10 Best Things to Do in Gatineau (Canada)

Gatineau is a small city with a lot of personality that is right across the river from Canada’s capital city. Gatineau is a smaller city, but it has all the fun things to do, sights to see, and entertainment that a big city does.

Gatineau (Canada)
Gatineau (Canada)

Tourists often go to Ottawa instead of the city, but there is so much to see and do in the city. It’s a good idea to cross the river and stay here for a few days. Gatineau is full of parks, has a lively nightlife, a lot of attractions, and some fun events that happen every year. If you are in the area, you shouldn’t miss the chance to explore the city and see what it has to offer.

Let’s look at Gatineau’s best things to do:

1. Check out Canada’s most popular museum.

The Canadian Museum of History is the best thing to see in the city, so don’t miss it. The museum looks at the history of the country and the many different cultures that live there.

It is both a museum and a major research center. The people who work there know a lot about Canada’s archaeology, history, folk culture, and other things. It is also one of the oldest places of culture in all of North America.

The Grand Hall, the Fort People’s Hall, and the Canada Hall are the three permanent galleries at the museum. There is also a big IMAX theater there.

2. Bring your children to the Children’s Museum

The Canadian Children’s Museum is a part of the Canadian Museum of History that is just for kids. It is a great interactive museum that gets more than 500,000 people a year.

The museum was made just for kids younger than 14 years old. Its main show is called “The Great Adventure,” and it takes people on an interactive trip through many countries around the world.

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Kids can go to Nigeria, India, Japan, Mexico, and Indonesia without ever getting on an airplane. There are cafes, cargo ships, desert treks, and market bazaars, so the kids can learn about cultures from around the world in a hands-on way.

3. Go to the park for a day

Gatineau Park is a great place to spend a day, and it’s also one of the biggest outdoor playgrounds in Canada. There are so many things to do here all year long that it’s a paradise for anyone who loves being outside.

In the winter, you can go to the park and ski or snowshoe. In the summer, you can spend the day at a beach, hiking, mountain biking, or canoeing in Gatineau Park.

When fall comes, the park is full of beautiful colors that will make any photographer drool. You can also climb rocks, watch birds, or sleep in a tent outside under the stars.

4. Play poker

Or you can play blackjack, baccarat, craps, or roulette. Or, you can put your money in one of the Casino du Lac-1,800 Leamy’s slot machines.

The government runs the Casino du Lac-Leamy, which has more than 65 tables where you can try your luck 24 hours a day. There are also restaurants, bars, and an amphitheater on site.

The name of the casino comes from the fact that it was built on an old quarry on the shore of Lac Leamy. Every year, more than three million people visit the casino.

5. Go skiing

The beautiful Laurentian Mountains are right next to the Gatineau Hills. Not only tourists, but also people who live in Gatineau and other nearby cities like to ski on the hills.

In Gatineau Hills, there are more than 190 km of cross-country ski trails. If you like skiing downhill, go to the Camp Fortune alpine ski center or the Vorlage ski hill.

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When you go to the city in the fall, you should also go to Gatineau Hills to see how the leaves change color. It’s really something to see.

6. Enjoy a festival

Gatineau has many festivals and events all year long, but the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival is one of the most well-known. This festival takes place over the weekend of Labor Day and is a lot of fun.

The Rendez-vous des saveurs de l’Outaouais, which comes right after this festival, is a great place for foodies who want to try delicious food and wine. In the summer, you should go to Parc du Lac-Beauchamp for the annual Wonders of Sand sandcastle competition.

Saint Jean-Baptiste Day, also known as Fête nationale du Québec, is the biggest party of the year. Hotels, museums, and arenas all host shows and exhibitions as part of the June festival.

7. Wine and dine

Gatineau is a French-speaking city with a lot of French charm, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it has some great bars and restaurants. You can eat delicious French food that is cooked just right and goes well with a great bottle of wine.

You can sip a cocktail, a bottle of craft beer, or a glass of wine while listening to live jazz, funk, or rock and roll. Gatineau has great nightlife, and the Vieux-Hull area is the place to be.

If you don’t like French food, there are lots of other kinds of food to try in the city. A lot of people eat real Italian food and food from other parts of the world.

8. Go back to the past

Visit L’auberge Symmes, or Symmes Inn, to learn about life in Gatineau in the 1900s. This inn was built by Charles Symmes in 1831, and in 2003, it became a museum.

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The National Heritage Site used to be a hotel where people from Montreal stayed before boarding a ship on the Ottawa River. It is right next to the river and Lake Deschênes.

The Ottawa River and the rivers that flow into it are the main focus of the museum. There are guided tours in both French and English that last about an hour.

9. Go to the beach.

From June to September, people can swim and do other things on the beach at Leamy Lake. The lake is, of course, open all year, but if you go in the summer, there are lifeguards on duty.

Many people come to Leamy Lake beach to swim, but it’s also a great place to lay out and soak up the sun. On-site, there are restrooms, change rooms, and places to eat.

If this beach gets too crowded, there are other ones in Gatineau. You can buy a day pass that lets you go to Leamy Lake Beach and other beaches nearby. This is a great thing.

10. Look at old airplanes

Vintage Wings of Canada is the place to go if you’ve ever wanted to see old airplanes. At the Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport, the museum is in a hangar that is 2,100 square meters in size.

There are both military and civilian planes on display, like the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang and the Fairchild PT-19. Even planes are for sale at Vintage Wings of Canada.

Almost all of the planes at Vintage Wings of Canada work or are being fixed up, and all of them are flown in parades and air shows today. You can also rent one of these old cars to fly in.

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