We look forward to leading you on tours over some of the best country roads in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. Situated at the confluence of the Ottawa River, the Rideau River, the Rideau Canal and the Gatineau River, we have a wide selection of interesting and picturesque roads that follow meandering waterways. If hilly roads with elevation changes are more your style, we are only a short drive away from the Gatineau Hills and the Laurentian Mountains in the Province of Quebec. Not only do we have interesting roads, we are
also situated in the centre of many sites of historic and cultural significance.
Over the four days of the Canada's Capital Miata Meet 2020, you will have the options of selecting full day guided tours, half day guided tours, or self-directed tours:
Full Day Guided Tours will leave in the morning and return late in the afternoon.
Half Day Guided Tours will leave in the morning and return in the early afternoon. This will allow ample time for relaxation or exploring all that our region has to offer.
Self-directed Tours will give you extra flexibility to explore our roads and landmarks at your own pace. We will provide a selection of detailed directions and maps to guide you along the way.
So, come join us and enjoy our hospitality. We will be sure to make you feel at home.
We have been hard at work selecting and designing some of the most interesting tours for our event.
The following is a preliminary list of some of the tours that we are working on.
Tour 1: Silo, Hops and Dairy Tour (Full-Day)
Travelling east of Ottawa, we drive on rural roads through farm country. Our route passes five beautiful giant murals painted on farm silos. These paintings were commissioned as part of Canada’s 150th Anniversary celebration. Continuing on our drive, we stop at Beau's All Natural Brewery in Vankleek Hill. Beau’s is an award-winning, family-run, "micro" brewery where they brew, sell and deliver their own products. We continue over rural roads to the St-Albert Cheese Co-operative; established in 1894 it serves local dairy farmers. Here we can enjoy specialty cheeses and indulge in yummy ice cream. The building is new following a devasting fire that destroyed the facility in 2013. Lunch will be available here. We will return again over country rural roads.
Tour 2: Saint-Sauveur, Quebec (Full-Day)
Saint-Sauveur is a picturesque village in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. In winter, it is the centre for several ski resorts. In summer, the mountain air and quaint village make this a popular holiday destination. Leaving Ottawa along the Sir George Étienne Cartier Parkway, the tour follows the southern banks of the Ottawa River to Hawkesbury where we cross the river into the Province of Quebec. From there we follow the north shore of the Ottawa River, through the town of Lachute towards Saint-Sauveur. On the way there we travel through mostly rolling hills. While there we have a choice of shopping at the Outlet Mall or visiting the boutiques and restaurants in this quaint village before returning to Ottawa over many twists and elevation changes. (A CAD $10 ferry crossing fee will be incurred.)
Tour 3: Upper Canada Village (Full-Day)
We take country roads south via the Long Sault Parkway, created by connecting 11 islands formed by the flooding of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s. Our destination is Upper Canada Village, where you can experience what life was like in rural Canada in the 1860s. The over forty historical buildings were rescued from local villages before the area was inundated by the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Visitors can tour a functioning woolen factory, a bakery, a water-powered sawmill, a steam-powered flour mill, a blacksmith shop and much more. Hosts, in period attire, will be on hand to demonstrate what life was like in the 19th century. Lunch will be on-site. (The entrance fee to the village is approximately CAD $22.00.)
Tour 4: Rideau Canal and Locks (Full-Day)
This tour takes us west of Ottawa where we drive through scenic and winding roads along the Rideau Canal System. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal was opened in 1832 as a precaution in case of war with the United States. It provided an alternate route between Ottawa, Canada's Capital, with the garrison city of Kingston, on Lake Ontario. The series of 45 locks at 23 stations are marvels of 19th century engineering. Now operated by Parks Canada, these locks are original and make use of the old hand-operated mechanisms. Aside from visiting some of the more picturesque locks, we will stop for lunch in the charming villages of Westport (The Cove Country Inn) or Newboro (Stirling Lodge).
Tour 5: Brockville—City of 1000 Islands (Full-Day)
Located in the heart of the 1000 Islands and St. Lawrence Seaway, Brockville is a beautiful historic waterfront town. Incorporated in 1832, Brockville is one of Canada’s oldest municipalities and one of its oldest railway centres. Canada’s first railway tunnel was built there between 1854 and 1860. Controversial for its time, the tunnel was a major feat of engineering and remains a remarkable example of Canada’s pre-confederation industrial heritage. In use for 110 years, the last train passed through the tunnel in 1969. The drive to and from Brockville follows scenic country roads. Lunch will be at “Bud’s On The Bay”. After lunch we will walk through Brockville’s heritage railway tunnel. (We recommend good walking shoes, a hat, and jacket or poncho.) (Donations are accepted for use of the tunnel.)
