Helen Hatzis
Helen Hatzis
October 25, 2016 ·  6 min read

Outaouais Guide: 20,000 Lakes And 27 Local Cheeses

The Outaouais region is known for its unique appeal: the merging of urban lifestyle with the great outdoors, and its many natural and cultural assets.

Located in the south-western part of Quebec, just across the bridge from Ottawa, Canada’s Capital, our bilingual destination is easily accessible by train, plane or car and only a short two-hour drive from Montreal!

Fairmont le Chateau Montebello

Fairmont le Chateau Montebello

Whether you are seeking a unique worldly experience or you want to enjoy nature, the Outaouais region is your destination of choice. Visit the many museums, art galleries, theaters, and casino for an exciting visit.

The region offers a wide variety of restaurants where local products hold the key to refined gastronomy, pleasing even the fussiest of palates.



Every season offers plenty of things to do, see, and experience, along with our warm and friendly hospitality. Come and experience the Outaouais region with us.


  • 27 local cheeses
  • 62 savory stops on the Outaouais Gourmet Way
  • A five-diamond restaurant
  • 15 different kinds of hot chocolate from local chocolatiers
  • 51 beers brewed here

Our region has something to satisfy every foodie. From a five-diamonds restaurant (Le Baccarra), to the World Top Female Sommelier’s wine bar (Veronique Rivest’s Soif Wine Bar) and some artisanal breweries, you will have plenty of choices to satisfy your taste buds.

Les Fouge

Les Fougè

Looking for some producers to taste our region? The Parcours Outaouais Gourmet is an agritourism route that proposes gourmet stops; that is, all kinds of destinations where local businesses will bring you all the wealth of their know-how through sampling of products that you can enjoy while visiting the very place where they are made.



Come meet our region’s artisans and discover the many flavors of the Outaouais.


  • The Outaouais region = a 33,000-km² playground!
  • 24 species at Parc Oméga
  • 3 ways to leap into space

Calling all nature lovers: we have a playground for you! With an area of 33,000 square kilometers, and encompassing 20,000 lakes and a dozen rivers, our region is a great place to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities.


Arbraska – Laflèche Park

Most popular are biking and cross-country skiing, especially in Gatineau Park.

Families will love it here. From visiting wild animals to zip lining through the treetops, exploring the depths of an underground cavern to touring a national museum, our many activities will keep the whole gang busy and entertained.


Esprit Rafting

All year round, hundreds of artists, craftsmen and organizations invite you to participate in several important events. You can celebrate winter with the Ice Hogs, admire giant sand sculptures, be mesmerized by thousands of fireworks or watch hundreds of hot air balloons take flight.

The Outaouais region is a theater of extreme emotions that both residents and visitors can enjoy!


  • The biggest spa in North America
  • 33,000 sq km to explore
  • 20,000 lakes
  • 25 beaches to kick back and relax
  • 165 kilometers of trails in Gatineau Park
  • 6 spas for total pampering and 30 kinds of massage

How long has it been since you were pampered, coddled, and really looked after? In the Outaouais, spas and wellness centres are multiplying as fast as the number of people doing noon-hour yoga on Parliament Hill.


Nordic Spa-Nature

Take a beauty and wellness break. Book a massage, a facial, a body treatment your body will thank you for. At the Wakefield Mill Spa, the sound of the rushing waters of MacLaren Falls will soothe your cares away. Nordik Spa-Nature, North America’s largest spa, is nestled in the woods at the entrance to Gatineau Park.



Try the Källa saltwater floating pool, one of only two in the world (the other one is in Switzerland). Restore your inner peace at the Birla Centre for Hast Jyotish, with a range of wellness packages for mind and body. People come to the Centre from all over the world to relax and recharge their batteries. Breathe in breathe out !


  • A wide range of accommodations, from B&B’s to five star hotels
  • 10,000 red cedar logs to build the Château Montebello
  • 5,800 camping sites available

In our region we have many different places to sleep. Pick from these unique places to stay.

Fairmont le Chateau Montebello

Fairmont le Chateau Montebello

  • A suspended-tent after a full day of rafting
  • The biggest log construction in the world
  • An antique mill
  • An airstream
  • A house made of straw
  • Ma cabane au Canada
  • A 175-year old hotel
  • A cavern
  • An island
  • A yurt or a tipi
  • A We-tent near the wolves and bears
  • A room where you will have the best view of Parliament Hill


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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. There are four fabulous art galleries in the City of Gatineau that art lovers can visit for free. These art galleries include: Galerie MontcalmCentre d’exposition L’ImagierCentre d’exposition Art-Image and Espace Pierre-Debain.
  4. 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.
  5. History buffs can enjoy a free visit to the Symmes Inn 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.
  6. Ottawa is home to many important federal buildings, many of which can be visited for free. Visitors can take a free guided tour of Parliament Hill, and the Supreme Court of Canada. At Rideau Hall, visitors can tour the residence of the Governor General of Canada, as well as take part in a variety of seasonal activities.
  7. At the Brasseurs du Temps a free of charge museum, learn about the history of beer and its importance for the region. Hull’s brewing tradition is closely linked to the region’s social and economic history, and you learned why it has been called Little Chicago.Even though the Brewery Creek, which is located in the hearth of the Vieux-Hull sector, is well-known… Very few people are familiar with the origin of its name.
  8. 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.
  9. Located a short drive from Gatineau, on the Gatineau River, the Rapides-Farmer Generating Station is an important part of Outaouais history. Enjoy a fascinating tour inside a generating unit learning all about the history of the  Station since its opening in 1927.
  10. As part of its summer programming, the City of Gatineau offers a collection of free outdoors shows.