Cobblestone: A magical tour of the downtown core

Published on December 15 2022 - Sponsored

As the days grow colder, we start bundling up warmly, and the approaching holiday season invites us to marvel at the Christmas decorations. If you’re a tourist or a resident of Canada’s Capital Region and want to do a little exploring this winter, we suggest you hop aboard the Cobblestone tour bus for an unforgettable ride through the lively streets of Gatineau and Ottawa.

A one-of-a-kind tour

If you’re familiar with the famous Lady Dive amphibus that travels the Ottawa River every summer, you’ll be pleased to know that the same company is now offering a new winter tour aboard a photogenic vintage bus dating from 1986. All winter long, Cobblestone will be touring the downtown core of Canada’s Capital Region to show you its best features.

From November 1 to April 30, the company offers several different tours, including the Classic City Tour and the Christmas Lights Tour. There’s also the Hop On, Hop Off experience (daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), which allows you to hop on and off at any of the 11 stops along the route. The tours last approximately 70 to 90 minutes. You can also rent one of the buses for a group activity, private event or special occasion.

An unforgettable experience

My friend Élodie and I took an afternoon to try the 70-minute Classic City Tour. The starting point is on George Street in the ByWard Market, in front of The Grand restaurant. You can’t miss it: the bus is blazing red and attracts attention everywhere it goes. Many people greeted us along the tour route, delighted by its charm.

Once on board, we took a seat on one of the rustic wooden benches under the windows, through which we could admire some of the must-see sights of Ottawa and Gatineau. A bilingual (English and French) guide accompanies the driver, providing little-known facts and anecdotes that helped make the city what it is today. Local landmarks along the tour route include several national museums (including the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian War Museum and the Canadian Museum of History), the Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill, and the prime minister’s residence. We also learned more about the history of the region and the important people who have shaped it.

Once the tour was over, I couldn’t help being delighted to have so many great reasons to explore the region. From cultural attractions to historic buildings and heritage, Gatineau and Ottawa are vibrant, dynamic and colourful cities with a lot to teach us! My favourites along the route: the beautiful homes lining Dows Lake, the lively vibe of the ByWard Market, and the view of the Alexandra Bridge.

There was no snow yet when we took the tour, but I can imagine how magical it must be when the landscape is covered in white! If you get the chance, the Christmas Lights Tour (available until January 6, 2023) is guaranteed to get you into the holiday spirit, especially since the bus is decorated and Christmas music is played on board. It’s so warm and welcoming, you’ll want to go around a second time!

A nice addition to your winter getaways

All winter long, Canada’s Capital Region will host events and activities you won’t want to miss! They include the Rideau Canal Skateway (January to March, weather permitting) and Winterlude (February 3 to 20, 2023). Several stops along the Cobblestone route are nearby, including Jacques-Cartier Park, Confederation Park and Lansdowne Park. Make your visit to the area a memorable one by combining skating, snow tubing, ice sculptures and a stroll through downtown. Buy a Cobblestone day pass online or at one of the kiosks. Save 10% when you buy your ticket at the Maison du tourisme in Gatineau.

To sum up, this is definitely one of the best ways to discover the region this winter. With family and friends, as a couple or on your own, this tour will amaze you and spark your curiosity. Plus, dogs are allowed! What are you waiting for? Book your tour today!


The Cobblestone starting point is close to many gourmet addresses you’ll enjoy discovering. Your winter walk will probably have whetted your appetite, so why not try one of these 10 restaurants in downtown Gatineau? We’d love to hear about your experience!

Facebook Twitter Email