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Ville de Gatineau
Gatineau - QC - Museum of Civilisation3.jpg
Terrasses de la Chaudière - 02 (cropped).jpg
Gatineau (view from the Peace Tower of Parliament Centre Block).JPG
105, Hotel-de-Ville.jpg
Vue du pont Macdonald-Cartier - 11.jpg
Clockwise from top left: Canadian Museum of History, downtown, Ottawa River, Rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville, and Macdonald-Cartier Bridge.
Coat of arms of Gatineau
Coat of arms
Official logo of Gatineau
Fortunae meae, multorum faber ("Maker of my fate and that of many others")
Location of Gatineau (red) with adjacent municipalities
Location of Gatineau (red) with adjacent municipalities
Gatineau is located in Quebec
Location in Quebec
Country Canada
Province Quebec
Region Outaouais
RCM None
Constituted 1 January 2002
 • Type Gatineau City Council
 • City 381.30 km2 (147.22 sq mi)
 • Land 342.98 km2 (132.43 sq mi)
 • Metro
2,999.90 km2 (1,158.27 sq mi)
 • City 276,245
 • Density 773.7/km2 (2,004/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density 104.8/km2 (271/sq mi)
 • Pop 2011–2016
Increase 4.1%
 • Dwellings
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Postal code(s)
J8L, J8M, J8P, J8R, J8T, J8V, J8X to J8Z, J9A, J9H to J9J, various K1A (Government Offices)
Area codes 819, 873

Route 105
Route 148
Route 307
Route 315
Route 366
Bridges Alexandra
Prince of Wales

Gatineau ( gat-IN-oh;) is a city in western Quebec, Canada. It is located on the northern bank of the Ottawa River, immediately across from Ottawa, Ontario, and is part of Canada's National Capital Region. As of 2016, Gatineau is the fourth-largest city in the province with a population of 276,245, and a metropolitan population of 332,057. The Ottawa–Gatineau census metropolitan area had a population of 1,323,783.

Gatineau is coextensive with a territory equivalent to a regional county municipality (TE) and census division (CD) of the same name, whose geographical code is 81. It is the seat of the judicial district of Hull.


Hull, (Lower Canada), on the Ottawa River; at the Chaudier (sic) Falls, 1830
Hull, (Lower Canada), on the Ottawa River; at the Chaudier [sic] Falls, 1830 by Thomas Burrowes. Chaudière Falls and Bytown are visible in the background.

The current city of Gatineau is centred on an area called Hull, the oldest European colonial settlement in the National Capital Region. It was founded on the north shore of the Ottawa River in 1800 by Philemon Wright at the portage around the Chaudière Falls just upstream (or west) from where the Gatineau and Rideau Rivers flow into the Ottawa. Wright brought his family, five other families and twenty-five labourers and a plan to establish an agriculturally based community to what was then a mosquito-infested wilderness. But soon after, Wright and his family took advantage of the large lumber stands and became involved in the timber trade. The original settlement was called Wrightstown, later it became Hull and in 2002, after amalgamation, the City of Gatineau.

In 1820, before immigrants from Great Britain arrived in great numbers, Hull Township had a population of 707, including 365 men, 113 women, and 229 children. Note the discrepancy in the number of men and women, owing to the male work of the timber trade. In 1824, there were 106 families and 803 persons. During the rest of the 1820s, the population of Hull doubled, owing to the arrival of Ulster Protestants. By 1851, the population of the County of Ottawa was 11,104, of which 2,811 lived in Hull Township. By comparison, Bytown had a population of 7,760 in 1851. By 1861, Ottawa County now had a population of 15,671, of which 3,711 lived in Hull Township. The gradual move to the Township by French Canadians continued over the years, with the French Canadians growing from 10% of the population in 1850, to 50% in 1870, and 90% in 1920.

The Gatineau River, like the Ottawa River, was very much the preserve of the draveurs, people who would use the river to transport logs from lumber camps until they arrived downriver. (The Gatineau River flows south into the Ottawa River which flows east to the St Lawrence River near Montreal.) The log-filled Ottawa River, as viewed from Hull, appeared on the back of the Canadian one-dollar bill until it was replaced by a dollar coin (the "loonie") in 1987, and the very last of the dwindling activity of the draveurs on these rivers ended a few years later.

