Sustainable Tourism: Concrete Actions in the Outaouais
Read about Outaouais businesses that take action every day to support sustainable development and environmental protection. For an action to be considered a sustainable initiative, it must involve at least one of the following three areas: social equity, environmental preservation and economic efficiency. Find out more about some local companies that care about nature!
Getting back to nature
Book a stay in one of HOM Mini Cottages’ unusual accommodations. The modern mini chalets are built on piles, so you’ll spend the night among the treetops. In terms of nature conservation, this type of construction reduces the structure’s ecological footprint and minimizes its impact on the local ecosystem. For the same reason, the establishment asks visitors to stay on the trails during their stay. Charging stations for electric vehicles are available on site.
For a low-environmental-impact experience in the heart of the forest, treat yourself to a high-end, eco-responsible stay at a Terre & Neige cottage. You can have responsibly catered meal boxes delivered right to your chalet door! The nature and provenance of each product is provided. The owners make a point of featuring local and seasonal products, often sourced only a few kilometres from the property.
Discover Chalets Prunella and fall in love with these minimalist, A-frame cabins built with wood from a local sawmill. Take a stroll along the 2-mile long trails and explore the 30-hectare (75-acre) property, then relax in the comfort of your energy-efficient cottage and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding forest through the large windows.
Housed in a former flour mill dating back to 1838, the Wakefield Mill Hotel & Spa was the first establishment in Quebec to achieve LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)—an international symbol of sustainability excellence and green building leadership—following the construction of its 13-room Eco River Lodge. The lodge is also Green Key certified, a certification whose green rating program is recognized by the World Council for Sustainable Tourism. While you’re there, charge your electric vehicle at the on-site charging station.
Embrace adventure and get out of your comfort zone with CarpeDiem Aventures. Rent a Canadian-made watercraft or bicycle and explore the surrounding area. Check out the unusual accommodations and sleep under the stars in a hanging tent. The company has earned Aventure Écotourisme Québec’s Quality-Safety and Ecotourism accreditations for sound environmental practices. Take part in an environmentally respectful adventure stay in nature.
Fairmont Le Château Montebello and the other establishments in the Fairmont family are recognized as having one of the best ecological programs in the North American hotel industry, and follow the environmental guidelines established by the Accor international hospitality group. While you’re in the area, book a stay at this iconic resort hotel and support some of the chain’s major environmental initiatives: used cooking oils and greases are recycled into biodiesel, bee hotels are set up around the world to help establish sustainable beekeeping, and organic gardening principles are applied in maintaining landscaping and golf courses.
From farm to fork
Enjoy a meal at Les Fougères restaurant, where the menu changes according to the availability of local produce. The restaurant has its own garden and sources its ingredients from nearby organic farms.
Quebec’s microbreweries are known for their collaboration and their efforts in terms of circular economy, and those of the Outaouais are no exception! Gallicus Craft Brewery collects stale bread from partner bakeries and uses it as an ingredient in its craft beers. The 5e Baron and À la dérive microbreweries source their hops from a local farm. The Brasseurs de Montebello use cocoa from the nearby ChocoMotive chocolate shop in their brewing recipes, and brew a Pale Ale with honey from their neighbour, Kenauk Nature.
Head for Chelsea and a fine meal at L’Orée du Bois. The menu combines classic French cuisine and hearty Quebec fare, and features local products and produce grown in the restaurant’s own garden.
Activities in harmony with nature
For an inspiring example of the circular economy, take a walk around Old Chelsea Square. Stock up on local products at La Petite Grocerie, a specialty boutique that doubles as the reception area for the Village Lofts apartment hotel, which stocks Biscotti & cie coffee in its accommodations. The Chelsea Pub uses Distillerie du Square‘s Gin du Jardin in its cocktails, and craft beers from Chelsea & Co are served at the Nomades du Parc equipment rental centre.
