Escape to the Outaouais Regionby Mariève Inoue
published July 04, 2013
The perfect long weekend destination
If you’ve only ever spent a day in the nation’s capital region, you’ve really been missing out. Summer is the perfect time to discover the beauty and diversity of Gatineau-Ottawa, and we were recently invited to check out a few of the activities and hotspots the Outaouais region has to offer. Our visit went completely beyond our initial expectations, and we highly recommend getting out there yourself. Here, we round up the highlights of our getaway—the perfect ingredients for a long weekend escape!
A new casino experience
Hitting the casino with friends often turns into a solo affair once everyone heads off to play their game of choice. But that’s not how things go down at the Casino du Lac-Leamy. The beautiful establishment recently opened a new section called the Zone, with forty multi-game terminals where you decide which game to play; that means that you can play roulette and sit next to your BFF while she tries her hand at blackjack, baccarat or the slots. An innovative concept that can be found nowhere else in North America, the high-energy, trendy atmosphere is the perfect setting for a night out of fun with the girls.
The Casino du Lac-Leamy is also home to some great options for fine dining. Among them, we were lucky enough to savour delicious French cuisine-inspired eats at Le Baccara, a recipient of the CAA-AAA Five Diamond distinction every year since 2001. Whether you decide to indulge in the eight-course Gastronomic Menu or pop in for one of the sumptuous desserts before hitting the slots, the view is gorgeous and the food, simply outstanding.
If you’re not from the area, the obvious place to spend the night is the chic Hilton Lac-Leamy Hotel, which is adjacent to the casino and just a few kilometres away from Ottawa’s Parliament Hill. With its fitness center, heated indoor and outdoor pools, a gorgeous Grand Hall and deluxe rooms, it’s a pity we only got to stay for one, luxe-filled night. We definitely plan to go back!
Travel on the water
Leaving from a dock right next to the Casino, Au feel de l’eau’s cruises and Water taxi are a lovely discovery. Just $20 for a one-way ticket from the Casino to the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the ride on this eco-friendly, electrical boat is a pure delight. On the Outaouais river, with Ontario on one side and Quebec on the other, it’s a fun way to travel to and from the Casino that gives you a different perspective on the region’s famous sights.
Summer of Vodou
Having opened in November 2012 and ongoing until February 2014, the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s exposition entitled Vodou is a fascinating look into the important part that vodou has played in Haiti’s history, and even now in its people’s daily lives. The expo is an in-depth look at vodou’s origins and practices that is put together in such a way that each visitor is left to his or her own interpretation. Including over 300 vodou objects, the interactive project wiped us clean of the concepts the word “voodoo” previously conjured up in our minds (hello, dolls with needles!), and awoke a new curiosity in us on the topic.
A visit to the spa is very likely one of our favourite ways to spend a day off—or any day, for that matter. And when we arrived at Le Nordik Spa-Nature, and realized all it had to offer, we couldn’t believe we’d never set foot there before. Mark our words: it won’t be our last visit. The largest spa in North America, it boasts seven baths, seven more saunas, a panoramic pool, and a nifty lounge area where conversation is allowed (even encouraged) over a glass of wine and some tasty tapas. Newly offered: the Källa treatment, where you relax in a large basin filled with salt water that allows you to float effortlessly. Whether you decide to indulge in a massage or not, there’s enough to do to stay all day. We think we will, next time!