From beautiful parks to mini-golf and a day at the pool in Quebec’s Outaouais region | Mike Cohen ‹ Cohen Chatter

Mike Cohen

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When we visit the nation’s capital, Ottawa, we always make sure to cross the river and spend some time in the Outaouais region, which includes the city of Gatineau.

On our recent trip, we went for a nice hike, did some mini-golf, lined up happily for the best ice cream in the area, and spent the day at the Hilton Lac-Leamy.

In the Outaouais, nature is a sensational asset. Two dozen protected sites present unique flora and fauna, exceptional ecosystems and breathtaking landscapes. From wildlife reserves to outdoor centers to regional and national parks, there is plenty to see and do! Go hiking in the forest, picnic by a crystal clear lake or spend the night in a mountain refuge.

I recommend mini golf at Dunn-D’s (11 Notch Road) in Chelsea. We really enjoyed the 18 hole course. While the place was busy the day we visited, the wait from the people in front of us wasn’t too bad.

After the game, head to the best ice cream in the area at La Cigale (14 Scott Road). Here they serve delicious homemade ice cream, sorbets and more. There is a large sign with the flavors of the day. You queue to pay and then head to a display case where your ice cream will be ready fairly quickly.

The highlight of this trip was our day at the Hilton Lac-Leamy in Gatineau. Surrounded by waterways, woods and recreational trails, it offers the atmosphere of an urban resort in an enchanting environment.

Upon arriving in the hotel lobby, I was literally dazzled by the four blown glass chandeliers created by artist Dale Chihuly, as well as the six islands of red flowers spread out on the wall at the back of the reception. In addition, a serpentine composed of small windows surrounds the column of the grand staircase leading to the upper floor of the hotel.

Connected to the Casino du Lac-Leamy, the hotel features a fitness center, an outdoor heated pool, an indoor pool, a spa and wellness center and a variety of catering options. Free Wi-Fi is available.

Unquestionably, the outdoor pool is a big draw here. We were seated by the pool on comfortable deckchairs, with a large parasol to protect us from the sun. The pool itself was perfectly heated as I floated around relaxing, resting on the noodles they provide for each guest. There are also two large hot tubs, something I’ve been craving since before the pandemic. The hot water was just the tonic I needed for some aching bones.

In the future we hope to return and enjoy some of the fine dining options.

I was able to see the beautiful stained glass windows in the conference center as I walked through the facility. It was designed by Jeff Scheckman of Glass Studio in Montreal. Ten artists participated in this project.

And just some information about the first class casino on site. I know so many Montrealers who regularly visit this establishment to enjoy the hotel and enjoy the convenience of just walking from their room to the casino. You can experience the wide variety of games such as slots for all tastes, table games like roulette, baccarat, blackjack and poker, and low stakes multi-game stations. There’s also a 1,000-seat theater, with top-notch entertainment, and a 2,500-seat ballroom and conference room.