Top 10 free summer activities in Gatineau-Ottawa

Published on June 14 2016

(This post was written in 2016 and updated in 2017. Some of the information contained in it may be out of date. We invite you to contact our  Tourist Office advisor who will be able to answer any questions you may have and give you  the most up-to-date information: 1-800-265-7822.)

Looking for some free activities to do in the Gatineau-Ottawa area this summer that are fun for the whole family, yet won’t put a strain on mom and dad’s wallet? There are so many free things to see and do in this beautiful region of ours, that it is hard to narrow down all the options to a Top 10 list. No worries. We managed to do it!

Here are 10 free activities that you can enjoy while in the Gatineau-Ottawa region this summer!




Jacques-Cartier Park will host the biggest horticultural event in Canada, with MOSAÏCANADA 150. The theme of the Gatineau exhibit will reflect 150 years of history, values, culture and arts in Canada, represented by some 33 different arrangements. This free exhibit will be in the form of a route extending over almost one kilometre.


National museums

In Gatineau-Ottawa, we are blessed to have so many fantastic museums. Did you know? These museums open their doors for free during the evening! You can visit the following museums free of charge: Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum on Thursdays from 4PM to 8PM, Canadian Museum of Nature and the National Gallery of Canada from 5PM to 8PM, and the Aviation and Space Museum daily from 4PM to 5PM.


Lac Pink - Crédit @Maximuscast via instagram

Crdit  : @maximuscast via Instagram

Pink Lake Trail

The Pink Lake Trail, in beautiful Gatineau Park, takes hikers around this turquoise-green lake (the lake was named after the Pink family which settled the land in the 1800’s). This moderate 2.5 km trail, surrounded by dense forest, takes visitors approximately 1 hour to complete. Visitors to the Pink Lake Trail have free access to the lookout, and free parking on site.


à perte de vue - crédit - à perte de vue

Credit : Jonathan Lorange

Art galleries 

There are four fabulous art galleries in the City of Gatineau that art lovers can visit for free. These art galleries include: As Far as Eyes Can see (Exhibition), Galerie Montcalm, Centre d’exposition L’Imagier, Centre d’exposition Art-Image and Espace Pierre-Debain. 



Parliament Hill

A visit to the Gatineau-Ottawa area would not be complete without a visit to Parliament Hill. The vast front lawn of Canada’s most famous building is home to a number of free activities throughout the summer months. Free activities include: the Changing of the Guard (every morning at 10AM June 26-August 20), Yoga on The Hill (Wednesdays from 12PM-1PM), and a bilingual Northern Lights – Sound and Light Show (nightly from July 9-September 10) featuring a thrilling thematic journey through Canada’s history.


Musée de l'Auberge Symmes (35)

Symmes Inn Museum

History buffs can enjoy a free visit to this Aylmer museum that highlights the history of the region, and the founder of Aylmer, Charles Symmes. Situated on the banks of the Ottawa River, Symmes Inn Museum was designated a historic monument in 1975.



Café Aux 4 jeudis

Looking for something fun to kick off your week? Every Monday evening at dusk, enjoy a night out on the terrace with friends while you watch a popular movie on the big screen at Café Aux 4 Jeudis.


3 défis

Bicycle trails

With over 600 km of bike paths criss-crossing the Capital Pathway, biking is one of the best ways to discover the area for free. On Sundays, you can cycle on scenic area roads as part of the Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays.


La centrale des Rapides-Farmer - LD (20)

Rapides-Farmer Generating Station

Located a short drive from Gatineau, on the Gatineau River, this generating station is an important part of Outaouais history. Enjoy a fascinating tour inside a generating unit learning all about the history of the Rapides-Farmer Generating Station since its opening in 1927.


Sentier culturel - Ville de Gatineau (1)

Performances by the City of Gatineau

As part of its summer programming, the City of Gatineau offers a collection of free outdoors shows celebrating “A Hot Summer in Gatineau”!


There are so many things to do in the Outaouais Region this summer! For more great suggestions be sure to visit and follow on TwitterFacebook and Instagram under the hashtag #outaouaisfun 

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