Gatineau sits directly opposite downtown Ottawa, and many sightseeing tours departing from Ottawa include visits to Gatineau. Boat tours ply the river between the two cities, while bike tours following dedicated trails along the riverbanks.
One of the biggest pulls for travelers is Gatineau’s Canadian Museum of History, which documents the history and heritage of Canada, covering everything from indigenous cultures to the arrival of European colonizers and beyond. If you’re keen to experience Canada’s great outdoors, take a day trip to Gatineau Park. Here, you can hike, cycle, snowshoe, cross-country ski, and camp, and enjoy scenic views of waterfalls, beaches, woodland, and lakes.
Things to know before you go
- French is the first language here, but many residents are bilingual and you won’t have trouble communicating in English.
- There are no restrictions placed on traveling between provinces, so you can cross between Ontario and Quebec with ease.
- Visitors can use the same ticket or pass to transfer between Ottawa and Gatineau’s public transit networks.
How to get there
Gatineau can be accessed on foot from Ottawa via the Alexandra Bridge. Lots of local bus services connect central Ottawa to Gatineau.
When to get there
Winters in Gatineau are cold, snowy, and long. The best time to visit is between May and October when milder weather makes exploring easier.
Festivals in Gatineau
Gatineau has a busy festival calendar, with events taking place year round. Discover new craft brews at Gatineau Beerfest (Festibière de Gatineau), which takes place twice annually with a winter and summer edition. On Labour Day weekend, the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival has visitors turning their attention skyward, as does the Casino du Lac-Leamy Sound of Light fireworks competition, which features colorful pyrotechnic displays.
- Canadian Museum of History
- Ottawa Parliament Hill
- National Gallery of Canada (Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada)
- Royal Canadian Mint
- Ottawa Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica
- Rideau Canal
- Ottawa Locks
- Confederation Square
- Canadian War Museum
- ByWard Market
- Preston Street (Little Italy)
- Rideau Hall
- Canadian Museum of Nature
- Canada Aviation and Space Museum
- Gatineau Park