Where to rent an island in the Outaouais
Who hasn’t dreamed of a peaceful retreat, far from other people and the hustle and bustle of everyday life? In the Outaouais, you can have your own island. If you feel like Robinson Crusoe or even Gilligan (I won’t mention Tom Hanks in Cast Away), we have the perfect spot for you. Here are a few places you can escape to.
Parc régional du lac 31 Milles
Thirty-One Mile Lake
Located in the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, Thirty-One Mile Lake has exactly 136 islands. Well, some are no bigger than a living room, but they’re there, scattered across this limpid stretch of water. There are about 20 sites suitable for camping, and some islands are large enough to accommodate several tents. The campsites are managed by the Société d’aménagement et de gestion environnementale (SAGE) (environmental development and management society) of the Thirty-One Mile Lake watershed. The marine team travels the lake daily to inform campers about environmental protection and deliver firewood ($10 per bundle).
Local activities: You can rent a boat at the Village Majopial resort and eat at the gourmet restaurant L’Huile d’Olive! At the north end of the lake, discover the trails leading to the Déléage Stone Bridge, where an actual marble bridge was formed by water erosion over thousands of years. You can also swim in a natural basin carved out of the rock! South of the lake, you can visit the Point Comfort cave. There are even some underwater caves that attract scuba diving enthusiasts.
Cost: $20 per day (plus tax). On larger sites, you can install up to three additional tents for $10 (plus tax) per additional tent per day. You must reserve a minimum of two days, otherwise the system won’t record your reservation.
How: Book your site through the SAGE website.
Poisson Blanc Regional Park
Straddling two regions, the Laurentians and the Outaouais, the Poisson Blanc reservoir is vast—which means you’ll have peace and quiet on your island or peninsula. There are about 80 of them. Poisson Blanc Regional Park, located north of the reservoir, has about 50 wilderness campsites. Some are free, but don’t expect the comforts of a paid site! Booking a site gets you exclusive access, delivery of firewood, a picnic table and a dry toilet.
Good to know: You can rent a boat and arrange for your luggage to be delivered to Poisson Blanc Regional Park.
Did you know that you can purchase gift certificates for island stays? What could be more romantic?
Cost: From $60 (plus tax) in high season. Fee includes exclusive access to the site for the duration of your stay, delivery of one bag of wood per night to the site, parking, a map of the park, and access to outdoor showers.
How: Reserve your spot through the Poisson Blanc Regional Park website. If you decide to visit without a reservation, there are several boat launches, including one at the Air-Eau-Bois outdoor sports base. Contact them for details and information about parking fees.
Sandy beach on the Baskatong
A beach on the Baskatong Reservoir
The Baskatong Reservoir is nothing short of impressive. When you consider its size, you realize it’s a real inland sea, with a surface area of 320 km2 and sandy shores which, if laid end to end, would stretch for 2,800 km (!). There are 160 islands on this majestic body of water, and about 100 of them can accommodate campers looking for solitude.
As on the sea, you need to take a few precautions before heading out. Some sites are difficult to access in high winds. But that’s the price you pay when your campsite is absolutely free. Indeed, the islands on the Baskatong are public: they’re open to everyone, so it’s first come, first served.
Good to know: There is no service on the islands, so you have to be self-sufficient. Which also means that you have to pack out your garbage and leave the site impeccable for future generations of campers.
How much: Free.
How: Several launching ramps are available, including Pointe-à-David, the Brunet Club and Rabaska. There may be a fee for parking. Find out before you head off on your adventure.