News - 9th August 2023

A Great Gatineau Welcome


Moussette parkrun, located along the Voyageurs Pathway that runs along the Ottawa River, is headed up by Dominique Kenney and Martyne Guindon.  This is the story of how the parkrun came to be and its journey since.


Martyne and Dominique’s parkrun journey began in 2018 when they discovered Kanata. They loved it so much that after volunteering a few times at Orleans, they decided to start their very own parkrun on the other side of the river,  in the city of Gatineau, Québec.


The duo really enjoyed the community and the overall sense of increasing health and well-being. Dominique loves using this quote “parkrun is the best event for everyone who wants to work towards achieving their personal best within a group.” He emphasizes that Moussette parkrun is a place where walkers, beginners, seasoned runners, and PB-seekers come together to pursue their goals together, while being part of a community. Accessibility is also important so as many people as possible can join in, so the ED-pair are proud when the event has hosted visually impaired parkrunners as well as some in wheelchairs.





The course is generally flat but is one to experience.  Scenic in nature, it starts and finishes next to the Tétreau Community Center and takes you along the Ottawa River where you get to enjoy crossing three wooden bridges. You also get to run underneath one – the Champlain bridge, and while not wooden it paves the way on the way back for the beautiful view of Moussette Park’s sandy beach, playgrounds, and the finish line.




The event takes place on the Voyageurs Pathway that is a historic trail that follows the route taken many years ago by First Nations people, explorers, coureurs des bois and Jesuit missionaries.  Today it is a National Capital Commission multi-purpose, fully paved trail along the Ottawa River that offers spectacular views.


The course is fully paved, flat, and accessible to everyone.  It’s complemented with a gorgeous view of the Ottawa River. It’s conveniently located … just a “parkrun” away (5K) from Ottawa’s Parliament Hill.


The event team loves it when they meet a parkrun tourist. Dominique and Martyne said, “Our participants come from pretty much everywhere around the world and we just love welcoming tourists at Moussette Park.”  If it happens to be your first parkrun in Canada or in the province of Quebec, then they kindly offer to take a souvenir picture of you with either the Canadian or Quebec flag (or both if requested) so you can grab it on social media as a memento!




As many of you know, the post-event coffee is often the best part of a Saturday morning.  Sadly, the pandemic brought a lot of local café and restaurant closures so while a search for a new location brings a new venue, Dominique and Martyne have encouraged participants to stay in the park as it’s full of amenities to enjoy, including two kids’ playgrounds, picnic tables, and an accessible beach.  Feel free to bring your own coffee or treats to savour the post-parkrun moments.


The team at Moussette enjoy building community, and recently to celebrate Ocean week in Canada, led an initiative where many Canadian parkrunners across the country dressed up as sea creatures!  A Water Rangers write up of that occasion can be found here.





Moussette is one of three events in Canada located in the province of Quebec where French is the official language. The event team builds bilingualism into the environment so deliver all their events in both French and English. As Dominique and Martyne explain “Having an international airport in Ottawa brings many tourists visiting the area and who will join us on a Saturday morning. The comments we receive from the tourists, as well as our locals, is that hearing French before English is what makes our “parkrun experience” quite unique in this aspect, and they love it. We even had a few tourists taking videos of our briefing and some asking if they could take a “snapshot” of our speaking notes (as they could see the French-Canadian wording). Some of our key volunteers also provide translation (voluntarily of course) to parkrun Canada, hoping to make a positive impact and help in reaching and growing events in French communities across Canada.”




Asked to give us an insight into any characters at the event, the Co-Eds were delighted to tell us about Gillian and her dog Poppy “They are generally the first ones to arrive. It seems that Poppy has made the association of Saturday mornings and parkrun as she will wait by the door and signal Gillian when it’s time to leave for Moussette Park. You can count on Gillian to give you all the details on how our events work. Although she is very shy, once Poppy gets her run, she will stick around to watch everyone cross the finish line. She will remain quiet but if you look carefully from a distance, you can actually see her smiling with satisfaction. She is “living the moment” by simply being there. So, it’s no wonder why everyone at Moussette parkrun adopted her as our official mascot. They recently reached their 50th parkrun milestone and both were dressed for the occasion. Poppy and Gillian are also the last ones to leave as they have made it a habit to help in closing down our events and answer anyone’s last minute questions if need be.“




Moussette will enter its third year in September and has already seen growth and a positive impact on the community. Winters can present challenging conditions, but committed to making the opportunity available year-round, Dominique and Martyne tell us that they are collaborating with the local residents’ association to plan on making the pathway groomed all year round.  While the Co-Eds understand that growth can take time, they recognize that by making the trail available all year round, the growth can continue throughout winter.

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