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Exploring the Outaouais Region of Canada: Day 2

Back to the Canada adventures recaps! If you missed the first recap, check that out first:

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I know, Canada is sooo ugly, right?! ;)

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As I mentioned in my first post, I was in Canada on a press trip on behalf of the Outaouais and Quebec tourism bureaus. A big thank you to them for having me and covering the trip expenses!

On day 2, our adventures started with paddle boating at Eco-Odyssée!

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Eco-Odyssée is a water maze that is made up of over 60 intersections spread out over more than 6 km. Each paddle boating team of 2 is given an adventure challenge to complete as they make their way through the maze. Fun!

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When we arrived, we split up into pairs and received our adventure guide, a compass, a walkie-talkie, and a laminated handout with our challenge.

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Then we got ready to paddle!

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Julie and I teamed up and had a blast paddling around and completing the challenge, chatting away, and enjoying the scenery.

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The way the challenges work is that each team gets a different route to take, and during the paddling, you look out for clues (replica animals) and other installations that direct you through the maze. It was a fun way to learn more about the marsh environment and ecosystem. This would be great as a family activity with kids!

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I also got to work on my compass skills. ;)

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I’m happy to report that we made it back without getting lost!

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After our paddle boating adventure, our group headed to lunch. On the way, we stopped to enjoy some beautiful scenery. Quebec was SO beautiful at this time of year – loved those changing leaves.

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For lunch, we went to a lovely vegetarian restaurant called Café Soup’Herbe – what a cute name!

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I loved this place – so homey!

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For lunch, I enjoyed the veggie burger & a big side salad. Both were delicious!

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After fueling up, we headed to nearby Gatineau Park for a hike.

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Isn’t this place stunning?

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The park is 361 square kilometers – HUGE! We only saw a fraction of it – good reason to come back. :)

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Here are some fun facts about Gatineau Park. The park boasts:

  • 165 km of hiking trails (90 km of which are also used by mountain bikers)
  • 254 campsites
  • 230 bird, 50 mammal, and 1,000 different plant species
  • 50 types of trees
  • Canoe & kayak rentals
  • Winter sports galore

In the late fall/early winter, the roads in the park are closed to traffic and before the snow hits, bikers get them all to themselves. Once the snow hits, lots of cross country skiing happens. This area is definitely an outdoor lover’s paradise!

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Here’s our whole group – from left to right is Kate, me, Julie, Marouan from Tourism Quebec, Candice, Jenn, and Anne from Tourism Outaouais).

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After the park, we took another quick detour to enjoy a scenic overlook. Julie and I decided this should probably be our Christmas card. ;) Lol. Nerds.

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And then it was off to our evening destination: Nordik Spa-Nature, which is North America’s largest spa. We were lucky enough to stay in the Lodge, which is the only accommodation available on site at the day spa right now (they’re building a hotel which will be open soon).

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The Lodge was really cozy – it had a pretty big dining room, nice kitchen, and 5 bedrooms – 3 rooms downstairs, and a loft upstairs with two little alcoves with beds in them.

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Here’s my little alcove. It was like a slumber party! :)

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After getting settled in, the ladies and I changed into our swimsuits and threw on robes…

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…and spent the rest of the evening enjoying the spa!

There were no electronics allowed in the spa areas, which was lovely and meant that we were all able to really disconnect and hang out. It also means I didn’t get any photos, so the next couple photos in this post are courtesy of Nordik!

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The property was absolutely gorgeous – what you see in the photo above is only about half of it. Everywhere you looked there were hot pools, cool pools, and little sauna huts offering all sorts of different experiences – some steam, some dry, some with infusions of lovely smelling essential oils. It was wonderful. We were instructed to do hot, cold, relax: about 10 to 15 minutes of something hot (a hot tub or sauna), then a quick refresher in a cold pool for a minute or two, and then some relaxation either in lawn chairs in front of the fireplaces or in one of the normal temperature warm pools.

