The International Writers Magazine: Lac Leamy Quebec
If one is visiting Ottawa, Canada’s capital and has a day to spare, across the Ottawa River is the Outaouais Region of Quebec with its numerous allurements. A day spent amid its green rolling park hills dotted with farming villages and other structures, with much to do for visitors, is a part of their journey that they will always remember.
A traveller can begin the day by renting an auto then touring Gatineau Park. A giant slab of virgin land measuring 363 sq km (140 sq mi), the Park is an open air window to Canada’s National Capital Region. A magnificently green and superb nature reserve covering 35,600 ha (88,000 ac) of forest, the Park encompasses 40 crystal-clear lakes and its forests contain 1,000 species of plants and 40 types of trees - 90% of which are maple. Across its wooded hills there are 250 km (155 mi) of hiking and biking trails and 12 picnic sites. The Park also offers cross-country and downhill skiing facilities, canoeing, dog sledding, snowshoeing trails, beaches and campgrounds.
Today, a protected nature reserve, it has become vital to the oxygenation of Canada's capital. Year-round, some 1.5 million annual visitors take part in the Park’s outdoor activities or simply enjoy the serenity of its natural environment.
One can end the tour of the park by visiting the Mackenzie King Estate, then spend sometime at his Kingswood Residence. Considered one of Canada’s greatest Prime Ministers, his house exhibits many of his personal belongings.
Leaving the residence one can drive for lunch to the Wakefield Mill Inn, located in the town of Wakefield, edging the La Planche River within the natural beauty of the Gatineau Park.
||A converted stone mill, it was built in 1838 to produce flour for the farmers in the Gatineau and La P river valleys. In 2000 the husband and wife team of Robert Milling and Lynn Berthiaume fulfilled their dream of a lifetime and bought the mill and turned it into an inn which they are continually upgrading. From its flour producing era, the Inn retains some large dimension beams - now in the recreation area. Grain silos have been converted into rooms and the engine room is now the dining room. As well, one of the turbine rooms has been converted into a spa and the other into a wine cellar. Due to this connection with the past the Inn oozes with an historic atmosphere and is the only accommodation in the area surrounded by the majesty of Gatineau Park.
A charming country abode, its 27 rooms, many with open-hearth fireplaces and views of the cascading waterfall, provide relaxed charm. For honeymooners and those seeking to relax and enjoy modern living as well as nature at its best, the Inn incorporates a full spa, and an outdoor river pool, plus all of what Gatineau Park has to offer. A serene retreat dominated by the gurgling waters of the La PLche River, it offers in addition to its other attributes, a dining solarium serving gourmet regional cuisine, a charming lounge and spectacular scenic beauty. Above all are the friendliness and hospitality of the Inn’s staff, giving guests a feeling of happiness and comfort.
|After dining in this romantic inn, one can drive to the Nordiik Nature Spa, featuring relaxation techniques from the Nordic countries, for a few hours of relaxation. Here in a tree-covered aura one can first warm up one’s body by taking a Finnish sauna then, quickly jumping into a an icy pool or submerging oneself under the Nordic waterfall.
The day that I made the tour with some of my colleagues, when as we ended the visit to the spa refreshed, I asked one of my colleagues: “Did you enjoy the icy waterfall?” He grinned, “I ran through it like one being chased by a polar bear.”
I sure don’t want to be chased by a polar bear, I thought to myself as we left for Casino du Lac-Leamy – only 4 km (2.5 mi) from Canada’s Parliament Buildings.
||Nestled in a fantastic setting on the shores of Lac-Leamy, it is surrounded by mountains, trees and the adjoining ultra-modern five-star Hilton Lac-Leamy Hotel. A world-class urban resort, it is much more than a dazzling gaming centre, it is a must for anyone travelling to Canada’s National Capital Region.
With its almost tropical forest setting, fine dining places like the highly coveted Five-Diamond rating Le Baccara Restaurant, a world-class theatre, a polite and friendly staff and glittering gaming machines enshrouded in a lively and spectacular aura, the Casino has earned its rightful place among the world’s most outstanding entertainment destinations, drawing some three million visitors from the four corners of the globe. The Casino, which can accommodate 6,500 visitors at one time, has much to offer. Inside its wall are performance and reception halls and a Convention Centre with ultra-modern tele-electronic facilities, 2,590 gaming spaces, 1,870 slot machines and 64 gaming tables offering baccara, blackjack and roulette as well as other casino games, bingo fun, electronic horse racing and numerous other activities all which give travellers a wide selection of things to see and do.
|From among the Casino’s other major attributes are artists’ exhibits and the 1,002 seat Le Théâtre du Casino which opened its doors in 2001. An elegant ultra-modern theatre, it features exciting programs of romance, Latin rhythms and jazz melodies and is, today, one of the most innovative venues in Canada. Internationally renowned, it offers state-of-the-art performances and can accommodate full-scale revues as well as spectacular solo renditions.
Stars such as Bill Cosby, Gino Vannelli and Chubby Checkers, Hellmut Lotti and numerous others have performed on its stage. An all-round Tourist Shangri-la where one can combine business with pleasure, Casino du Lac-Leamy is a siren, not only for gamblers, but for all travellers. Situated in the heart of the country’s National Capital Region, it adds a measure of excitement to tourist activities, making Canada’s capital and environs a favourite wayfarer’s destination.
That evening our group enjoyed a gourmet meal at Le Baccara Restaurant; then as some of us left to meet with ‘Lady Luck’, the others had a comfortable sleep in the luxury of the Hilton. For me it was a joyful and fulfilling day.
IF YOU GO
For Further Information Casino du Lac-Leamy, Contact:
National Capital Commission: Tel: (613) 239-5000 or 1-800-465-1867; or Ottawa Tourism: 130 Albert Street, Suite 1800, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G4. Tel: (613) 237-5150 or (800) 363-4465. You can also fax the office at (613) 237-7339. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.tourottawa.org
Gatineau Park Visitor Centre - Tel: (619) 827-2020 or 1-800-465-1867 (toll-free) or Fax: (819) 827-6048 or the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre, 33 Scott Road, Chelsea, Quebec. E-mail: email@example.com
Wakefield Mill Inn & Spa - often offers specials combined with train ride. 60 Mill Road, Wakefield, Quebec, Canada, J0X 3G0. Tel: (819)459-1838 or toll free: 1-888 567-1838. Fax: (819)459-1697. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.wakefieldmill.com
Le Nordik - Nature Spa, 16, chemin Nordik 16, Old Chelsea, Québec J9B 2P7. Tél: 819 827-1111 or Toll Free: 1 866 575-3700. Fax: 819 827-5059. E-Mail: email@example.com
For Further Information Casino du Lac-Leamy, Contact:
Casino du Lac-Leamy, 1, boulevard du Casino. Gatineau, Quebec, Canada J8Y 6W3.
Tel: (819) 772-2100 or Toll free: (800) 665-2274. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www. Casino Du Lac Leamy
Outaouais Tourism, 1-800-265-7822. Website: www.outaouais-tourism.ca
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© Habeeb Salloum May 2011