The immense size and beauty of the Pontiac, along with the majesty of the Laurentian mountains and the Ottawa River, are some of the reasons that attracted the early settlers and continue to bring newcomers and visitors to Bristol and other small villages in the Pontiac region to live, work, and explore. Tourism is now the backbone behind the economy that provides a livelihood to the over 15,000 people who call the Pontiac ‘home’.
There are over 13,800 sq km of land and 4000 lakes- almost three times the size of Prince Edward Island. During the summer months Bristol's population swells from 1,120 to over 2,500. And at the end of the summer some of these vacationers even decide to stay!
“Norway Bay is gaining prominence as a summer resort. Salt and Sulphur springs have been discovered, pronounced by physicians to be equal to any in Ontario, and a gentlemen has visited the place who is thinking of erecting a summer hotel.”
The Equity, August 13, 1896
A stone's throw from Bristol, you'll find the Bristol Heritage Centre, located at #14 Route 148. It opens for the season on July 1st through to Labor Day weekend. You'll find a limited food concession as well as local artisans on hand with some of their crafts and artwork for sale.
ACTIVITIES - GET UP and GO!
Outdoor activities abound. The Ottawa River and the many lakes allow easy access to activities such as boating, canoeing, and fishing. If you're feeling really adventurous, go kayaking at Calumet Island. Or experience the fast flowing rapids at the chutes in Chutes Cologne. And hiking is just steps away throughout the region.
Bring your bicycle and enjoy a healthy peddle on P.P.J. Cyclopark which begins in Bristol - it's 92 km in length, so get ready! When the temperature rises, take a stroll down to Norway Bay's new dock and beach facilities. There you can go swimming rest in McLellan Park and watch the hustle and bustle of boaters and people enjoying the waterfront. In the evening, stroll leisurely by the waterfront and enjoy the calm and quiet. But you might want to tuck a can of mosquito repellant in your jacket as we take no responsibility for the bugs!
Bristol has two first-class golf courses nearby. Take a weekend and visit both.
- Norway Bay Golf Club – Linda Thompson at 819-647-2776
- Pine Lodge Golf Course – John Thompson at 819-647-2805
Winter activities are also plentiful. You can go skiing , skating, snowmobiling, or snow-shoeing. In other areas of the Pontiac you can spend time ice fishing in warm, rustic shacks. This can be the true test of your patience! During the summer months there are many various and informing festivals and fairs that highlight the artistic, agricultural, and entrepreneurial spirit found in this wonderful corner of the Pontiac. If you'd like more information on the Pontiac Region, go to the Regional Municipal Website for the greater Pontiac area at www.mrcpontiac.qc.ca.
So, after reading up to this point, there's very little reason for renting videos or laying about if you're truly looking for something to do!
FINE FOOD and LODGING
The area in and around Bristol has some of the best hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts to make your stay comfortable. There is the Pine Lodge Hotel in Bristol and The River View Inn in Norway Bay. Both the Pine Lodge and the River View Inn offer interesting menus and heart-warming meals.
And there are usually many cottages available for rent that will provide you with ‘a home away from home’ during your visit to the Bristol area.