06/19/2013 06:43 EDT | Updated 08/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Gatineau promotes itself with free shuttle service

A new bus service has launched in Gatineau as part of a larger push to market the Outaouais region.

The free lunchtime shuttle is paid for by Vision Centre-Ville, a group of businesses in the city's Hull sector, which hopes more tourists and public servants will discover the neighbourhood's shops and restaurants.

- LISTEN | The CBC's Christine Maki takes a ride on the free tour shuttle

"There's this invisible wall between Gatineau and Ottawa, which I think we're going to have to break," said Eric Gaudreault, restaurant owner and president of Vision Centre-Ville.

Gaudreault said he wants tourists to explore the area past the current Museum of Civilization, which is soon to be the Canadian Museum of History.

15-minute trip through Hull sector

He said he also hopes public servants, who work in the government buildings along the river, will explore the surrounding shops and restaurants.

"Downtown Hull has had a bad rap and we want to let people know that things have changed," said Gaudreault.

"All these people in Ottawa, they need to discover all the hidden gems across the river."

The service, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays, begins in front of the museum and takes about 15 minutes.

Starting next week, Vision Centre-Ville plans to install new signs at bus stops and put up some branding on the side of the bus.