Canadian Museum of History (formerly known as the Canadian Museum of Civilization() in Hull

Gatineau is a city in the Outaouais region of Quebec, Canada, located just across the Ottawa River from Canada's capital, Ottawa.


With more than 200,000 inhabitants, Gatineau (municipality) is a city resulting from the amalgamation of the older cities of Gatineau, Hull, Aylmer, Masson-Angers and Buckingham. The majority of hullois and gatinois are francophones; most (but not all) are bilingual.

Hull (population 65000, postal codes J8X, J8Y, telephone +1-819-77...) is the original centre of the city, the most densely-populated (but not most populous) area in the Outaouais region and the closest to Ottawa. On the west bank of the Gatineau River and north of the Ottawa (Outaouais) River, Hull is directly opposite Parliament Hill, lowertown Ottawa and the Byward Market.

Hull was founded 1800 by Philemon Wright as a lumber camp on the Ottawa River and therefore predates Ottawa, although the town's former principal industry of manufacturing matchsticks historically led to some major fires; little or nothing from 1800 remains in Hull today. The downtown waterfront was once heavily industrialised by Scott and Eddy, the two main paper makers, and the Ottawa river was used to generate hydroelectric power. Currently, the city's largest employer is the federal government with twenty thousand civil servants working in Hull and thousands more who commute to Ontario daily.

Aylmer is a small-town suburb directly west of Hull. Gatineau (secteur), the 100000-person suburb for which the amalgamated municipality was named, is located to the east of the Gatineau River. Further downriver is Buckingham, a small rural village. Head further afield and one quickly finds open farmland and the occasional maple sugar shack, a seasonal tradition where trees are tapped and sap distilled to produce Québec's famous maple syrup.

Head north from Hull and one quickly arrives in Gatineau Park; the Camp Fortune and Edelweiss ski areas are also north of the city, near Chelsea and Wakefield respectively.

Get in

Gatineau is just across the river from Ottawa, which is on the Trans-Canada Highway and offers rail connections to Toronto-Kingston and Montréal. An autoroute from Gatineau directly to Montréal (A-50) was completed in November 2012.

A heritage railway used to run steam trains from Hull to Wakefield; service ended when the track was washed out in 2011. There are proposals to put the rolling stock into service elsewhere, possibly Montebello, but (as of 2016) the train remains idle and its future uncertain.

Access by city bus:

Access by intercity bus:

Access by air:

Get around


  • Grand Hall, Level 1. The world's largest collection of totem poles, quite an amazing sight when all assembled together.
  • Canada Hall, Level 3. A very well done and surprisingly interesting presentation of Canadian history, with countless life-sized walk-through exhibits and recreations of villages, towns and cities at different stages.


Gatineau shares several activities and festivals with the capital, Ottawa. These include the Ottawa Bluesfest and the Winterlude (Bal de Neige) winter festival, to name but a few. In 2001, les jeux de la Francophonie were hosted jointly by Ottawa and Hull.





Speciality and seasonal

The érablière, cabane à sucre or maple sugar shack is a seasonal tradition across a wide region extending from southeastern Ontario to Québec's Eastern Townships. With rare exception, these are found in the countryside near tiny rural villages. Local maple syrup is produced seasonally; the sap begins to flow early during the spring thaw and is collected for distillation. This places the start of the season at the mercy of the elements, although there is usually fresh syrup to be had in late March or early April - usually before the last of the snow is gone. Maple sugar shacks are typically large rural communal dining halls in which diners fill up on a dietician's nightmare of traditional high-calorie lumberjack food, cost starts around $20/person but varies as some venues offer entertainment, "tire sur neige" (maple toffee on snow) or sled rides. Once the season ends, many of these venues close or are used for other agritourism activity - an open field often becomes a summer campground.


Québec has traditionally had less restrictive liquor laws than nearby Ontario: minimum drinking age is 18, beer and wine are available in corner stores and the rules on opening hours for bars are less restrictive. The Promenade du Portage area in the city centre is known to attract rowdy, drunken patrons from across the Ottawa River.



The Hilton Hotel at Leamy Lake

Bed and breakfast



Buckingham/L'Ange Gardien

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