Whether you’re fortunate enough to have time off this holiday season or are trying to squeeze as many activities into your weekends as possible, there are tons of activities competing for your time this winter.
Tourists and locals alike will want to take some time to appreciate all that Gatineau Park has to offer. Whether or not there’s snow on the ground, there’s something to do.
According to the National Capital Commission website, there are 10 kilometres of trails compacted once a week for winter hiking, including the Sugarbush Trail, Lauriault Trail, and two other trails near downtown Gatineau.
Looking for something a bit different from hiking, but with a small learning curve? Gatineau Park also offers 45.5 kilometres of trails especially for snowshoers, with two easy routes accessible from the visitor centre, where snowshoes for adults and children, as well as baby and luggage gliders, can conveniently be rented.
For longer and more challenging snowshoe routes, visit Meech Lake and Philippe Lake.
Cross-country skiing, of course, is huge in this area, and for good reason – with 200 kilometres of trails, all maintained with the latest technology, marked for difficulty and allowing great views of wildlife and even bodies of water – Gatineau Park’s network of ski trails are considered one of the greatest in North America.
If you’re looking for something even closer to home, Ottawa has dozens of toboggan hills. The more popular (translation: large) ones are located at Mooney’s Bay, Vincent Massey Park, Walter Baker Park, the Arboretum, Bruce Pit, Conroy Pit and the Green’s Creek Conservation Area in Ottawa and Lac des Fees in Gatineau.
While the Rideau Canal Skateway doesn’t typically open until January, there’s no need for skaters to wait on the sidelines. The city has more than two dozen indoor and outdoor arenas.
For locations and hours, visit the City of Ottawa website at ottawa.ca and follow the links.
Ottawa also has scores of world-class museums and galleries. Check websites for the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian War Museum, the National Gallery of Canada and the Canada Science and Technology Museum.