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.
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:
- STO (Société de transport de l'Outaouais). Various local Outaouais buses stop at Parliament Hill and in Ottawa's Byward Market.
- A handful of OCTranspo (Ottawa city bus) routes terminate at government buildings in Hull. Most are rush hour only, with the exception of the "8 HULL" route from Alta Vista, which runs all day, every day.
Access by intercity bus:
- Terminus Voyageur de Hull, 238, boulevard Saint-Joseph J8Y 3X6, ☎ +1 819-771-2442. 06:00 AM - 07:15 PM weekdays, 06:00 AM - 03:45 PM weekends/holidays. Limited service is provided from Hull to Montréal; additional intercity services (including hourly runs to Montréal) are available from Ottawa's station.
Access by air:
- l'Aéroport Exécutif de Gatineau-Ottawa (Gatineau Executive Airport), 1717, rue Arthur-Fecteau, ☎ +1 819-663-0737, toll-free: +1-877-663-0737, fax: +1 819-663-0793. M - F 6:00-21:00, Sa - Su 8:00-16:00. (IATA: YND) Small airport with Canada Customs, CANPASS facilities, Hertz and Enterprise hire cars, restaurant, Vintage Wings of Canada historical aircraft museum. Limited scheduled Pascan service (daily to Quebec City), otherwise primarily serves general aviation.
- Additional air connections are available in Ottawa (IATA: YOW) locally and Montréal (200km distant) (IATA: YUL) with direct connections to intercity passenger rail at Montréal-Dorval airport.
- Mirabel Airport (IATA: YMX) was 160km (100 miles) from Hull at the opposite terminus of Autoroute 50. It serves primarily cargo and general aviation; the last charter passenger service ended in 2004 and the main terminal has since been demolished.
- Bike There is an extensive network of bike paths throughout the area as well as in the National parks. Enjoy the fresh air and natural beauty while exercising
- Canadian Museum of History, 100 Laurier Street, Hull, toll-free: +1-800-555-5621. Formerly known as the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau's star attraction and Canada's most-visited museum deserves at least half a day of your time. General admission $10 (special exhibitions may charge extra), but entry is free on Thursdays from 4 to 8 PM. Open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM or longer, closed Mondays in winter only.
- 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.
- Defilé du Père Noël (Santa's Parade), rue Principale, Aylmer (Aylmer main street from Parc des Cèdres to boul Wilfrid-Lavigne). Annual Christmas parade at the end of November.
- Bar/Billard Le Terminus, 84C Jean-Proulx, Hull and 181 Principale, local FF1, Aylmer=, ☎ +1 819-595-7070 (Hull), +1 819-684-7071 (Aylmer). The best place in the Ottawa/Gatineau region to play pool. $7,50 - $11,50.
- Les Olympiques, 125 Rue de Carillon, ☎ +1 819-777-0661. Experience championship quality junior hockey in an intimate arena. Go for the game but the ambiance is what makes this unique. $8-14.
- Gatineau Park. The outdoor playground for Canada's National Capital Region (Ottawa and Gatineau). It offers amazing possibilities for outdoor recreation, within a 20 minutes drive of either city. This includes: skiing (cross-country and downhill), mountain biking (cross-country and downhill), hiking, canoeing, camping, rock-climbing and bird-watching.
- Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. La Baie Park. Annual hot air balloon festival held in September. Cost: $15.00 to $53.00.
- Canadian Ski Marathon, 81 Jean-Proulx, Suite 200, Hull, toll-free: +1-877-770-6556, fax: +1 819-770-7428. Held annually in February. A two day cross-country ski marathon from Gatineau to Lachute. $180/adult.
- Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train, 165 Deveault, Hull, ☎ +1 819-778-7246. Currently not in operation, the scenic steam train ride from Hull to Wakefield was offered in four excursion types: Scenic, Fall Foliage, Sunset Dinner & Sunday Brunch. $19-129/person.
- MotoFest Canada. Held late June / early July. Motorcycle festival including events and charity rides. Cost varies.