Ottawa was founded later, as the terminus of the Rideau Canal built under the command of Col. John By as part of fortifications and defences constructed after the War of 1812. Originally named Bytown, Ottawa did not become the Canadian capital until the mid-19th century after the original parliament in Montreal was torched by a rioting mob of English-speaking citizens on 25 April 1849. Its greater distance from the Canada–US border also left the new parliament less vulnerable to foreign attack.

Nothing remains of the original 1800 settlement; the downtown Vieux-Hull sector was destroyed by a terrible fire in 1900 which also destroyed the original pont des Chaudières (Chaudière Bridge), a road bridge which has since been rebuilt to join Ottawa to Hull at Victoria Island.

In the 1940s, during World War II, Hull, along with various other regions within Canada, such as the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, and Île Sainte-Hélène, had Prisoner-of-war camps. Hull's prison was simply labelled with a number and remained unnamed just like Canada's other war prisons. The prisoners of war (POWs) were sorted and classified into categories by nationality and civilian or military status. In this camp, POWs were mostly Italian and German nationals. During the Conscription Crisis of 1944 the prison eventually included Canadians who had refused conscription. Also, prisoners were forced into hard labour which included farming and lumbering the land.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, the decaying old downtown core of Hull was transformed by demolition and replacement with a series of large office complexes. Some 4,000 residents were displaced, and many businesses uprooted along what was once the town's main commercial area.

On 11 November 1992, Mrs. Ghislaine Chénier, Mayoress by interim for the city of Hull, unveiled 'War Never Again', a marble stele monument which commemorates the suffering caused by war to the men, women and children of the city of Hull.



As part of the 2000–06 municipal reorganization in Quebec, the five municipalities that constituted the Communauté urbaine de l'Outaouais were merged on 1 January 2002 to constitute the new city of Gatineau. They were:

  • Aylmer
  • Buckingham
  • Gatineau
  • Hull
  • Masson-Angers

Although Hull was the oldest and most central of the merged cities, the name Gatineau was chosen for the new city. The main reasons given were that Gatineau had more inhabitants, it was the name of the former county, the valley, the hills, the park and the main river within the new city limits: thus its name was less restrictive than Hull.

After the 2003 election, the new Liberal government of Jean Charest passed Bill 9, which created a process by which former municipalities could be reconstituted. Contrary to Charest's election promise of full de-amalgamation, Bill 9 only restored selected powers to the de-merged cities (e.g., animal control, garbage pickup, local street maintenance, some cultural facilities). The bigger expenses (e.g., police, fire, main streets, expansion programs) and the majority of the taxes remained in the hands of urban agglomerations, which are controlled by the central merged city because their larger populations give them greater voting weight. 10% of the eligible voters in each former municipality would have to sign a "register" in order to hold a referendum, with residents of Aylmer, Buckingham, Hull and Masson-Angers all surpassing this threshold. Upon holding a referendum, each would need a simple majority of "yes" votes, on a turnout of at least 35%, to de-merge. All of the above had the required turnout, with all rejecting the de-merger.

Former Municipality # of Yes votes Yes vote (%) Total votes Turnout (%)
Aylmer 7,412 26.48 12,844 45.89
Buckingham 1,779 20.27 4,302 49.02
Hull 7,820 15.71 19,885 39.94
Masson-Angers 2,563 34.8 3,900 52.88


Filling balloons with hot air
Filling the balloons in the park

Two important tourist attractions located in Gatineau are the Canadian Museum of History and the Casino du Lac-Leamy. In August, the Casino hosts an international fireworks competition which opposes four different countries with the winner being awarded a Prix Zeus prize for the best overall show (based on several criteria) and can return in the following year. At the beginning of September, on Labour Day weekend, Gatineau hosts an annual hot air balloon festival which fills the skies with colourful gas-fired passenger balloons.

There are many parks. Some of them are well gardened playgrounds or resting spaces while others, like Lac Beauchamp Park, are relatively wild green areas which often merge with the woods and fields of the surrounding municipalities. Streams of all sizes run through these natural expanses. Most of the city is on level ground but the Northern and Eastern parts lie on the beginnings of the foothills of the massive Canadian Shield, or Laurentian Mountains. These are the "Gatineau Hills", and are visible in the background of the companion picture. One of Gatineau's urban parks, Jacques Cartier Park, is used by the National Capital Commission during the popular festival, Winterlude.

