Ottawa’s trees are in transition, as they shed their lush green leaves for more warm and colourful foliage of red, orange and yellow.
And that change doesn’t only mean fall is on its way, but also an Ottawa-Gatineau tradition will be kicking off: NCC’s Fall Rhapsody.
Starting this weekend, people will be flocking to the Gatineau hills and other forested areas both on the Ontario and Quebec side to catch the start of autumn and a glimpse of the rich sights, smells and sounds the season brings.
“It’s important to know that there are nice colours to see not only Gatineau Park, but in the city, in the urban part and on the Ontario side — so we do have quite a program to offer,” Alain d’Entremont, senior manager of visitor services and recreation for Gatineau Park, told The Sam Laprade Show Friday. “We have the Greenbelt where there is 150 km of natural trails, also downtown where the urban parts are beautiful at Major Hill’s Park with the Parliament [Hill] in the background. Of course, we keep forward with the weekend bikeways that are still on for the next few weekends, including Monday of the Thanksgiving [long weekend].”
While Gatineau Park is the main attraction, there are other destinations being offered on both sides of the river, including less frequented options for those who would rather have a more quiet experience than that of Gatineau Park, d’Entremont points out.
Other attractions include the Montebello area, Lac de Fées, Dunlop Picnic Area, Luskville Falls and more on the Quebec side, with Rockliffe Park, Rideau waterways, Shirley’s Bay, Stony Swamp, Mer Bleue and more on the Ontario side.
While the shuttle won’t be ready this weekend, those wanting to let the NCC take the wheel will have to wait for next weekend to take it.
Pickup locations will be at the Supreme Court and Camp Fortune. By taking the shuttle, d’Entremont says visitors will avoid any traffic that they'd encounter if they were to take their own vehicle.
The free shuttle will stop at areas along the parkways like Pink Lake, the Mackenzie King Estate, Lauriault, King Mountain, Champlain Lookout and other places.
The shuttle will run every weekend until October 24. Masks are also mandatory on the shuttle.
Visitors are encouraged to bring plenty of water and snacks, dress according to the weather and check the trail map.
For more information on attractions and activities, visit the NCC’s Fall Rhapsody section of its website.