Located at the Northern region of the Ottawa River, Gatineau is located west of Québec. It is found immediately across Ottawa, Ontario, and these two cities form the National Capital Region of Canada. Gatineau is home to the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Casino du Lac-Leamy. The city is known to host an annual hot air balloon festival on Labor Day.
Because Gatineau is intertwined with Ottawa, most of its cultures are mixed up with the other city. This city offers its residents and visitors a taste of the French culture, from gourmet cuisine to museums and architectural wonders. Gatineau is not only a city of sophistication. Visitors are welcome to experience walking trails, picnics, music and entertainment.
HOW IT BEGAN
In 1800s, Philemon Wright and his people founded a land located at the top of the Ottawa River, just upstream from where the Gatineau and Rideau Rivers flow. The first settlers decided to make this area a community based on agriculture but it transformed into a timber trade region instead. The place was first called Wrightstown (named after the founder) and then Hull. In 2002, the amalgamation of the city made way to its new name, “the City of Gatineau”. During the Second World War, Gatineau (then known as Hull) was camp for the prisoners of war including Italian and German nationals, and later on, Canadians. The prisoners were forced to farming and lumbering the area. The 1970’s is the year Gatineau was reborn into a destructing town to a rebuilt commercial area.
YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK OUT...
╣the Canadian Museum of Civilization at 100 Laurier Street, Hull. This museum displays artifacts related to the prehistoric Canada, the original Canadians, the first settlers, trades market and immigration of several nations. The museum displays life size reconstruction for a pleasurable experience.
╣the Canada Agriculture Museum. It is housed inside the Central Experimental Farm located at The Driveway at Maple Drive. The Museum has a working dairy and a farm for cattle and other rare breeds and small animals. It also has an Arboretum and Ornamental Gardens that grow various trees and shrubs. The Farm is a research facility for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
╣the Canada’s Cold War Museum. It teaches visitors about the Cold War by walking through the Diefenbunker, which was the site of an old nuclear bunker. Here you can see the Prime Minister’s suite, machine room, blast tunnel and other facilities. Reservations can be made through phone at 613 839-0007. Diefenbunker is located at 3911 Carp Road, Carp.
╣Canadian Postal Museum. Check out their collection of anything related to mail and postage. After you visit the Museum of Civilization, jump right into the doorstep of this one.
╣Canada Museum of Nature. Visitors can learn more about the ecosystem and view several species of dinosaurs, insects, deep-sea creatures and mammals within the four floors of the building.
╣Québec National Archives. It is located in 855, Boulevard de la Gappe. Also known as Archives nationales du Québec, Center de l'Outaouais, this building has the information of the Outaouais region, from history to heritage and culture.
╣Auberge Symmes Museum at 1 rue Front (near the banks of Lake Deschenes). It is open for public viewing and it will show you local history.
╣the Hull Ecomuseum. It is dedicated to teach locals and visitors about the importance of ecology. Issues are discussed to raise people’s awareness. Basic chemistry and physics involved in our surroundings are also explained, as well as the origin of our Solar System. The museum is located at 170 rue Montcalm.
╣Parc du Lac-Beauchamp at 741 boulevard Maloney Est. offers activities like lake swimming, canoeing and hiking. The Gatineau Park can be found in the middle of the city and is an accessible natural landscape perfect for walking, hiking, swimming and picnic. La Baie Park is the place to go (at 93 Saint Louis) if you want to witness the famous Hot Air Balloon Festival. With or without the festival, the park is publicly open for relaxation and recreation.
╣Parc des Cedres at rue Principale is the park for your kids. Let them enjoy sports and food concessions during summer.
╣Leamy Lake Ecological Park and Archaeological Site at Leamy Lake Parkway is the park where you can have a better view of the merging of the Gatineau River and the Rideau River. The site was a traders’ area before but now, it is a popular area for windsurfing and swimming.
╣Jacques Cartier Park at rue Laurier is where you can see the Rideau Falls and Downtown Gatineau. It is sometimes a spot for festivals, too.
╣Gatineau Park. The Mackenzie King Estate at the Gatineau Park is the place to visit if you want to experience the Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s spirit. He was Canada’s leader for 22 years and this estate was his private escape. This is also where he passed away. You can explore the estate, walk along the trails and have a relaxing tea.
╣Casino du Lac Leamy is also a favorite attraction for locals and visitors. Located at 1 boulevard du Casino, this attraction has a spectacular view of the banks of Lac Leamy and Lac de la Carriere. The casino is known for its very modern facilities, which includes high-class amenities like gourmet dining, a theater and a spa. It houses about 1,870 slot machines, blackjack, keno, poker and craps tables. It also has a grand banquet for very special occasions.
TOURISTS SHOULD KNOW
Gatineau has a municipal airport, the Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport. Because this airport is relatively small, it only accommodates smaller jets. Expresso has direct flights from Gatineau to Québec City. If you want to travel by plane, you can safely choose nearby airports like the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, or the Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal. Public Bus Transits are also available in the city. OC Transpo and Société de transport de l'Outaouais. If you wish to travel by car, highways connecting to Gatineau are linked to the bridges over Ottawa, however, where the road ends, it will be difficult to move around the city because you might need to drive within residential roads.