What’s new in the Outaouais this summer
Make way for the new! Visit special exhibitions, spend the night in weird and wonderful places, play outside, and attend major festivals and events. Three cheers for summer in the Outaouais!
VISIT NEW EXHIBITIONS
CANADIAN MUSEUM OF NATURE
Look up—and look out! You’ve just escaped from the largest flying animal that ever lived on Earth. Step back millions of years at the exhibition Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs. This landmark exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History runs from June 15 to September 2 at the Canadian Museum of Nature.
CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM
Discover the origins and culture of the Highland soldier, one of the most iconic figures in military history. Highland soldiers were fearsome fighters and respected warriors. But the question is: did they wear kilts into battle? Developed by Nomad Exhibitions in collaboration with the Canadian War Museum and Glasgow Museums, the exhibition runs May 31, 2019 to January 12, 2020.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MUSEUM
For the first time in Canada, the Canada Science and Technology Museum presents Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius, the most comprehensive exhibition experience on this legendary figure to tour the world. Created by Grande Exhibitions in collaboration with the Museo Leonardo da Vinci in Rome and a number of experts and historians from Italy and France, this interactive experience commemorates 500 years of Leonardo’s legacy. May 2 to September 2.
NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA
See the world’s first-ever exhibition devoted to Paul Gauguin’s portraiture. The National Gallery of Canada is the sole North American venue to host this exhibition of some 60 works by this important painter. May 24 to September 8.
CANADIAN MUSEUM OF HISTORY
They populated all of Eurasia for 300,000 years, only to mysteriously disappear 30,000 years ago. They loved hunting and art. Who were the Neanderthals? From May 17, 2019 to January 26, 2020, see this major exhibition developed by the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle – Musée de l’Homme (France) that takes a new look at this chapter of the human story.
TAKE A TOUR!
SENATE AND HOUSE OF COMMONS
The Centre Block of the Parliament of Canada is closed to the public for renovations … for the next 10 years! Guided tours are now being offered at two new sites: the West Block (temporary home of the House of Commons) and the Government Conference Centre (temporary home of the Senate). Use the new online reservation system to book a free guided tour of either or both.
On Saturday afternoons from June 22 to August 24, you are cordially invited to have tea at the Prime Minister’s. On the picturesque verandah of Laurier House, enjoy picnic-basket treats provided on site (reservation required). On Thursday nights in August, discover the secret lives of some of our prime ministers at Fact or Fiction evenings, a fun combination of quiz, history lesson and gossip session. Refreshments included!
After undergoing a complete reconstruction, the new and improved Centre d’exposition L’Imagier gallery is finally ready to open! The public is invited to a unique vernissage on Friday, May 24 at 6 p.m., when the new space will be inaugurated with the exhibition Trames narratives / Storylines. The summer day camp program has also been expanded: in addition to musical activities in the Parc de l’Imaginaire, L’Imagier is offering an arts day camp for children ages 5 to 12 (June 25 to August 23, 2019).
SPEND A MEMORABLE NIGHT
Parc Oméga has a reputation for unusual accommodations. Besides wi-tents and log cabins, there are luxurious all-season cottages where you can join a wolf pack (well, almost)! Given the success of these rooms with exceptional views, four new ones have been added: two near the wolf pack, and two near the bear enclosure.
FAIRMONT LE CHÂTEAU MONTEBELLO
Last fall, the Fairmont Le Château Montebello resort hotel underwent major renovations to modernize and refresh the rooms, hallways and lobby. At the spa, two new high-quality, relaxing and energizing “nap booths” will be available 24 hours a day. More cabins will appear poolside: six private cabanas will give guests who rent them a private place to bask all day.
The Village Majopial tourist resort is expanding. In addition to the Apprentice Inn, the cottages and the restaurant, there’s the new Minitik Inn, with six luxurious rooms with balcony for those who want a prime view of Thirty-One Mile Lake. Paddle board yoga classes, boat rental (canoes, kayaks and paddle boards) and many packages are also available.
Calling all nature lovers and romantics: these mini-cottages overlooking McGregor Lake will enchant you. All cottages are fully equipped, and each has a private spa and breathtaking lake views.
GO PLAY OUTSIDE
GÉO EXPLORA SCOOTREK
Driving a three-wheeled electric scooter, equipped with a GPS-enabled tablet, go on an adventure-filled historic rally! This unique exploration activity is offered in two Outaouais locations: at the garden house of the Fairmont Le Château Montebello, and in Chelsea.
The Outaouais will soon have its very own Camino de Santiago in the heart of nature. Kenauk Nature has been working tirelessly to clear a 100-km hiking trail through the oldest private nature reserve in North America. Other activities offered include skeet shooting, fishing, marksmanship, axe throwing, and (giant!) paddle boarding. A 15-metre (48-foot) climbing wall will also be installed this summer.
RIPON’S BLACK MOUNTAINS PARK
This summer, three new features will be introduced at Ripon’s Black Mountains Park (website in French only). A 12.5-metre observation tower will be erected and will provide a breathtaking view of the Black Mountains. There will be two new mountain biking trails: the Grand Pic (intermediate flostyle) and the Ancêtre (cross-country). Finally, you’ll be able to pitch your tent in a new wilderness campground.
PLEIN AIR OUTAOUAIS
There’s a new website for outdoor enthusiasts! In partnership with Outaouais Tourism and other regional partners, Loisir sport Outaouais has created a database of places where you can practise outdoor activities. Find new locations that match your search criteria!
Located in Gatineau’s Rivière-Blanche sector, Dalton Eco-Park (web page in French only) has many treasures to discover. A 6-km multipurpose trail leads to three covered bridges over the Blanche River, a one-room schoolhouse, a sugar shack, a farmhouse, orchards, a gardener’s workshop, a floral park, large vegetable gardens, and a replica of the old Templeton train station.
JOIN THE CROWD AT MAJOR EVENTS
GATINEAU HOT AIR BALLOON FESTIVAL
Prepare to be amazed at the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. This year’s edition features an updated entertainment program that includes live performances by Ariane Moffat, Claude Dubois, Les Trois Accords, and Nickelback! There will also be new family activities, new midway attractions, and of course, hot air balloon rides, all on a completely redesigned site.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
The soundtrack has been stuck in our heads ever since we learned the news: After 19 years of touring to 255 cities around the world, the blue and white Big Top will be set up on the Zibi site in Gatineau from August 1 to September 1, 2019. Cirque du Soleil is pleased to present the 25th-anniversary remount of Alegría, one of its most iconic shows.
What’s your favourite new thing? Tell us all about it!