- Rendez-vous des saveurs de l'Outaouais (Outaouais Food Festival), 25 Laurier Street. Annual food festival held in September. Events include cooking classes and wine tasting.
- Festival Country du Grand Gatineau, ☎ +1 819 986-3552, fax: +1 819-986-8342. 110 rue Georges. Annual country music festival held in the second week of August. Cost: $10.00 to $40.00.
- Fête nationale du Québec (Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day). Quebec's biggest party of the year starts June 23. Saint-Jean-Baptiste is Québec's patron saint, his feast day is June 24. Events held at various locations.
- Fête nationale du Canada (Canada Day). July 1, events held at various locations including Ottawa's Parliament Hill.
- Le Grand Rire de Gatineau (Gatineau Comedy Festival). Annual comedy festival held in late June / early July. Events held at various locations. $10-20.
- Wonders of Sand, Parc du Lac-Beauchamp. Early July. Sand-sculpting competition. $8.
- Great Canadian Bungee, Route 105, Wakefield, ☎ +1 819-459-3714, toll-free: +1-877-828-8170. North America's highest bungee jump.
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.
- Pecco's, 76 rue Laval, Hull, ☎ +1 819 771-8933. M-W 9am-6pm, Th-F 9am-8pm, Sa 9am-5pm, Su 11am-4pm. Retailer for bicycles and cross-country skis.
- La Trappe à fromage, 200 Bellehumeur, Gatineau, ☎ +1 819 243-6411, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheese and regional food products.
- Miss Chocolat, 173 Promenade du Portage, Hull, ☎ +1 819 775-3499. T - F 10am-6p,. Closed Sa, Su & M. Artisan chocolatier, bold flavour combinations, chocolate workshops.
- Papilles Gourmandes, 256 Boul St-Joseph, Hull, ☎ +1 819 595-2439, e-mail: email@example.com. Regional Quebec products including pâtés and cheeses.
- Bistro Ambrosia, 100 rue Principal, ☎ +1 819-682-5333. Authentic Fresh Italian food. Great wine selection. Reservation in advance recommended
- L'Argoät - Café Breton, 39A rue Laval, +1 819 771-6170.
- Le Troquet, 41 rue Laval, +1 819 776-9595.
- Bistro 1908, 70 Promenade du Portage, +1 819 770-1908. M - W 11:30AM to 22:00PM, Th & Sa 11:30AM to 23:00PM, F 11:30AM to Midnight.
- La Piz'za-za, 36 rue Laval, ☎ +1 819 771-0565. M -T 11:30AM to 22:00PM, W - Th 11:30AM to 23:00PM, F 11:30AM to 1:00AM, Sa 17:00PM to 23:00PM, Su 17:00PM to 22:00PM. Great pizzas here. Thin crust, personal size pizas are served for about $12, there is no option for a larger pizza. Tropical pizza is good, if a bit spicy. If pizza is not your thing the salads are also great. There is lots of parking space in the area and a few pubs within the same block.
- Le French Quarter, 80 Promenade du Portage, +1 819 777-1125, M - F 11:30AM to 23:00PM, Sa 17:00PM to 22:00PM.
- Le Tartuffe, ☎ +1 819 776-6424. 133 rue Notre-Dame-de-l'ïle, M-F 11:30AM-2PM, M-Sa 5:30-10PM. Tucked away behind the history museum, this little old house offers classical French cuisine with modern touches. Lunch prix fixe $17.50, dinner menus $30-40 (soup, appetizer, main). Reservations highly recommended.
- Le Panaché, 201 Eddy St, ☎ +1 819 777-7791. Tu-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, T-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. In Gatineau's downtown area, this apartment style restaurant is one of the Ottawa areas finest French contemporary cuisines. Excellent selection of wines. Dinner starts at $42 for a 4 course meal. Reservations highly recommended.
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.
- Cabane à sucre Brazeau, 316 Côte St-Charles, Papineauville, ☎ +1 819-427-5611, fax: +1 819-427-9740. Seasonal, March-April. Sugar Shack. Enjoy a traditional lumberjack meal in a communal setting. Educational programs available. Products sold on premises.
