Hull is the central and
oldest part of the city of Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.
located on the west bank of the Gatineau River and the north shore of the Ottawa River, directly opposite Ottawa.
As part of
the Canadian National Capital Region, it contains offices for twenty thousand
fonctionnaires or civil servants.
Hull is in
region and is located within the City of Gatineau; the name
"Gatineau" itself sometimes is more specifically used to refer to a
mostly-suburban former city of Gatineau on the east side of the
Hull, Quebec, as seen from Ottawa.
Hull is located near the confluence of the Gatineau and Ottawa
Navigation beyond Ottawa-Hull on the Ottawa River still remains
difficult as watercraft must be removed from the Ottawa River due
to obstacles posed by rapids such as the Rapides des
or "Kettle Rapids".
Prior to amalgamation, Hull's population was 66,246 (2001 Census of
Approximately 80% of the hullois
residents speak French as their first language and about 9% English
as their first language (2001 Census of Canada).
Hull is a former municipality in the Province of Quebec and the
location of the oldest non-native settlement in the National Capital Region
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 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.
Originally the place was named "Wrightville" (or sometimes
"Wrightsville" or "Wrightstown") 
, which survives as the name of a
neighborhood in Hull. While Wright arrived by way of Woburn,
Massachusetts, the settlement was renamed after the name of his
family's original home town Kingston-upon-Hull in the United Kingdom.
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 southerly into the Ottawa River which flows
easterly 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
until it was replaced by a dollar coin (the "loonie
") in 1987; the very last of the dwindling
activity of the draveurs on these rivers ended a few years
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
Originally named Bytown
Ottawa did not become the Canadian capital until the mid-1800s
after the original parliament in Montreal was torched by a rioting
mob of English-speaking citizens on April 25, 1849. Its greater
distance from the American border also left the new parliament less
vulnerable to foreign attack.
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.
1940s, during World War II, Hull, along
with various other regions within Canada, such as the Saguenay, Lac St. Jean and Saint Helen's Island, had Prisoner-of-war camps.
prison was simply labeled with a number and remained unnamed just
like Canada's other war prisons. The prisoners of war
) were sorted and classified into
categories by nationality and civilian
military status. In this camp, POWs where mostly of Italian and
German nationality. During the Conscription Crisis of 1944
prison eventually included Canadians that refused conscription
. Also, prisoners were
forced into hard labour which included farming and lumbering the
During the 1970s and early 80s, the decaying old downtown core of
Hull was transformed by its 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.
the Parti Québécois,
leading the provincial government, merged the cities of Hull,
Gatineau, Aylmer, Buckingham and Masson-Angers into one city.
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. Some argued that the French name of Gatineau
was more appealing than a name from England to most French-speaking
residents, despite the fact that the majority of residents of Hull
proper were both French-speaking and against the new name which
would nonetheless ultimately be imposed by the provincial
government. Hull-Gatineau had been the most popular choice in the
polls, but the transition committee excluded all hyphenated
possibilities from being included on the ballot. Since the former
city of Hull represents a large area distinct from what was
formerly known as Gatineau, to be officially correct and specific
many people say "vieux secteur Hull
" (the former Hull part
of town) when speaking of it. It is of note that the name "Hull"
was often informally used to refer to the whole urban area on the
northern shore of the river facing Ottawa, so much so that the
National Capital Region was often referred to as "Ottawa-Hull",
especially in Quebec outside the immediate area.
In 2004, there was a referendum to decide whether Hull would remain
in Gatineau. The majority of those who voted in Hull voted against
the deamalgamation, and the status quo prevailed.
Hull now depends primarily on the civil service as an economic
mainstay. A number of federal and provincial government departments
are located here. The 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 1970s and 80s; the largest of these are Place du
Portage and Terrasses de la Chaudière, occupying part of what had been the downtown core
Two paper mills
and the E.B. Eddy
division of Domtar Inc.
) still retain
some industrial facilities on the Ottawa River in the centre of
also the home to the Casino du Lac
Leamy and to the Canadian Museum of
Civilization directly opposite Parliament Hill.
Hull is also Outaouais's cultural
- John H. Taylor, Ottawa: An Illustrated History, James
Lorimer & Company, Publishers, Toronto, 1986, p.11
- Tremblay, Robert, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, et all.
"Histoires oubliées – Interprogrammes : Des prisonniers spéciaux"
Interlude. Aired: 20 July 2008, 14h47 to 15h00.
- Note: See also List of POW camps in
- Harold Kalman and John Roaf, Exploring Ottawa: an
architectural guide to the nation's capital. Toronto:
University of Toronto Press, 1983. pg. 88