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In addition to enjoying the saunas and pools, we also got the opportunity to try out the Kalla treatment, in which you relax in an Epsom salt pool. It’s similar to being in the Dead Sea because you float perfectly and feel completely weightless; everyone is instructed to lie down on their backs, close their eyes, and just float. It was so relaxing.

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One of the other fun things about the spa is that they have a fine dining room where everyone dines in their robes! We all had dinner there (the food was delicious) and it was such a treat to eat all cozy in our robes. I really want to bring Matt back to this place! The rates are really reasonable for a day visit, too.

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I’ll be back tomorrow to share day 3 of our Canadian adventures: stay tuned!

Have you ever experienced anything like the Kalla treatment?

Are you a sauna fan? I first got into saunas when I was teaching English in Prague – I splurged on a fancy gym and in the locker room they had a wonderful dry heat sauna. I used to go in it almost every day after working out… it was such a treat on those cold winter European days (and after wrangling classes of kids all day)!

Comments

  1. 1

    All of these posts have seriously bumped Quebec up my travel destination list!

  2. 2

    Beautiful views and beautiful house! Looks like a fantastic time.

  3. 3
    Silvia @ skinny jeans food says:

    Once upon a time people had to pay a lot of money for photo models, ad writers, advertisement fees, etc. Now, they get it all in a single package ;-)

  4. 5

    this sounds fantastic. in your next post can you tell how you got there–like how long was the drive from the nearest airport?

    • 6

      Yes – definitely! I flew into Ottawa and everything we did was within an hour or so drive – Outaouais is a pretty small region of Quebec so we basically hit up all of it!

  5. 7

    Those views are amazing!

  6. 8

    The pictures are breathtaking. I have nothing else to say :)

  7. 9

    Canada looks beautiful! Adding it to my list of places to go! The spa also looks really cool, I’m going to check it out.

  8. 10

    I live in the Outaouais area! So interesting to see your perspective on our beautiful area. The Nordik spa is an amazing place. I’ve only been there once though : ( I think I will need to go back and try the Kalla treatment!

    • 11

      What a gorgeous place to live! So jealous :)

      • 12

        We are spoiled here :). Champlain Lookout is even more beautiful this time of year with the autumn colours. The Cafe is one of my favourite places to eat – my husband has to hold me back from going so many times a week.

  9. 13

    Wow that pool seems amazing! :)

  10. 14

    Beautiful! I’m so jealous of the spa day!

  11. 15
    Roadrunner says:

    Awesome place, great activities, wonderful post! Thanks -

  12. 16

    You truly have a gift for taking gorgeous pics of scenery!! The place looks beautiful and the veggie burger and salad combo…divine! :)

  13. 17

    I love Canada, both east and west! I love Vancouver, Whistler, Toronto, Quebec, Montreal…etc. If only I can live there! :)

    Great outdoor activities by the way! :)

  14. 19

    Such breathtaking scenery! I sent this link to my husband with a note saying “how about THIS for our next vacation?” Epsom salt floating pool? Yes, please!

  15. 20

    All of these pictures are absolutely beautiful! :-)

  16. 21

    Wow, so pretty!! The nicest spa I’ve ever been to is the Miraval in Tuscon, it’s amazing! Super jealous of your trip!

  17. 22

    Great photos! Now I desperately want to go to that spa, ha! I am definitely a sauna fan. I did an exchange program to Finland many years ago, and my host family had a sauna at their lake cabin, so we would go back and forth between the sauna and the lake – loved it!

  18. 24

    This looks So. Awesome. OMG super jealous!

  19. 25

    The view is so gorgeous. I visited Canada, but it was not fall. I definitely want to return there.

  20. 26

    all of these photos are beautiful! sounds like an amazing trip!

  21. 27

    Living it up, huh? Your trip looks so relaxing!

  22. 28

    Looks a little cold, but there are some nice views. You took some good shots too.

  23. 29

    I can’t get over how absolutely gorgeous it is in Canada!!!

  24. 30
    Stacey M. says:

    I absolutely love the khaki colored pants you wore on your trip … would you mind if I asked where you got them? They look perfect for outdoor activities.

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