In addition to being one of the largest and oldest private nature reserves in North America, Kenauk Nature is home to the Kenauk Institute, a research institute whose ultimate goal is to become a laboratory for monitoring climate change and human ecological impacts. Did you know that thanks to the Kenauk Institute and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the reserve’s territory is in the process of being declared a protected area? Plan your next fishing trip there and support this company that raises fish on its own fish farm and has a capacity to produce over 100,000 fish per year. Practise sustainable fishing while protecting wild fish populations.
Visit Eco-Odyssée Nature Park and explore the beaver’s habitat in a unique water maze aboard a watercraft of your choice. Learn more about this iconic animal and how humans and beavers can coexist in the environment. Observe the richness of the marsh and enjoy its beautiful sunset views.
Play a hand of blackjack at the Casino du Lac-Leamy and learn about the casino’s many sustainable development initiatives, including eco-responsible waste management. The establishment also makes considerable efforts in terms of energy efficiency, and has turnkey packages for event organizers interested in offering eco-responsible activities. While you’re there, recharge your electric vehicle at one of the on-site charging stations.
Learn the story of Charles Symmes, the founder of Aylmer, at the Symmes Inn Museum and discover a unique historical site. The museum strives to make history and culture accessible. The inn is certified by Kéroul, a an organization that rates the accessibility of establishments and their services.
The Symmes Inn Museum, in collaboration with the Aylmer Heritage Association, has created a mobile app that includes more than 40 attractions in Old Aylmer, allowing people to take self-guided tours of the area at their convenience. Download the app, stroll the streets of Old Aylmer and discover the Old Aylmer Historical Tour!
Go on a fatbike or electric bike adventure with Géo-Explora Scootrek. Accompanied by a guide, discover Montebello’s lesser-known natural and heritage sites—and its little secrets! Guided electric scooter tours are also available. The business has earned Aventure Écotourisme Québec’s Quality-Safety accreditation for sound environmental practices.
Climb aboard Ottawa Boat Cruise’s 100% electric boat for a trip on the Rideau Canal in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The boat is EKEAU certified, a certification that promotes sustainable and accessible tourism experiences. The company has also received a government grant to purchase a second electric boat to green the waters of Gatineau–Ottawa. The construction of this second boat is being done in collaboration with local suppliers.
Travel between Quebec and Ontario by water aboard the Aqua-Taxi, an eco-friendly shuttle service that is 100% electrically powered. The boat is fully accessible and has a special area reserved for cyclists who want to take their bikes along. Admire the beautiful views of Canada’s Capital Region along the way!
Rent adapted equipment at the Relais plein air. Whether you’re up for a family bike ride, a hike with friends or a winter activity, the mission of the Relais plein air is to make the outdoors accessible to everyone in every season.
Sample several kinds of beer in one place and find your new favourite brew at the summer and winter editions of the Gatineau Brewfest. Taste craft beers in a reusable glass; between tastings, refill your reusable bottle at a drinking water station. There are also many waste separation bins on the festival site, and the cutlery and containers used by the food trucks are compostable.
Head over to La Baie Park to watch the hot air balloons inflate and light up before taking to the skies at the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. This event is part of Kéroul’s Tourism Establishment Accessibility Program, and the festival is fully accessible. The site also has many drinking water stations (which encourage the use of reusable bottles) and waste separation bins. A shuttle service operated by the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) is available for the duration of the festival.
Ride your bike to the site of Les Grands Feux du Casino Lac-Leamy and park it in the space provided, or take a free STO shuttle bus to the site. The event is gradually incorporating green Eco-Pyro fireworks to reduce its ecological footprint, and is hiring local artists to feature in its programming.
The Upper Gatineau Whitewater Festival aims to raise participants’ awareness of nature conservation, particularly protecting rivers and their heritage. Take part in family activities, go rafting in the rapids, and find unusual bargains at the garage sale.
Outaouais businesses go above and beyond when it comes to the environment. To learn about all of each company’s initiatives, read its sustainable development strategy plan or contact the business directly.
Taste local flavours and encourage the region’s producers by discovering the Outaouais’ agrotourism offer.