The best French Fries in Gatineau??

Le Patapouf
117 Gatineau Ave.

Here is another hidden gem in Gatineau, except this time it is for French fries.

The prices are great and the service is friendly and the french fries are top notch. Too bad about the location. But if you are out and about and want a great snack, try the Patapouf .... you won't be disappointed.

Hidden Treasure in Gatineau for Car Repairs

After the winter we have last year I decided that I want a winter car so that my new car would last a few extra seasons, also with the low profile of a lot of new cars I doubt it would even be drivable in more than a few inches of snow. Anyways, that said, I recently purchased an old 4x4 with good clearance for the winter.

As is recommended when purchasing any used car, I had a full vehicle inspection. I like to do this at a dealership because they always give you the worst case scenario. As expected, the dealership estimate came to about $1500 (for a $5000 winter car? I don’t think so!). I took the dealership estimate to Canadian Tire and they bid at $1200 - still a little too much for me.

I had never been there before, but I found the “Garage du Coin” on Google and decided to stop by. At a first glance, I was surprised the building was still standing – to say it is rough looking is an understatement. However, the garage owner Sherif Sbeiti was super friendly and went over the dealership estimate and the car at no charge, made a few calls and came up with a price that was 1/4 the dealership estimate and 1/3 Canadian Tire. The work was done the next day and the car runs great.

So if you have an old car and think you might be paying too much, give these guys a call, or drop by. It might well save you $100’s or $1000’s in car repair costs.

Garage du Coin
183 rue de Varennes
Gatineau, QC J8T 8G6, Canada
(819) 568-3511

Pedestrians forced to take to the streets (and possibly penalized for it!)

"Gatineau residents will be walking in the streets until the end of winter because the city has given up on plowing sidewalks.

The city says there's simply too much snow for them to remove, so they will be plowing the snow that has been clogging streets since the weekend onto the sidewalks."
- Ottawa Sun, March 13, 2008

However, in a separate article in “La Revue” (March 12, 2008 edition) Gatineau Police have announced that they will be ticketing pedestrians that they consider to be unsafely walking in the streets.

While I understand the role of Police in ensuring safety for the citizenry of Gatineau, this seems like a bit of a cash grab. I think Police should be enforcing on-street parking regulations and ticketing cars that are parked in already narrowed streets, where those cars create a dangerous situation for drivers and pedestrians - especially on main roads and near schools.

As an example, on-street parking on Boulevard de la Cite has effectively narrowed the street width to one lane. On 2 occasions this week alone, traffic has been backed up along this street as only one car can pass at a time. The focus could also be in areas near schools where children are forced to walk on the street, and on-street parking makes it difficult for one car to pass in certain areas, let alone a car and a pedestrian.

While I hope next winter won’t present similar problems, hopefully city council will enact legislation that protects pedestrians rather than penalizes them. Ticketing poor pedestrians forced to take to the roads because of winter weather while not enforcing things that have been shown to save lives (like mandatory bike helmet laws) seems a bit hypocritical to me.

Dealing with the winter blues ...

Cross post from
I will start this post off with a happy thought: Winter is almost over. For many of us, especially those in the North and Canada, winter can be long, hard and draining. The lack of sunshine, fresh air and the cold can take its toll on your body after a few months. So here are a few tips to survive the long winter.

Sunshine: Many people are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD or Winter Depression), some estimate as many as 1 in 5. The most common symptoms of SAD include extreme fatigue, oversleeping, not being able to get out of bed, overeating, carbohydrate cravings and weight gain. It can also be accompanied by the regular symptoms of depression, such as low mood, loss of interest in activities and trouble concentrating.

The best therapy is light therapy - either natural (get outside for 15-20 minutes a day) or through a special light treatment lamp. I have also found that 15-30 minutes a week in a tanning bed through January and February to be very beneficial.

Exercise: Exercise encourages the release of endorphins into the blood stream that have a great effect on mood and energy. 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3 or 4 times a week can help elevate your mood, and combat winter weight gain.

Be careful to avoid overtraining as it can depress your immune system and make you more susceptible to colds and flu. In addition if you feel an illness coming on, reduce your training intensity and training session length. Please be kind to others: if you are a member of a gym, stay home for a few days so that you don’t expose others to your germs and viruses.

Vitamin Therapy: Vitamins B and C can help you overcome fatigue, and boost your immune system so that your body can beat winter time colds. Vitamin B complex usually has a number (50 or 100) which corresponds to the amount in mg of each Vitamin B factor. In winter, a 200 pound man can take up to 200mg a day. Vitamin C supplements are usually sold in 500mg or 1g tablets. You can take up to 2g a day of vitamin C (Personally, if I feel the onset of a cold, I double my Vitamin C intake to 4g a day, add Echinacea and a ZMA complex.).

While getting through winter may be tough, just remember to eat right, exercise moderately, take your vitamins and treat yourself to some natural or artificial sunshine every once in a while. Spring is juts around the corner.

Canadian Income Tax Calculator

I have posted this before, but I think it is worth while to post it again now that it is Tax season. Estimate your provincial and federal taxes and even compare it to other provinces. Great tool to know what taxes you might owe come March.

Canadian Federal and Provincial Income Tax Calculator

Gatineau Health Care - beyond bad service

One of the five-pillars of Canadian Health Care is Accessibility (from the preamble of the act: “the plan must provide for reasonable access to services”). Last week, my daughter (18 months) was sick. As I suspected (and was confirmed) it was an ear infection. Certainly not an emergency case, but requires a visit to the Doctor none the less.

I am aware that there is a shortage of Doctors, funding and perhaps “will to do anything about it” in Gatineau, that is why our family physician is in Orleans Ontario. However for walk-in clinics to turn away an 18 month old walk-in patient (2 because they are too busy, and one because they “do not open new files”) is deplorable.

Here are the clinics. I hope the Quebec Ministry of Health takes action!

“Too busy”
Gatineau Maternity and Family Medical Clinic - 195 Gréber Blvd
Outaouais Medical Clinic - 25 de la Savane Road

"Will not open a new file" (even for an 18 month old)
Clinique Médicale De Touraine - 520 Boulevard de L'Hôpital

Traffic at la Verendrye and Greber

I have said it before and I will say it again … does anyone do traffic impact studies in Gatineau?

For those of you who may have noticed the traffic increase at Greber and La Verendrye and wondered why, there is a new Government of Canada office (Passport Canada) located on Greber just north of the la Verendrye intersection. I have heard the final number will be somewhere between 500 and 1000 new employees, on shift work.

La Verendrye is already saturated, and not properly designed to deliver the number of vehicles that use it now. This new office is creating such congestion that the North (left) lane of the East-bound side of La Verendrye can get backed up for 3 to 4 traffic light cycles because of left turning traffic, and because of a 3-4 car turning lane, that stops traffic that is trying to go straight through. The option is to veer into the South (right) lane to get by the turning traffic (and then quickly veer back as that lane ends just past the intersection!) … and I am sure that will cause traffic accidents soon enough.

If you can find an alternate route to avoid this intersection, do it!
Overhead view of La Verendrye and Greber intersection