News Release

Published on September 25, 2020

Canada’s Capital Region — The crisp, cool air, combined with an explosion of colours tells us that fall has arrived, and it’s time for Fall Rhapsody. Spectacular landscapes can be seen and admired, attracting hundreds of thousands of people in Canada’s Capital Region for just a few weekends, from September 26 to October 25, 2020 (including Thanksgiving Monday).

To make it even easier for people to stay in their local neighborhoods during the fall display, with room for physical distancing, the NCC is pleased to announce the extension of its popular pilot projects, until Thanksgiving Monday (October 12, 2020).

The following parkways will continue to be open for active users only, on weekends from 8 am to 4 pm until Thanksgiving Monday (October 12, 2020):

  • Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway (between Carling Avenue and Booth Street)
  • Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway (between the Aviation Parkway and St. Joseph Boulevard)
  • Queen Elizabeth Driveway (between Laurier Avenue and Fifth Avenue)

In the month of October, during the work on Chemin du Lac-Meech, Gatineau Park parkways (with the exception of the “North Loop” from Monday to Thursday, between 7 am and 7 pm) will remain open for active use only, every day until noon throughout the duration of Fall Rhapsody.

Since May 2020, over 50 percent of the NCC’s parkway network has been open for active users to provide more space for the public to enjoy walking, running, biking and other outdoor activities. These pilot projects have proven to be a huge success, with over 600,000 visits on the parkways recorded as of late September.

The NCC wishes to thank its staff and partners who have made it possible to carry out these projects.

NCC shuttle

Normally, for visits to Gatineau Park on Fall Rhapsody weekends, the National Capital Commission (NCC), in partnership with the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO), offers a free shuttle service.

However, please note that the shuttle service for this coming weekend in Gatineau Park, September 26 and 27, is cancelled due to public health restrictions linked to the pandemic. The shuttle service will be re-evaluated in conjunction with public health authorities and the STO, prior to each weekend. Please note, as well, that the shuttle service may be cancelled in bad weather.

Check Gatineau Park’s Twitter feed, or call the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre, to find out about any changes to the schedule, and visit the NCC’s website for information about the shuttle stops and routes.

Traffic in Gatineau Park

During Fall Rhapsody, please note the following:

  • The parkways will be open only for active users every day until noon.
  • Motor vehicles can access the parkways daily from noon until 30 minutes after sunset.
  • From Monday to Friday, from 6 am until 5 pm, Fortune Lake Parkway will be closed to all users, due to work being undertaken at Champlain Lookout.
  • Parking lot P10 will remain closed at all times.
  • The North Loop, between P8 and Dunlop Road, is open to motor vehicles at all times from Monday to Thursday.

In previous years, the NCC has had to intermittently close the parkways due to high traffic volumes on weekends. To reduce congestion and crowding, especially because of the pandemic, this year we are encouraging people to experience the fall colours in places other than Gatineau Park.

The region has plenty of hidden gems tucked away from the crowds, especially outside of the Park, where physical distance will be much easier to maintain. Visit the NCC’s website for a list of all the places you can go to enjoy the colours while also following public health guidelines.

If you decide to visit Gatineau Park during this period, it’s best to go on a weekday, and to head for Meech Creek Valley, Philippe Lake or Luskville Falls, areas that are typically less busy than the parkways.

Media Information

Cédric Pelletier
NCC Media Relations
613-852-2804 (cellular)