Things to do in the Outaouais in May
May is a colourful month that’s full of firsts! The first bike ride. The first patios. The first fishing trip. The first leaves on the trees. The first spring flowers. The first warm days. Check out our suggestions for things to do to make the most of the month!
Enjoy the great weather
May is here, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to get out your road bike. With a vast network of internationally recognized cycling trails, the region is a favourite with cycling enthusiasts. Gatineau Park, the Véloroute des Draveurs, the Cycloparc PPJ and the City of Gatineau’s urban network offer a number of challenges, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned cyclist! Beginning May 13, explore the nation’s capital in a safe and environmentally friendly way thanks to NCC Weekend Bikedays. On foot, on your bike, on in-line skates, in a wheelchair, on a scooter or even pushing a stroller, enjoy an outing on a 20-km stretch of car-free roads along the Ottawa River.
A stay at an Outaouais outfitter is the stuff of unforgettable stories, wilderness adventures, heavenly shore lunches and good times with family and friends. Get set for fishing season by booking your stay at an outfitter. Tonnes of fish await you, to everyone’s delight.
The Outaouais is home to many beautiful waterfalls to discover in good company. And in spring, water levels are at their peak, so the falls are at their most spectacular. Lace up your hiking shoes and set off to discover the magnificent and little-known landscapes of the Outaouais.
Take a bilingual guided tour with Lady Dive Tours and see more than 75 attractions in Canada’s Capital, on land … and on water! Hop aboard the amphibus and, from the road and from the Ottawa River, explore Parliament Hill, national museums, embassies, the ByWard Market and more. If you’d rather stay on dry land, they also offer guided tours by hop-on hop-off double-decker bus. Lady Dive is also the official shuttle service for the Canadian Tulip Festival. It’s a great way to avoid traffic jams in the downtown area.
Especially for Mother’s Day
Don’t forget: May 14 is Mother’s Day! Looking for the best way to treat your mom? Browse the Outaouais’ unique boutiques to find the perfect gift.
Habitude Design has everything you need to surprise and delight Mom with a unique gift that’s locally made with pride. Find 100% Canadian products for the home, kitchen accessories, clothing and much more. Give the gift of beautiful Quebec products, choose a beautiful bouquet of dried flowers, or opt for a gift card to let her choose her favourite products.
Give the gift of a sweatshirt created in the image of the Outaouais, with fun illustrations representing each of the region’s territories. The designs were created by Outaouais-born illustrator Rémi Allen. Designed and made in Quebec, the unisex sweatshirts are available in sizes ranging from very small to very very large (XS to XXXL). Discover the different designs at one of our sales points or order them directly online.
On May 14, book a table at the Hilton Lac-Leamy’s Arôme restaurant for a delectable gourmet Mother’s Day buffet with your family. Sit back, relax and enjoy the music in the restaurant’s welcoming atmosphere. Mothers will be offered flowers on their special day.
Events by the tonne
From May 1 to 7, celebrate the return of spring with special programming at the Galeries de Hull shopping centre. Check out the food kiosks and inflatable games, and attend presentations (in French) on topics ranging from gardening to fashion to bike repair. Sunflower seeds will be distributed, and there will be face painting for children. Discover the full program!
From May 3 to 6, visit five local businesses participating in the Portes ouvertes sur le tourisme (Tourism Open House) event and learn more about careers in the tourism industry. Find out what goes on behind the scenes of the tourism world through lectures, meetings, site visits (most of them free) and more. Register now!
Every spring, Canada’s Capital Region comes alive with colour. From May 12 to 22, stroll through Commissioners Park in Ottawa and explore the area one tulip at a time during the Canadian Tulip Festival, one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world.
Next, head to the National Gallery of Canada to view one of the largest collections of Indigenous and Canadian art in the world. After your visit, enjoy the sunshine and the lounge atmosphere on the Tavern at the Gallery patio as you cool off with a refreshing drink or share a charcuterie board.
This month features several activities organized to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of painter Jean Paul Riopelle. From May 18 to August 20, visit Galerie Montcalm to view the exhibition Empreintes ; les estampes de Jean Paul Riopelle dans la Collection permanente de la Ville de Gatineau, which comprises some 50 of the artist’s original works and showcases his love of printmaking. On May 20, visit the Casino du Lac-Leamy for a unique fireworks show presented by Loto-Québec as part of the Pleins Feux sur Riopelle series of commemorative activities. Reserve your package now—tickets are going fast!
May 27 is Heroes’ Day in Chénéville! At this family-friendly event, various safety, health and prevention workers will be on hand to give demonstrations, provide entertainment, and raise awareness. Enjoy a performance by a local band and take a selfie with Captain America or Wonder Woman!
Discover Arts-aux-Parcs, an annual visual arts and crafts exhibition to be held on May 27 and 28 at Du Sommet School in Val-des-Monts. Admire original works by nearly 50 exhibitors. You’ll be impressed by the vibrancy, diversity and creativity of our local and regional artists and craftspeople.
On May 27 and 28, participate in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, which includes a marathon, a half marathon, and 10K, 5K and 2K races, as well as a children’s marathon and a marathon walk. Along the way, you’ll get some great views of the City of Gatineau, the Rideau Canal, and many of the region’s must-see tourist attractions.
Every Saturday and Sunday in May, visit Apothecary – La Fée des Bois medicinal plant farm and discover an impressive selection of plants to add to your garden. While you’re there, sign up for a workshop on planning a medicinal garden, a garden of plants that support the nervous and digestive systems, or a garden of plants with benefits for the skin.
For even more suggestions, view the full events calendar on our Events page.
More to discover in the Outaouais
Discover products handcrafted in the heart of the beautiful Montebello region by Lavandine et Cie. Choose among over 40 products inspired by and created in harmony with nature, and support a local business that encourages environmentally responsible practices.
Take a relaxing trip on the Ottawa River aboard Palapa Tours’ floating Hawaiian-style tiki bar! From an excursion with friends to a romantic cruise for two, the Ottawa River has never seemed so exotic.
Book a package with Experience Outaouais and find out what the Outaouais has to offer in May.