The Outaouais (prounounced oo-tuh-WAY) is a region of the province of Quebec north of Canada's capital, Ottawa.
- 1 Chelsea — a largely residential, rural community, home to Gatineau Park
- 2 Gatineau (Aylmer, Buckingham, Hull, Masson-Anger & Gatineau) — a municipality of 200,000 people with origins in the lumber industry that serves as a bedroom community for Ottawa
- 3 Maniwaki — a small community adjacent to the Kitigan Zibi First Nation Reserve
- 4 Montebello — best known for the Château Montebello, a resort which is the largest log structure ever built, and for Montebello Rockfest, Canada's largest annual rock festival
- 5 Wakefield
- 1 Gatineau Park — the outdoor playground for Canada's national capital
- 2 Pontiac — a group of rural communities along the shore of the Ottawa River, Wikivoyage covers this as a separate guide from the rest of the Outaouais.
Outaouais in French and Ottawa in English are both named after the same indigenous nation, known these days as the Odawa or Odaawaa. The Odawa are part of the Anishinaabeg branch of the Algonquian language family, related to Ojibwe and Potawatomi. This group migrated after contact with Europeans to what are now Western Ontario, Michigan and Wisconsin, but their name remains behind.
You will find in the Outaouais region a really bilingual population. You can easily get understood in French or English in most places, being so close to Ontario.
Access by city bus from Ottawa:
- STO (Société de transport de l'Outaouais).
- A handful of OC Transpo (Ottawa city bus) routes terminate at government buildings in Hull. Most are rush hour only.
Access by intercity bus:
- 1 Terminus Voyageur de Hull. Limited service is provided from Hull to Montréal; additional intercity services (including hourly runs to Montréal) are available from Ottawa's station.
- 2 l'Aéroport Exécutif de Gatineau-Ottawa (YND IATA Gatineau Executive Airport). Limited scheduled Pascan service (daily to Quebec City), otherwise primarily serves general aviation.
- Air connections are also available in Ottawa (YOW IATA) locally and Montréal (200 km distant) (YUL IATA) with direct connections to intercity passenger rail at Montréal-Dorval airport.
By car: Driving in Gatineau and Ottawa is fairly simple. Finding a parking spot is not a big problem maybe except downtown Hull and even so... it is nothing compared to Montreal.
By bus: STO - Société de Transport de l'Outaouais is the main city bus in Gatineau. All bus routes go through Ottawa. Greyhound Canada can get you to more remote areas like Maniwaki, Papineauville, etc.
By boat: You can sail on the Ottawa and the Gatineau rivers and the Rideau canal.
By bike: There are many bike paths in the region, especially in Gatineau.
- The fall colours when the leaves turn to bright yellow, red and orange and the hills seem to be on fire. The colours peak late October. Although they are spectacular throughout the park, one of the best views is from the base of the Eardley Escarpment at the Lusk Falls parking lot.
- Champlain Lookout. This spot offers breathtaking views onto the Ottawa River valley from the Eardley Escarpment. The lookout is accessible by car and is a popular spot for watching sunsets.
- Kingsmere. The country estate of William Lyon Mackenzie King, the tenth Prime Minister of Canada. The estate allows the public to take a leisurely walk through gardens and "ruins" collected by King in a woodland setting. The cottages, including Kingswood and the primary residence, Moorside, have been restored and feature interactive exhibits about Mackenzie King's era.
- Grands feux du casino - Fireworks at the Lac Leaky Casino.
- Olympiques de Gatineau - The local hockey team, on the Ligue de Hockey Junior-Majeur du Québec.
- Maison de la culture, Gatineau - Musicians, signers and humourists.
- Gatineau Park offers skiing (cross-country and downhill), hiking, canoeing, camping, rock-climbing, mountain biking, roller-blading, wildlife watching and leisurely strolls.
- Ski at Mont Ste. Marie, Camp Fortune, Edelwisse, Mont Cascades, or Ski Vorlage
- Bungee jump at the Great Canadian Bungee - highest bungee jump in the Americas
- Mont Cascades water park
- Camping, and beach tourism at the regions numerous lakes.
- White water river trips. The Ottawa River and smaller nearby rivers Noire, Coulonge, and Dumoine.