Nestled in the western part of Qu¨¦bec, the Outaouais invites you to experience the unique lifestyle of its region! This vast territory, covering 33,000 km2, knows how to harmonize its dynamic city life with the dazzling beauty of nature?s splendour.
The Outaouais offers you a twofold discovery adventure geared for the whole family! On the one hand, large-scale attractions and exciting events near the National Capital. On the other hand, numerous outdoor activities easily accessible year-round.
The Outaouais is much more than a river... An Algonquin tribe, the Outaouais, lived in the area before the first white settlers appeared. In Algonquian, Outaouais means ?to trade?. The Europeans named the river ?Rivi¨¨re des Outaouais? (the Ottawa River) while, to the Amerindians, it was simply known as The Great River.
The written history of the region begins with Champlain?s 1613 journey through Algonquin territory on his search for the Northwest Passage. It is only in 1800, however, with the arrival of the American Loyalist Philô”n Wright, the founder of Hull, that the development of the Outaouais region gets under way. Wright had recognized the untapped potential of the vast forest of red and white pines covering the territory. The forestry industry became the key to the economic future of the region as lumber camps and wood-processing factories proliferated and attracted an ever-increasing number of workers and families to the area : lumbermen, raftsmen, farmers, tradesmen, merchants... Today, ensconced between the administrative sector and a rapidly expanding service industry, the pulp and paper mills of the Outaouais continue to play an important role in the regional economy.
The urban zone of the Outaouais is but a step away from Ottawa and its many tourist attractions such as Parliament Hill and its numerous national museums. On your return to the Qu¨¦bec shore, be sure to visit the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the many art galleries and boutiques and live a thrilling and exciting experience at the Hull Casino.
After a day well spent, discover the exciting night life in the Outaouais. Lots of choice awaits you: conventional concert halls, summer theatres, outdoor concerts under the stars as part of special events. For a more casual evening, dance to the rythm of contemporary or old-time music, or unwind at a caf¨¦ bistro to the strains of music from Canada and further afield. Why not enjoy a fine meal at one of the many first-rate restaurants? Here, with different festivals and shows featured every month, the festive mood is a daily event. You will find it hard to choose!
A stay in the Outaouais guarantees you discoveries and adventure. Near urban centres, paddle your rabaska canoe on the Great River or ride to seventh heaven in a hot air balloon or aboard a seaplane. Whether you prefer hiking, bicycle touring, skiing or snowmobiling, you will be charmed by the beauty of the scenery and the wide selection of outdoor activities available year-round. Rafting, skydiving, spelunking, bungee jumping... we have exciting or serene adventures for all tastes and all ages. The choice is yours!
An activity of choice for the whole family, bike riding has also won the hearts of those wishing to combine business with pleasure. The urban region is renowned for its network of well-maintained bicycle paths. Left your bike at home? Equipment rentals are available. For the thrill-seekers with a thirst for adventure, mountain-biking is also part of the scene. If you want to go further afield, give a try. Treat yourself to a guided tour or a longer expedition. Summer in the Outaouais is also a ride in Gatineau Park, canoe-camping, a game of golf, a day spent horse-riding, watching the sun go down...
In winter, life becomes a fun experience. Image the thrill of plunging your skis into the pine-scented underbush along a river half-covered in ice, or skimming over a deserted lake shimmering with thousands of snow-lights in the bright winter sunshine. Take a deep breath, and you?ll feel more relaxed, closer to who you really are. Snow falls on the ski slopes and bike paths become cross-country ski trails. Skating, snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice fishing, all are possible. Snowmobiling, with 3,300 km of marked trails, will convince nature lovers that vast untamed spaces are now readily accessible. A unique playground that will let you rediscover winter!
While autumn lures hikers into the brilliantly coloured woodlands of the Outaouais, spring heralds the start of the fishing season while sap houses prepare for maple syrup enthusiasts. You will marvel at the thousands of tulips flowering here and there, testimony to Canada?s close friendship with Holland.