25 free activities in the Outaouais
When it comes to free activities, the Outaouais is all about having fun. Thanks to the region’s vast natural spaces, museums, art galleries and must-see attractions, you can pack your calendar with things to do without spending a dime!
Canadian Museum of History
Immerse yourself in 15,000 years of history and culture with a free visit to the Canadian Museum of History, one of Canada’s most popular museums.
100 Laurier Street, Gatineau
Free admission on Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m.
National museums in Canada’s Capital Region
Visit one (or more!) of Canada’s national museums in Gatineau–Ottawa: the Canadian Museum of Nature, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian War Museum, the Canada Science and Technology Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, or the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.
Free admission: National Gallery of Canada and Canadian War Museum – Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m.; Canadian Museum of Nature – Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m.; Canada Science and Technology Museum, Canada Aviation and Space Museum and Canada Agriculture and Food Museum – daily from 4 to 5 p.m.
Parliament of Canada
The main Parliament Building, the Centre Block, is currently closed for restoration, but four fascinating guided tours are available to the public free of charge: a tour of the Senate, a tour of the House of Commons, a tour of the East Block, and an immersive experience featuring the Centre Block.
111 Wellington Street (Parliament Hill), Ottawa
From 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (Opening hours vary depending on the tour and the day of your visit.) Reservations required.
Symmes Inn Museum
Visit the Symmes Inn Museum to travel back in time and learn about local history and Charles Symmes, the founder of Aylmer.
1 Front Street, Gatineau (Aylmer sector)
Off-season hours: From Labour Day to the first Sunday in November, and March through May: Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. | Summer hours: From the first Sunday in June to Labour Day: Tuesday to Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
ChocoMotive shop and economuseum
Visit the ChocoMotive chocolate shop, a popular stop in the village of Montebello, to learn all about the history of chocolate and how delicious chocolate treats are made. You can watch the chocolate makers at work in the open workshop.
502 Notre-Dame Street, Montebello
Daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Fairbairn House Heritage Centre
Delve into the history of the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and the life of homesteader William Fairbairn on a guided tour or by participating in one of the many activities offered at the Fairbairn House Heritage Centre.
45 Wakefield Heights Road, La Pêche
Until June 23: Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. | June 24 to August 20: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. | August 21 to October 15: Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Parc de la Ferme-Dalton
The Parc de la Ferme-Dalton (Dalton Farm Park) heritage site includes a schoolhouse, a sugar shack and a farmhouse. It’s an ideal spot for a stroll and a picnic.
199 Montée Dalton, Gatineau
White-Tail Deer Interpretation Centre
Learn about one of Canada’s iconic animals at the White-Tail Deer Interpretation Centre, and do some forest bathing on the site’s hiking trails.
6 Chemin du Barrage, Sainte-Thérèse-de-la-Gatineau
May to October.
Rapides-Farmer Generating Station
Discover the history and workings of a hydroelectric power station at the Rapides-Farmer Generating Station, in operation since 1927. Four free guided tours are offered daily.
2740 Saint-Louis Street, Gatineau
Mid-June to the end of August. Tour times: 9:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Reservations are required and must be made at least 24 hours in advance.
Heritage walking tours
Discover the places that have shaped our region’s history. Several free and fascinating walking tours are offered in the Outaouais’ various sectors.
A true outdoor paradise, Gatineau Park has an extensive network of walking trails to explore, absolutely free.
33 Scott Road, Chelsea
Opening hours vary depending on the park sector and access point.
Mont Morissette Regional Park
Hike the 13 km of marked trails in Mont Morissette Regional Park for free, and climb to the top of the 18-metre observation tower for breathtaking views.
35 Chemin du Lac Long, Blue Sea
PERO – Pôle d’excellence en récréotourisme en Outaouais
The PERO – Pôle d’excellence en récréotourisme en Outaouais (Outaouais Centre of Excellence for Recreation and Tourism) manages a network of 12 accessible hiking trails that are very popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Consult the PERO’s interactive maps.
295 Montée du lac des 31 Milles, Bouchette
La Route des Zingues
The Route des Zingues trail (a play on “route des Indes,” the fabled sea route to India) winds through the municipality of Duhamel and offers magnificent views of Lakes Gagnon and Preston.
Chemin du Lac Gagnon, Duhamel
Anytime! Closed during hunting season.
Véloroute des Draveurs
Bicycle through beautiful landscapes along the free 72-km Véloroute des Draveurs (“log drivers’ bike path”).
Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, from Low to Messines
Anytime! In winter, the trail is used for snowmobiling.
Sentier des Voyageurs
Stretching for 30 km along the north shore of the Ottawa River, the free Voyageurs Pathway recreational trail offers spectacular views of Gatineau and Ottawa. A great way to discover the area by bike, on in-line skates or on foot.
Gatineau, ville vélo
With 300 km of free recreational pathways, the City of Gatineau attracts cyclists of all abilities. Explore the city at your own pace!
25 Laurier Street, Gatineau
A 92-km bike path and natural park developed around an old railroad, the Cyclopark PPJ in the Pontiac crosses a varied landscape of farms, swamps, fields and forests, and goes through several charming villages.
From Wyman to l’Isle-aux-Allumettes
City of Gatineau outdoor centres
Admission to the City of Gatineau’s outdoor centres, parks and beaches is free, and there are lots of free outdoor activities to choose from.
Opening hours vary from site to site.
Centre d’exposition Art-image
View unique works at the Centre d’exposition Art-image and broaden your appreciation of contemporary visual art through exhibitions open to the public.
855 De la Gappe Blvd., Gatineau
Monday–Friday: 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. | Saturday and Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Located in the Centre culturel du Vieux-Aylmer, the Espace Pierre-Debain gallery presents free arts and crafts exhibitions with an emphasis on multidimensional work.
120 Principale Street, Gatineau (Aylmer sector)
Monday–Friday: 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. | Saturday and Sunday: 12 noon to 4 p.m.
The Galerie Montcalm’s varied exhibitions of work by local, Canadian and international artists make for a rewarding free cultural outing.
25 Laurier Street, 1st floor, Gatineau
Monday–Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Friday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Saturday: Closed. | Sunday: 12 noon to 5 p.m.
Centre d’action culturelle de la MRC Papineau
The Centre d’action culturelle de la MRC de Papineau hosts a variety of exhibitions showcasing local artistic talent.
548 Notre-Dame Street, Montebello
Friday–Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Downtown Gatineau Culture Trail
Enjoy urban art and discover the city for free on the Culture Trail through downtown Gatineau.
From June 21 to October 15.
Whether you want to get back to nature, enjoy works of art, or browse through a museum, you can do it all for free in the Outaouais!
For more ideas on what to do in the region, read our blog.