"Well Signposted For A Place That No Longer Exists!" Top 5 Page for this destination Hull by johngayton

Hull Travel Guide: 87 reviews and 200 photos

A Tale of Two Cities

The City of Hull, in the province of Quebec, looks across the Ottawa River at the Canadian National Capital Region's Ontario half - the city of Ottawa. The two are separated by a couple of hundred meters of water with the provincial boundary following the river's centre-line across which they are joined by a total of 7 bridges. Not only are the two separated by their shared river but are also separated by history, culture and even language with the predominantly French Hull pre-dating its more famous neighbour by several decades.

The Portage

This section of the Ottawa river had long been a place of "portage" where the watercourse became impassable due to the Chaudiere Falls and so the canoes of the "voyageurs", with their cargoes of furs and tools, had to be physically hauled overland around the rapids before continuing their upstream journey.

Despite the area's recorded history going back many years (The Gatineau River and The Chaudiere Falls being mentioned, tho' not named, by Samuel de Champlain as early as 1613) the settlement of Hull was only established around 1800 AD by Philemon Wright who developed the town (originally Wrightsville) around the lumber trade which once again needed to be transported overland around the rapids. As the town prospered, mills, factories and hydro-electric plants were built along the rivers and The Chaudiere Falls tamed by damming. In 1875 the town was renamed Hull, when it was granted city status, only for it to burn down almost in its entirety a mere 25 years later! Rising from its ashes Hull quickly re-established itself primarily as an industrial area and then later as part of the The National Capital Region.

Even tho' Ottawa was officially designated the Capital City of Canada in 1857, some crafty diplomatic politics have ensured that Gatineau (as Hull is now part of) shares many of the capital's functions with the establishment of the huge Portage complex of government buildings, which provides employment for well over 20,000 civil servants, plus of course the support staff and local amenities required to service such a Leviathan.

Thus, having started life as a lowly place of portage it is now La Place du Portage which defines the modern city!!

The Old Town and Gatineau

The present-day Hull is no longer administratively its own city, having been amalgamated in 2002 into the greater conurbation of Gatineau, but it does still retain very much a feel of individuality. Even in what remains of La Vieux Ville du Hull, dwarfed by the concrete blocks of the government edifices, there are all sorts of small businesses (OK mostly restaurants and bars!!) tucked away in corners and side-streets, providing interesting little oases, comfortable with their status as part of Gatineau, but certainly not part of Ottawa!!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Une Destination Etranger!
  • Cons:Une Destination Etranger!
  • In a nutshell:Ottawa est OK, mais Hull c'est Hull!!
  • Last visit to Hull: Jan 2008
  • Intro Updated Feb 4, 2008
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Reviews (21)

Comments (8)

  • Britannia2's Profile Photo
    Aug 17, 2009 at 3:28 PM

    Interesting. Does not look as nice as the real Hull in England.

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Mar 21, 2009 at 4:55 PM

    interesting - certainly very different to the original hull in england

  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2009 at 6:56 PM

    Just looking at your pictures make me cold...and remid me why we leave Canada after Christmas until Spring . ha!!

  • DAO's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2008 at 4:35 PM

    You travlled half way round the world to go to Hull? What narcotics induced this? Are you in jail? Brothel? And where?

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Apr 14, 2008 at 4:27 AM

    what a fascinating page (btw we are neighbours this week in the rankings chart)

  • janetanne's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2008 at 11:35 PM

    You really do amaze me John! I too agree, you should consider writing a 'real' book. Splendid new pages. The cold must inspire you:):) How did you get there? (Why?)

  • etfromnc's Profile Photo
    Feb 21, 2008 at 2:46 PM

    You nickname yourself a chef but it seems as if you must be an author.

  • Feb 15, 2008 at 6:00 PM

    I'm still in awe with your Hull page, John... And the travelogue is my personal very number one - several brilliant points in it (AND photos!)!! ;-)) Hugs, Marina


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