Tour 6: Whitewater Region Tour (Full-Day)
Whitewater Region is a township located within the scenic Ottawa Valley, north-east of Ottawa. It is named after the stretch of world-famous white water on the Ottawa River, popular for rafting and kayaking. The drive will take us through north-western Quebec crossing into Ontario via the Quyon Ferry. We will proceed to Portage-du-Fort—a hydro-electric dam. Lunch will be at “West Way Bar and Grill” or “Whitewater Brewing Co. and Lakeside Brew Pub”, both in Cobden—historic for the discovery of Samuel de Champlain’s astrolabe from 1613. (There is a cost of CAD $9.25 for the ferry crossing.)
Tour 7: Bonnechere Roller Coaster Tour (Full-Day)
This is the signature tour of our UMN Tour Director. This tour will leave you breathless and asking for more. Grand views of the Ottawa Valley and lots of twists, turns, and elevation changes are key-notes of the tour. In addition, we drive through the old Pinetree Radar Site, a cold-war facility operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1950 to 1974. Lunch is at the “Rocky Mountain House” in Renfrew, specializing in schnitzel.
Tour 8: Chateau Montebello (Half-Day)
From our staging area, we will travel east along the Ottawa River to one of Quebec's most prestigious resorts. Built in 1930 as a private wilderness retreat for business and political elites, the Chateau was constructed entirely of red cedar logs. Despite this rustic building material, the Chateau still displayed the grandeur and opulence of that by-gone era. Over the years, the Chateau has hosted royalty, Presidents, Prime Ministers and the "rich and famous". Following our visit, we return along the Ottawa River and cross back into Ontario near Gatineau. (Depending on the route, a CAD $10 ferry crossing fee may apply.)
Tour 9: Merrickville Tour (Half-Day)
Our destination is the “Jewel of the Rideau”—historic Merrickville. We depart from our staging area to Colonel By Drive, named after the military engineer in charge of constructing the Rideau Canal. We follow his canal until it merges with the Rideau River. From there we skirt the river west to the village of Merrickville. The village was already a well-established industrial centre when the canal was built in the early 1800's. Merrickville now prides itself in its artistic community, boasting over thirty local artists and artisans. Our drive back will follow the Rideau Heritage Route to Ottawa (formerly called Bytown in honour of the Colonel).
Tour 10: Mackenzie King Estates Tour (Half-Day)
Nestled in the Gatineau Hills north of Ottawa is the country estate of Canada's 10th Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874 - 1950). Although Mackenzie King was an accomplished politician who served as Canada's Prime Minister for 22 years, he is also known for his eccentricities. After he died in 1950, the public learned that he was a spiritualist and would hold séances in his home, seeking guidance from his dead mother. He also constructed elaborate faux ruins, using discarded material from demolished buildings of Ottawa and other famous buildings. Many of these "ruins" are still standing. We will take the picturesque Gatineau Parkway on our way to the estate and drive along the Gatineau River on our way back. (There is a CAD $12 entry fee to the Estate.)
1. Calabogie Motorsports Park Laps (Full-Day/weather permitting)
Two groups of 12 cars will travel to Calabogie Race Track by way of interesting back roads, to experience a few parade laps. This world-class facility is home to the longest track in Canada, consisting of 20 turns, measuring 40 feet wide, and featuring a 2,000 ft long straightaway. This is the only facility in Canada offering Spec Miata racing. Lunch will be on-site or at a local eatery in Calabogie. (Costs for this event are to be determined.)
2. Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill (Half-Day)
On summer mornings, the lawn in front of Parliament Hill’s Centre Block comes alive with the sights and sounds of the impressive Changing of the Guard ceremony. Departing from our staging area at 9:00 am we park our Miatas in the ByWard Market and take a short walk to Parliament Hill where the ceremony begins at 10:00 am. Once on the Hill, the Band of the Ceremonial Guard provides music while the Guards are inspected and the Old Guard becomes the New Guard. After the ceremony, we will return to the ByWard market where a number of lunch options are available.
3: Self Directed Tours to various points of interest (Self-Guided)
This collection of self-guided tours will feature many of the parkways and landmarks of the National Capital Region. Detailed maps and driving instructions will be provided. Some of the points of interest that can be visited include: