a nice hike in Forêt-La-Blanche will make you discover one of the last ancient forests in Quebec, with trees of over 400 years of age.

83. The 18 metre observation tower at Mont Morissette offers a spectacular view on a dozen lakes, including majestic Blue Sea Lake.

84. The Zizanie-des-Marais in Parc National de Plaisance is an awesome wooden boardwalk through wetlands, allowing great observation of nature. There are also picnic areas with a breathtaking view on waterfalls.

85. Try winter camping in a yurt at Lac Philippe ! You can only reach it by ski or snowshoe!

86. Camp on your own private island at Parc régional du Poisson Blanc.

87. The view at Champlain Lookout is simply unbelievable!

88. Meet Monsieur Patin, the nicest and most popular athlete in Gatineau.

89. Join the hundreds of cyclists taking advantage of the parkways that are closed to cars on Nokia Sunday Bikedays.

90. Let multi-coloured glass sculpture Papa’s unique light and colour shows dazzle you.

91. The Luskville Falls Trail is quite the challenge. A hike up to the fire tower will reveal several unmatchable lookouts, especially in autumn. The falls themselves are at their best in the spring, when the snow melts.

92. The eastern loop in Lac-Beauchamp park will make you wonder if you’re still within the Gatineau city limits…

93. One of the best known landmarks in the sector of Hull is the Montcalm Street Bridge. Not only is it very photogenic both by day and at night when it is lit, it also boasts an actual piece of the Eiffel Tower. With nearby Brasseurs du temps and Brewery Creek, the place is enchanting.

94. Pointe-à-David is a spectacular beach-surrounded peninsula in Baskatong reservoir, perfect for your next vacations!

95. Visit legendary Lac des étoiles: caused by a meteorite, it’s a lake on an island… in a lake. There are only two such lakes in the world and the other one is in Asia.

96. A hike to Oiseau Rock will take you to a beautiful little lake with pristine waters. Enjoy the view on the way and try to spot the peregrine falcon as he soars by.

97. The Cultural Centre in Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg is a goldmine of information about the Algonquin people.

98. Have you tried jumping from a 40 feet tower to land on a giant air cushion? Here you can!


99. Véronique Rivest, of the world’s top sommelier, invites you to her restuarant and wine bar SOIF bar à vin!

100. There are 15 varieties of hot chocolate to be tasted in the region.

101. The Outaouais is home to 27 different cheeses.

102. The region’s microbrewers brew 51 different beers between them. They are: Brasseurs du Temps, Gainsbourg and Pub Chelsea, Brasseurs de Montebello, and Brasseurs de l’Outaouais.

103. Five chocolate makers are here for your sweet tooth: Rochef, Chocomotive, Miss Chocolat, Béatrice et chocolats et Chocolats Favoris.

104. Navigate the Outaouais Gourmet Way: four routes are suggested to discover the best flavours and products this region has to offer.

105. Fine dining at a 5-diamond restaurant is what the Baccara is all about. It was also named one of the most romantic restaurants in Quebec!

106. Chez Fatima features belly dancing shows, for free.

107. Sleep, eat, drink and play at the British Hotel, in a 19th century historical building in charming Aylmer.

108. Walk down Rue Principale in Aylmer, with its historic sector with a unique and rich built heritage from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

109. Many public markets where you can meet and chat with the producers: Vieux-Hull, Notre-Dame and Vieux-Aylmer.

110. The Outaouais’ geographic location makes it perfect for many sorts of mushrooms to grow here. Take your basket and go mushroom picking!

111. Meet Chef Jean-Claude Chartrand, who recently represented Chelsea in Radio-Canada’s Le Combat des villes, in his restaurant L’Orée du Bois in Chelsea.

112. Go fill up on cuddles with the seven resident cats at Siberian Cat Café !

113. Try the decadent desserts at Café 349 in Shawville.

114. Cassis on Rue Principale in Aylmer has to-die-for gelatos. They even have some for your gourmet dog.

115. Aux Deux Frères bakery on Rue Principale makes the best pizza slices. Ever. But hurry! They sell like hot cakes!

116. The Café du Bistrot has a “Chic poutine’’ that you just have to try.

117. Then again, Montebello’s Délice Champêtre’s 3 (local) cheese poutine is also a must-have!

118. Speaking of Québec’s finest dish, Le Hibou in Wakefield has a breakfast poutine. To be enjoyed on their patio overlooking the Gatineau River!

119. Domaine du Mont-Vézeau in Ripon makes an outstanding strawberry wine.

120. Have a bite on the Canadian Museum of History’s Voyageur Cafeteria, offering a unique view on the Ottawa River.

121. Chez Edgar is cute and small but a bite in their “Dutch Baby“ will show you why it’s ranked amongst the best in Canada.

122. Bistro l’Autre Œil has the most extensive beer menu in Quebec, with around 500 varieties to choose from!

123. Not only do the Brasseurs du temps make excellent beer, they also have a museum of the region’s brewing history!

124. The St-André in the heart of Saint-André-Avellin has music, good food and drinks, and amamzing friends all in one place.

125. From Mid-May to Mid-June, La Macédoine farm invites you to taste asparagus the way nature intended and see the huge sculptures built in their honour. Meet Guy-Louis Poncelet, farmer and merchant of asparagus and dreams!

126. The Binerie on Road 105 in Kazabazua makes the best baked beans. Period.

127. There are many sugar shacks in the region to satisfy your sweet tooth, including a small traditional one at Parc Oméga.

128. Où... Quoi! Lounge urbain is the place to go for unique drinks and shots : check out la Queue de castor, la Fontaine Aubry, and the Gummy bear, just to name a few.

129. October in cranberry harvest at La Vallée des canneberges in Venosta! Go see their fields ; it’s impressive!

130. You simply cannot leave without sampling Confiserie Wakefield’s You just can’t.

131. Sip a cup of coffe Chez Océane, you'll be litterally two steps away from the Blue Sea Lake.


132. Enjoy an ice cold beer during Winter Beerfest.

133. You must live the Winterlude experience at least once! Come in February and enjoy family time at the Snowflake Kingdom.

134. Challenge Canada's winter at the legendary Canadian Ski Marathon.

135. Whitewater canoeing, kayaking and rafting on the Gatineau River, breathtaking observation points and a time to reflect on the importance of protecting and preserving our waterways at the Festival d'eau vive de la Haute-Gatineau.

136. Celebrate with us at the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival! Five days of fun!

137. Cheer on the best athletes as they take part in elite sporting events: tennis, biking, triathlon, cross-country skiing…

138. Join Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg for 2 days to celebrate their traditional Algonquin heritage. This event brings together old friends and creates new ones.

139. See the most impressive sand castles of your life at the Wonders of Sand.

140. Party like a rockstar at the Amnesia Rockfest, the largest rock festival in Canada!

141. Enjoy free movies and ─ also free ─ popcorn at the Rouge FM Outdoor Movie Nights, in July only!

142. Get swept away by the beauty of the amazing fireworks at Casino du Lac-Leamy Sound of Light.

143. Meet the real Santa Claus in Old-Aylmer and rediscover the magic and romance of Christmas the traditional Christmas market.

144. If you love country music and lifestyle, you’re in luck with our St-André-Avellin Western Festival and Professional Rodeo, Val-des-Monts Country Festival as well as Festival Country de Gatineau.

145. Potatoes, family fun, outdoor music performances and lovely villages. What do they have in common? A festival!

146. Go to the most important fibre festival in Canada, TWIST Festival.

147. See the astonishing sculptures and installations of the Festival Recycl’Art de Gatineau.

148. Celebrate the rich log building heritage of the region and of the world at the Montebello Logfest!

149. Enjoy a front-row seat to the Fall Rhapsody in Gatineau Park.

150. Last but not least, bask in the Outaouais residents’ Joie de vivre !

See you next year!

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