Ville de Gatineau, across from Ottawa with which it forms Canada's National Capital Region, is located on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Gatineau is the head office for a number of Federal Government departments including Canadian International Development Agency, Environment Canada, Public Works and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
While French is the official language, English is spoken widely.
Gatineau was formed when the cities of Hull, Aylmer, Gatineau and 2 other communities merged. It is part of the Outaouais Region of Quebec.
Dog sledding, snowmobiling, ATV excursions, ice skating, hockey and downhill skiing are available in the winter.
Summer activities include rafting, golf, cycling and caving. There is an aerial park with ziplining and a Via Ferrata in La Fleche.
Gatineau Park, a 600 acre eco-system, is the National Capital Region's Conservation Park, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Groups can enjoy camping, rock climbing, horse riding, boating and swimming at one of 5 public beaches. During the winter, cross country skiing and snow shoeing are available.
Gatineau has many events, festivals, facilities and venues that are of interest to event planners. Major attractions include the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Casino du Lac-Leamy and the Beer Museum.
The best times to visit Gatineau are:
- during Sugaring off season in the spring
- in May for National Patriots Day (when Victoria Day is celebrated in other parts of Canada)
- on June 24th for Le Fete nationale du Quebec en Outaouais (on Saint Jean Baptiste Day)
- on Canada Day (July 1st) for a day of family activities at Jacques Cartier Park, an ideal vantage point from which to view the fireworks.
- on Labour Day weekend, the Hot Air Balloon Festival takes place.
During the first two weeks of February, Jacques Cartier Park is transformed into Snowflake Kingdom for Bal de Neige (Winterlude), which takes place throughout Canada's National Capital Region. There are snow and ice sculptures. Activities include sledding, obstacle courses and snow sliding.
For information about other Quebec destinations also consult, Quebec City: Canada's Most Charming Historical Destination, Incentive Travel: Spotlight on the Eastern Townships, Quebec, Mont Tremblant: An Event Planner's Paradise North of Montreal and Corporate Event Venues: Riverside Hotels Along Quebec's St. Lawrence River.
Photo Credits: ViaMoi on Flickr, Executive Oasis International