An excellent cottaging destination, this region has held on to its ancestral roots without losing any of its charm through the years. This is Algonquin country, as attested by two native reserves on the territory, Kitigan Zibi and Lac-Rapide, which bear witness to the rich past of these peoples and their intimate link to nature.
Naturally separated from the province of Ontario by the Ottawa River to the south, the region is southeast of Abitibi-Témiscamingue and west of the Laurentians. It is also divided into RCMs, notably the Papineau RCM, the Collines-de-l’Outaouais RCM, the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau RCM and the Pontiac RCM.
The Outaouais is characterized by the stark contrast between its urban centres and the immense tracts of forest land, hills and valleys, as well as agricultural areas. The economy of the Outaouais is greatly influenced by this contrast and the duality of the distinct realities that result. Country and city populations complement each other, striking a healthy economic balance.
Gatineau, the region’s urban engine, boasts multiple commercial centres and does brisk trade with its twin city across the Ottawa River, Canada’s national capital. A number of ministerial headquarters nearby contribute to a stable economy, not to mention a flourishing bilingual population. Building on the fact that it has a heavily concentrated population, the region is a natural home for a number of service industries that have set up their head offices there. The luxury real estate market is quite developed here. High-end apartments and condos constantly seem to be in short supply. The enviable quality of life in greater Gatineau comes with promising career advancement and opportunities for success for people moving in.
The second, more rural area of the Outaouais is characterized by lower population density and intensive farming or forestry development. One should not underestimate the value of the more rural sub-region, however. There are plenty of opportunities for business deals and luxury home sales. Although the surrounding forests and lowlands play host to logging operations and agricultural production, the area’s recreational activities pave the way for much economic development as well. For most city-dwellers, weekend escapes to the country are an indispensable part of their lifestyle.
The region’s tourist infrastructure faithfully addresses the many attractions and activities available. There are easily accessible places for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling or just enjoying some relaxation at a spa. Let’s not forget the Lac-Leamy Casino, the Bal de Neige, the Gatineau hot air ballooning festival, or skating on the world’s longest rink: the Rideau Canal. The Outaouais has it all! For seekers of learning, there are eight national museums devoted to art, nature, history, technology, science and aviation to quench their thirst for knowledge. Animal lovers of all ages will also want to check out the exceptional Omega Park in Montebello, where visitors can see freely roaming animals from the comfort of their vehicles.
All in all, the Outaouais simply pulsates with adventures just waiting to be experienced.