With colder temperatures, the occasional snow squall, and shorter days, it’s the time of year where a warm coffee can be key to starting or ending your outdoor adventure in Gatineau Park. But given the climate crisis, more and more of us are trying to keep our weekend adventures green from start to finish. So Apartment613 braved the icy roads and took a tour by bike to hit up these coffee spots that are within walking, biking, or maybe even skiing distance of the park.
Distance from P3: 1.7km
A surge in cyclists stopping by in the spring led Levain owner Michou Couvillon-Chauret to order bike racks.
The quaint café is just one minute by bike away from Gatineau Park’s P3, making it a prime destination for weary explorers. The café strives to be inclusive of all food regimes, offering a daily vegan soup and plenty of vegetarian options. Ingredients are carefully curated and everything from the jam to the mayonnaise is made in-house.
This is the first winter for Levain, and cross-country skiers will be happy to know they can swing by for an après-ski beer (if they can make it in time for opening hours), as Levain will soon be offering beers from Brasserie du Bas-Canada.
To get there by bus, you can take the 35 or 26 from Terrasses de la Chaudière, a 10-minute ride.
Distance from P3: 1.7km
Maison Oddo is among Gatineau’s best-kept secrets. The nondescript exterior hidden at the back of a small parking lot belies an opulent counter overflowing with exquisitely crafted pastries and pizzas. Benjamin Oddo opened this bakery just three months before the start of the pandemic and has already made his mark, winning the title of best pastry chef in Québec in 2021.
While the sweet pastries might be the first thing to grab your eye, we recommend a quiche. One local fan, originally from Montreal, told Apt613: “Leurs quiches sont dans mon top 3 a vie.” (“Their quiches are among the top three I’ve had in my life.”)
Maison Oddo is a little trickier to get to by bus, you can take the 34, 55, or 59 from Terrasses de la Chaudière or bike there from P3 taking the separated bike path along Boulevard Saint Raymond.
Distance from P3: 10km
Only 10 kilometres from the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre, Palmier is one of the newer options on this list. While the parking lot is often full of bikes during warmer weather, we expect to see piles of skis lining the walls this winter, as skiers warm up with a coffee and connect to wifi to check the latest trail conditions and witty quips from the legendary Ski Trails Ottawa-Gatineau blog.
You can take the Transcollines bus and the STO 33 to get there, about 30 minutes in total from the Terrasses de la Chaudière. This is perhaps the easiest place to access on foot if you’re starting from any of the Chelsea-area parking lots.
Distance from P3: 2.8km
Nestled in a residential neighbourhood that many Ottawa cyclists pass through on their way back across the river after a Gatineau Park ride, Edgar checks all the boxes. Not only can you pick up a warm beverage and a pastry, but you can also grab a meal to bring home if you’re too wiped from your outdoorsy adventure to cook when you get home. Edgar also offers a decent wine selection with an emphasis on Canadian options. There is no indoor seating for the moment and, given the teeny locale and three-person limit, you can expect to wait outside during busy moments. But as Le Pressoir has reported, the locals who eat there weekly out of a simple love for the food won’t hesitate to wait in line.
If we had one complaint it would be, as one resident of the Val-Tétreau neighbourhood told us, that Edgar opens only at 11:30am on weekdays and 9:30am on weekends, leaving a dearth of local coffee shops for members of the community to access on foot.
Edgar is a 9-minute bus ride from Terrasses de la Chaudière on the 34, 55, or 59. If you’re taking the bike path, you simply continue tout droit off the Voyageurs pathway and take a right on Rue Eddy.
Biscotti & Cie.
Distance from P3: 9.7km
Only 220 metres from the Gatineau Park Welcome Centre, where you can pick up maps for your adventure, Biscotti & Cie. offers a decent espresso and a warm cozy interior that always seems full. We love that we can stop by almost anytime—it’s open Sunday to Thursday from 8am-8pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 8am-9pm.
Biscotti also offers a decent selection of day-old pastries at a reduced price, a worthwhile option if you’re famished from your Gatineau Park adventure and won’t be satisfied with simply one croissant (we’ve been there).
By bus from the Terrasses de Chaudière, access is a bit more complicated. You have to take the 33 and then switch to the 925 Transcollines. The journey will take about 40 minutes.
Distance from P3: 650m
While we prefer the local to the multinational option, and are disheartened by allegations of labour and wage maltreatment, Tim Hortons deserves an honourable mention for being the closest caffeine source to P3 with safe paths to get there that are fully accessible to people with disabilities. Washrooms and wifi are consistent and you know what you’re getting (unless you’re audacious enough to try a TimBieb). While coffee snobs might scoff at a double-double, sometimes you just want a Canadian classic that won’t break the bank. The author’s personal favourite from Tim Horton’s is a shot in the dark: a regular cup of coffee with a shot of espresso added, a surefire recipe for having the energy to make it to the famous fire tower.