- Cabane à sucre Chez Ti-Mousse, 442 Côte St-Charles, Papineauville, ☎ +1 819-427-5413, fax: +1 819-427-9694. Open year-round by reservation. Sugar Shack. Sale of maple products, entertainment and carriage rides. Educational programs available.
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.
- Où-Quoi! Lounge Urbain, 48 rue Laval, A great little bar to get a drink at and hang out with the locals. Its' low-key vibe attracts a steady crowd of regulars. The back room offers some privacy if you're partying VIP style. Quebec law prohibits smoking inside but it is still allowed on the terrace. Treat the bartenders right and they will take very good care of you.
- Le Petit Chicago, ☎ +1 819 483-9843. 50 du Portage, Vieux-Hull. Sa, M & T Open 20:00PM to 2:00AM. W, Th & F Open 16:00PM to 2:00AM. Closed Sunday. Large bar with dance floor and a vibrant social scene. Each night has a different theme. Check out the improvisational jazz on Monday nights.
- Le Bop, 9 rue Aubry, +1 819 777-3700.
- Les Brasseurs du Temps, 170 rue Montcalm, is a brewpub with an impressive selection of high-quality homemade beers, a great patio and good food. Highlights are a "dégustation" (tasting) of their beers, interesting salads and a laid-back atmosphere .
- Auberge de La Gare, 205 boul. St-Joseph, Hull, toll-free: +1-866-778-8085, fax: +1 819-595-2021. $90-$150.
- Best Western Cartier, 131 rue Laurier, ☎ +1 819-770-8550. Check-in: 4pm, check-out: Noon. Waterfront hotel, 133 non-smoking rooms and suites, free wifi, cardio fitness, indoor pool. Conference centre and on-site catering for 10 to 270 people. 99/159 Single/Double.
- Clarion Hotel & Conference Centre, 111, rue Bellehumeur, ☎ +1 819-568-5252, fax: +1 418-266-1535. $89-$150 single/double.
- Four Points by Sheraton & Conference Centre Gatineau-Ottawa, 35 rue Laurier, Hull, ☎ +1 819-778-6111, fax: +1 819-778-3647. $195.
- Hilton Lac-Leamy, 3 Boul. du Casino, Hull, ☎ +1 819-790-6444, fax: +1 819-790-6408. $259-$2500 Single/Double.
- Holiday Inn Plaza la Chaudière, 2 Montcalm, Hull, ☎ +1 819-778-3880, fax: +1 819-778-3309. $120/$260 single/double.
- Ramada Plaza Manoir du Casino, 75 rue Edmonton, Hull, ☎ +1 819-777-7538, fax: +1 819-777-0277. $119/$159 single/double.
- Aux Berges des Outaouais, 863 Jacques-Cartier, Pointe-Gatineau, ☎ +1 819-243-1680, toll-free: +1-855-577-1680. Short-term apartment for up to 4 persons; large waterfront house with massage therapist office on-site. $127-$150/night, except during special events.
Bed and breakfast
- Au 55 Taché, 55 Boul. Alexandre-Taché, Hull, ☎ +1 819 772-1454, fax: +1 819-772-1461. $75-$85 single / $85-$95 double.
- La Belle Corbeille, 23 boul Saint-Raymond, Hull, ☎ +1 819 777-4584, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. $85 single/$95 double.
- La Sucrerie Le Palais Gommé, 562 ch. Doherty, L'Ange-Gardien, ☎ +1 819-281-9882. Maple sugar shack, seasonal.
- Domaine de l'Ange Gardien, 1031, rue Pierre-Laporte L’Ange-Gardien, ☎ +1 819-281-0299, toll-free: +1-877-281-0299, fax: +1 819-281-8388. Campground and maple sugar shack, seasonal.
- Gatineau Park is a 10 minute drive north from downtown Hull, near Chelsea.
- Ottawa, Canada's Capital, is directly across the Ottawa River.
- Wakefield is a small, picturesque, artist village about a 25 minute drive north on highway 5.