Nightlife within the city of Gatineau is mostly centered in the "Vieux-Hull" sector behind the Federal office complexes of downtown. The area features many bars and restaurants within a stone's throw from Ottawa. It is a popular spot for young Ontarians as the legal drinking age in Quebec is 18 (as opposed to Ontario's 19).


The Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport is Gatineau's municipal airport, capable of handling small jets. There are Canada customs facilities for aircraft coming from outside Canada, a car rental counter and a restaurant. The airport has a few regularly scheduled flights to points within Quebec, but most residents of Gatineau use the nearby Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport or travel to Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal.

Ottawa and Gatineau have two distinct bus-based public transit systems with different fare structures, OC Transpo and the Société de transport de l'Outaouais. Tickets are not interchangeable between the two, however passes and transfers from one system to the other do not require payment of a surcharge on any routes. There is a proposed LRT system that would connect Gatineau to Bayview and Rideau Centre Stations in Ottawa.

Many Gatineau highways and major arteries feed directly into the bridges crossing over to Ottawa, but once there the roads lead into the dense downtown grid or into residential areas, with no direct connection to The Queensway. This difficulty is further magnified by the lack of a major highway on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River connecting Gatineau to Montreal, the metropolis of the province; most travellers from Gatineau to Montreal first cross over to Ottawa, and use Ontario highways to access Montreal. However, it is expected that since Autoroute 50 has been completed, the new link between Gatineau and the Laurentides popular tourist area may serve as part of a Montreal by-pass by the north shore for Outaouais residents.

Key roads

Gatineau City Council

The Gatineau Municipal Council (French: Le conseil municipal de Gatineau) is the city's main governing body. It is composed of 17 city councillors and a mayor.


Census Gatineau Pop. Hull Pop.
1871 x 3,800
1881 x 6,890
1891 x 11,264
1901 x 13,993
1911 x 18,222
1921 x 24,117
1931 x 29,433
1941 2,822 32,604
1951 5,771 43,483
1961 13,022 56,929
1971 22,321 63,580
1981 74,988 56,225
1991 92,284 60,707
2001 102,898 66,246
2006 242,124 x
2011 265,349 x
2016 276,245 x

According to the 2011 census the city of Gatineau had a population of 265,349. This was an increase of 9.6% compared to 2006. Most of the population live in the urban cores of Aylmer, Hull and the former Gatineau. Buckingham and Masson-Angers are more rural communities. Gatineau is the fourth largest city in Quebec after Montreal, Quebec City, and Laval.

The Quebec part of Ottawa-Gatineau Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) – which includes various peripheral municipalities in addition to Gatineau – had a total population of 314,501. Between 2001 and 2006 there was a net influx of 5,205 people (equivalent to 2% of the total 2001 population) who moved to Gatineau from outside of the Ottawa – Gatineau area. There was also a net outmigration of 630 anglophones (equivalent to 2% of the 2001 anglophone population). Overall there was a net influx of 1,100 people from Quebec City, 1,060 from Montreal, 545 from Saguenay, 315 from Toronto, 240 from Trois-Rivières, 225 from Kingston, and 180 from Sudbury.


The following statistics refer to the Quebec portion of the Ottawa–Gatineau CMA (as it was defined in the 2006 census): Counting both single and multiple responses, French was a mother tongue for 80.0% of residents in 2006, English for 13.9%, Arabic for 1.7%, Portuguese for 1.1% and Spanish for 1.0%. (Figures below are for single responses only.)

