Struck by wanderlust after reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels, Joe Kowalski decided to kindle his own passion for adventure by exploring the uncharted rapids of the Ottawa River with a group of fellow college students. There they discovered a multi-channel paradise—the six-mile-wide river churned through dozens of islands, jutting rocks, secluded beaches, and gorgeous waterfalls, as well as calmer paddling runs. Their stories and videos attracted guests, spurring the loosely organized group to band together in 1975 to become Wilderness Tours. To date, they have guided more than one million people safely down the river.
Today, the guides spend most of their time on white water rafting day trips, pausing in their runs to lead body-surfing and cliff-jumping adventures at some of the river's calmer spots. A riverside lunch is also provided to refuel paddlers for the second half of their run.The main resort also makes use of the stunning topography and forests that surround the river during rock-climbing, bungee jumping, and mountain biking excursions. The Wilderness Tours Adventure Resort offers luxury accommodations alongside a restaurant and bar.
Operating on the trails will host the 2015 Dryland Dog-Racing World Championships, Timberland Tours employs experienced guides and 40 canines to propel adventure-seekers on year-round excursions of Pontiac County. Guides operate from headquarters in a rustic wooden cabin, which hosts customers inside or outside on the open porch. An adjacent barbecue and bonfire pits often blaze with friendly flames, and trophy and photo displays inside the cabin chronicle sledding victories and awards for particularly memorable ghost stories. In winter months, two-person sleds carry riders down wooded trails, and in warm weather, lightweight wagons send visitors soaring along on dog-carting trips. Timberland Tours fuels its sleds using highly trained teams of Alaskan pointer, husky, and greyhound mixes.
Tubes & Jujubes Family Fun Centre enthralls children age 12 and younger with more than 15,000 square feet of engaging play areas, activities, and delectable treats that help enhance motor skills and cognitive development. Wearing socks is mandatory in the expansive play facility, where tykes can traverse plastic play structures, scale climbing walls, frolic in ball arenas, navigate through labyrinths, and stroll through toddler parks hosting preschool adaptations of Macbeth. Qualified instructors lead complimentary one-hour parent-and-child workshops, such as arts-and-crafts sessions, that grant guardians and tots time to creatively collaborate and interact. An indoor soccer field encourages friendly competition, and an arcade coaxes whippersnappers into engaging virtual worlds, such as Grocery Store Self-Checkout Line: The Game. Though not included in today’s Groupon, famished youngsters and their parents can enjoy health-conscious wraps or paninis in the Tubes & Jujubes bistro or browse through the candy store's extensive selection of gum, licorice, jelly beans, and lollipops.
After a three-year renovation by renowned course architects Graham Cooke and Stan Brigham, Gatineau Club de Golf unveiled a sleek new course layout in 2010. The site boasts championship-calibre credentials, including a total distance of more than 7,000 yards from the back tees and large bent-grass greens that punish poorly struck approaches with treacherous putts. Generous fairways reward precise bifurcation with excellent lies, but players guilty of errant drives will be pleasantly surprised to find plenty of room to make a bold go at the green. Water makes its omnipresence known as early as the 395-yard second hole, where players must tee off over a pond, negotiate with a creek that crosses the fairway 100 yards in front of the green, and avoid the water that buttresses the green to the left and rear. The 18th hole makes a 90-degree dogleg right around a massive reservoir and a pond stretching alongside the entire right length of the fairway, demanding the same precision as the moat around a driveway.
For more than 30 years, the guides at Irish Creek Outfitters have explored Ottawa's local waterways and woods in search of trophy fish and game birds. During guided fishing trips along the Ottawa River trip leaders equip anglers with necessary equipment and hard-earned techniques for catching wall-worthy catches. In addition to using digital maps and Aqua-Vu underwater video cameras, fishing experts select lures that resemble seasonal food sources such as bugs, minnows, or limited-edition rib sandwiches. During the winter, they duck the chill wind inside portable shelters with propane heaters while wrestling and winning finned fighters such as walleye, northern pike, and lake trout.
Nestled against Champlain Lookout, the highest point along the Ottawa River, Storyland's 90 verdant acres augment scenic vistas with a water park, mini golf, petting zoo, and other family-friendly attractions. Guests can sojourn to the top of Champlain Lookout, a prime spot to high-five passing hot air balloon captains and gaze 40 kilometres in all directions. Fairytale Trail invites patrons to meander down forested trails where storybook characters enact fairytale tableaus. Pay tribute to farmyard animals at Storyland's petting zoo, or get legs in shape for bubble-wrap stomping in paddleboats that cruise Windmill Pond. Merrymakers can cool down overheated fun receptors at the Splish-Splash Spray Park boasting inflatable waterslides and fountains of water, and refuel at the Storyland Café.