The Culture Trail is here!
You're coming to the Outaouais this summer because you saw all the region has to offer for 2017 and told yourself "Yo I gotta check out MosaïCanada, the Canadian History Hall and Cirque du Soleil's VOLTA"? You live here yet you told yourself pretty much the same thing? Awesome, we're as psyched as you are. Also, if you're going to take part in the festivities, we're pretty sure you'll want to enjoy all Gatineau has to offer because you know, majors events and attractions are great and all, but there's a vibrant urban life you need to discover, with cafés, bars, restaurants, cultural and heritage attractions galore! "Yeah but were do I find all of those", you might ask? Quite easy, really.
FOLLOW THE WHITE RABBIT (except in this case, the white rabbit is red line)!
Yup! That's the red line you might have recently seen on the sidewalk in downtown Gatineau. And it's got a name: The Culture Trail. The next paragraphs will be all about it. Ready? Go!
" Yeah, I see the Culture Trail. Now what? "
Follow it! It starts at the exit of MosaïCanada 150 in Jacques-Cartier Park and winds through downtown for 3 km, all the way to La Fonderie. On the way, you'll find all the best spots to discover downtown Gatineau's true colours and bask in its joie de vivre!
" And what will I see along the way? "
Lots of things! But let's do this methodically and start at Jacques-Cartier Park together, shall we?
Awesome. So let's leave the Park. At the corner of Laurier and des Allumettières, you'll see La Maison du tourisme. PRO TIP: Stop here and find out all the Outaouais has to offer! The charming information agents will give you tips and they'll find the activities that suit you best to make your stay or visit all the more enjoyable. They can also give you a map of the Culture Trail, because they're nice like that.
"Hurray, I've got my map! Next?"
Let's keep on going! Across Laurier Street is Canada's most popular cultural attraction: the Canadian Museum of History. This is where you'll see the brand new Canadian History Hall and many other exhibitions about the people who made Canada what it is. PRO TIP: It's free on Thursdays from 5 to 8 pm!
After that, turn on Victoria Street and go through the plaza behind Gatineau's City Hall, known as Maison du citoyen. If its Thursday, be sure to stop at Marché Vieux-Hull and grab something to eat, some crafts or even fresh veggies to cook a nice meal at home. Let's keep on walking.
By turning on Du Portage, you'll find yourself in the heart of downtown. You'll soon see Aubry Street and the many patios and great eateries of the Laval/Aubry/Du Portage sector. Whether you're down for an exotic cocktail or a locally-brewed cold one, tacos or refined wood-oven baked pizzas, or even try out a restaurant that has no menu, your taste buds will be in party mode, for sure! PRO TIP: The red line is interrupted in rue Aubry but you can still follow the red signs saying "SENTIER CULTUREL", or the red dots on the grounds.
"Wow that was terrific! Tell me more!"
Well, now we're headed to Montcalm Street and picture-perfect Brewery Creek. On the way, you'll notice Zibi right by the Ottawa River. The area's rich industrial heritage is being transformed into a real eco and trendy neighbourhood, right in the middle of the river. By the way, this is where Cirque du Soleil will plant the big top in August. A lot of history is in this sector! On Montcalm, you'll first see the old water pumping station turned into Québec's first municipal theatre, you can take a stroll on the boardwalk along the creek and watch the ducks swimming around. Haven't eaten earlier? Soif - bar à vin, La Squadra and Les Brasseurs du temps will cater to your needs. And check out the piece of the Eiffel Tower in the Montcalm Street bridge!
"Yo, the red line turns on Hanson St. and also keeps on going on Montcalm! What gives?"
Make a quick detour on Hanson Street to discover La Filature, a contemporary art centre. It's also here that you can access Agwàtà, from July 21 to 30.
Next, go back on Montcalm to reach As Far As Eyes Can See, a marvelous exhibition presented by the NAC for Canada Scene and curated by the gang at La Filature. How about a nice beer on the BDT's splendid patio? You deserve it!
PRO TIP: Had enough walking (I mean, you just did 3 km!) ? The STO offers shuttles around downtown (free on week-ends) to get back to your wheels.
"OK but how can I make sure I don't miss anything along the way?"
Easy! A dozen information panels are installed all along the Trail. You'll find fun facts and a description of what each area has to offer. We thought of everything!
Keep your eyes open! Many art installations are found all along the red line; on the ground, on buildings, even in the trees in some places! Spotted the coloured birds? How many red ones can you find, just for fun?
"Woah, I just discovered many awesome places! I'll be back for sure! Thanks, man!"
You're welcome, magnificent human being. You're welcome.