Mother tongue Population Percentage
French 220,970 78.5%
English 35,580 12.6%
Arabic 4,450 1.6%
Portuguese 2,845 1.1%
Spanish 2,820 1.0%
Chinese 1,205 0.4%
Serbo-Croatian 635 0.2%
Romanian 620 0.2%
German 590 0.2%
Berber 475 0.2%
Polish 465 0.2%
Italian 445 0.2%
Haitian Creole 380 0.1%
Russian 370 0.1%
Kirundi 350 0.1%
Persian 345 0.1%
Lao 290 0.1%
Bosnian 250 0.1%
Dutch 235 0.1%
Serbian 230 0.1%
Kinyarwanda 225 0.1%
Hungarian 220 0.1%
Canada Census Mother Tongue - Gatineau, Quebec
Census Total
French & English
Year Responses Count Trend Pop % Count Trend Pop % Count Trend Pop % Count Trend Pop %
205,335 Increase 0.9% 75.14% 30,660 Increase 5.5% 11.22% 4,635 Increase 4.9% 1.69% 29,275 Increase 22.72% 10.7%
203,360 Increase 6.22% 77.24% 29,060 Increase 14.56% 11.04% 4,415 Increase 65.3% 1.6% 23,855 Increase 16.33% 9.06%
191,445 Increase 4.35% 79.77% 25,365 Increase 3.57% 10.56% 2,670 Decrease 20.93% 1.11% 20,505 Increase 42.6% 8.54%
183,455 Increase 3.6% 81.6% 24,115 Increase 5.18% 10.7% 2,810 Decrease 4.9% 1.25% 14,380 Increase 30.9% 6.39%
177,065 n/a 81.97% 23,995 n/a 11.1% 3,005 n/a 1.39% 10,985 n/a 5.08%


Immigrants by country of birth (2016 Census)
Rank Country Population
1 Lebanon 2,425
2 Haiti 2,030
3 France 1,845
4 Morocco 1,515
5 Colombia 1,430
6 Portugal 1,360
7 China 1,350
8 Algeria 1,180
9 Romania 870
10 United States 755

Ethnic groups and ancestry

Ethnic group (2006 census) Population  % of total population
White 217,290 90.5%
Black 5,715 2.4%
Arab 3,835 1.6%
First Nations 3,240 1.4%
Métis 2,590 1.1%
Latin American 2,415 1%
Chinese 1,515 0.6%
Southeast Asian 1,235 0.5%
South Asian 455 0.2%
West Asian 375 0.2%
Mixed visible minority 315 0.1%
Filipino 195 0.1%
Korean 160 0.1%
Japanese 110 0%
Other visible minority 85 0%
Inuit 55 0%
Total population 239,980 100%
Note: Percentages may total more than 100% due to rounding and multiple responses

The 2001 census found that 4.3% of the population self-identified as having a visible minority status, including, among others, about 1.3% who self-identified as Black, about 1.0% self-identifying as Arab, 0.5% as Latin American, 0.4% as Chinese, 0.3% as Southeast Asian, 0.2% as South Asian, and about 0.1% as Filipino. (Statistics Canada terminology is used throughout.) First Nations comprise 2.7% of the population. The area is home to more than five thousand recent immigrants (i.e. those arriving between 2001 and 2006), who now comprise about two percent of the total population. 11% of these new immigrants have come from Colombia, 10% from China, 7% from France, 6% from Lebanon, 6% from Romania, 4% from Algeria, 3% from the United States and 3% from Congo.

Canadians were able to self-identify one or more ethnocultural ancestries in the 2001 census. (Percentages may therefore add up to more than 100%.) The most common response was Canadian/Canadien and since the term 'Canadian' is as much an expression of citizenship as of ethnicity these figures should not be considered an exact record of the relative prevalence of different ethnocultural ancestries. 43.1% of respondents gave a single response of Canadian / Canadien while a further 26.5% identified both Canadian/Canadien and one or more other ethnocultural ancestries. 10.4% of respondents gave a single response of French, 1.1% gave a single response of Portuguese, 1.0% gave a single response of Irish, 0.9% gave a single response of Lebanese, 0.8% gave a single response of English, 0.7% gave a single responses of Québécois and 0.7% gave a single response of North American Indian. According to Statistics Canada, counting both single and multiple responses, the most commonly identified ethnocultural ancestries were: 70.7% North American, 37.8% French, 14.3% British Isles, 4.5% Aboriginal, 4.0% Southern European, 3.8% Western European, 1.9% Arab, 1.7% Eastern European, 1.0% East and Southeast Asian, 0.8% African, 0.7% Latin, Central and South American, 0.7% Caribbean and 0.5% Northern European.


About 83% of the population identified as Roman Catholic in 2001 while 7% said they had no religion and 5% identified as Protestant (1.3% Anglican, 1.3% United, 0.7% Baptist, 0.3% Lutheran, 0.2% Pentecostal, 0.2% Presbyterian). About 1% of the population identified as Muslim, 0.5% as Jehovah's Witnesses, 0.3% as Buddhist, and 0.2% as Eastern Orthodox.


The larger communities within Gatineau are:


A number of federal and provincial government offices are located in Gatineau, due to its proximity to the national capital, and its status as the main town of the Outaouais region of Quebec.

A policy of the federal government to distribute federal jobs on both sides of the Ottawa River led to the construction of several massive office towers to house federal civil servants in downtown Gatineau; the largest of these are Place du Portage and Terrasses de la Chaudière, occupying part of the downtown core of the city. Some government agencies and ministries headquartered in Gatineau are the Public Works and Government Services Canada, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Environment Canada, Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The following federal government departments have their main offices in Gatineau:

The following agencies have their main offices in Gatineau.

  • Transportation Safety Board of Canada (under Transport Canada)
  • Passport Canada (under Citizenship and Immigration Canada)
  • Competition Bureau, the Canadian Patent Office and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (under Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada)

In addition to housing a significant portion of federal government offices, the city is also an important regional centre for the Outaouais region. The city serves as the location for the Superior Court of the District of Gatineau, which encompasses all neighboring municipalities. It also houses two of the region's major hospitals as well as numerous provincial colleges.

Gatineau's economy relies on a few important sectors. A majority of jobs are accounted for between the federal government, construction and service industries. There is however a large effort to modernize the economy in the region through recent initiatives in the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. The Innovation Gatineau Institute is a regional innovation centre that boasts co-working space as well as startup incubation and acceleration programs to spur innovative business creation.


  • Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League)
  • Gatineau Jr. Olympiques (also known as Gatineau Junior Express) are a Canadian Junior ice hockey team based in Gatineau, Quebec. They play in the National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) since 2006.
  • Gatineau Vikings, Canadian football team
  • Tyran de Gatineau, a junior elite baseball team of the Ligue de Baseball Junior Élite du Québec.
  • L'Intrépides de Gatineau, are a Midget AAA hockey team.
  • La Machine de l'Outaouais: a Kin-Ball team of the ligue Senior élite de Kin-Ball du Québec.
  • Évènements Nordiques Gatineau Nordic Events (ENGNE) representing the regions cross country ski community


The education system in Quebec is different from other systems in Canada. Between high school, which ends at grade 11, and university, students must go through an additional school called CEGEP, or Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel. CEGEPs offer both pre-university (2-years) and technical (3-years) programs.

The city of Gatineau, within its Hull neighborhood, houses the main campus of the Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), part of the Université du Québec network. The UQO counts over 5,500 students, mostly within its multiple social science programs. It is world-renowned for its cyber-psychology laboratory. Faced with a limited number of domains of study, many Quebec students attend other universities, either in Ottawa or Montreal. Every year, the UQO hosts the Bar of Quebec course for certification of new lawyers.

Gatineau is also the home of two CEGEPs, including the francophone Cégep de l'Outaouais and the anglophone Heritage College.

The main French-language school boards in Gatineau are the Commission scolaire des Portages-de-l'Outaouais, the Commission scolaire au Coeur-des-Vallées, and the Commission scolaire des Draveurs. There are also three private high schools: the all-girl Collège Saint-Joseph, the Collège Saint-Alexandre, and École secondaire Nouvelles-Frontières. Elementary and secondary education in English is held under the supervision of the Western Quebec School Board.

Since 1995, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has a campus in Gatineau.

Campus médical Outaouais

In 2019, McGill University announced the construction of a new campus for its Faculty of Medicine in the Outaouais region, which will run the undergraduate medical education program in French and allow students to complete their undergraduate medical training entirely in the Outaouais. Official communication with politicians has been ongoing since 2016. The new facility will be erected above the emergency room at the Gatineau Hospital, part of the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais, in addition to new offices for the associated Family Medicine Unit for residency training. Although the preparatory year for students entering the undergraduate medical education program from CEGEP was initially planned to be offered solely at the McGill downtown campus in Montreal, collaboration with the Université du Québec en Outaouais finally made it possible to offer the program entirely in Gatineau.

Notable people

  • Phillippe Aumont
  • Dave Leduc
  • Eva Avila
  • Daniel Brière
  • Daniel Lanois
  • Andrew Leamy (1816–1868), a pioneer industrialist and community leader in Lower Canada
  • Champlain Marcil (1920–2010), photojournalist
  • Stéphane Richer
  • Denis Savard
  • Maxim Tissot
  • Philemon Wright (1760–1839), founder of Hull

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Gatineau para niños

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