Maison du citoyen's history overview

Maison du citoyen's history overview

On October 25, 2010, Maison du citoyen celebrated its 30th anniversary. Here is an overview of its history since 1970.


Right downtown

The fire of 1970

In the wee hours of the morning of October 29, 1970, firefighters attempted to extinguish the flames consuming Hull's third city hall. Several offices, including the Mayor's, were reduced to ashes.

The municipality had already been thinking about finding larger accommodations in the downtown area. This fire was instrumental in forcing the construction of the new Hull city hall, which was officially designated Maison du citoyen on March 1, 1977.

While the construction was underway

Temporary facilities were needed in the meantime. After the fire, part of the municipal administration was transferred to the Fontaine bleue motel, which was owned by the National Capital Commission. Staff were subsequently moved to the municipal works yards, which were inaugurated in 1975.

On September 25, 1978, the motel was demolished and construction began on the new city hall at 25 rue Laurier.


The worksite takes shape

The birth of Maison du citoyen

The entire block between Laurier, Hôtel-de-Ville, Notre-Dame-de-l'Île and Victoria was allocated for the new city hall. The idea was to make Maison du citoyen readily accessible, and this site was particularly well suited because of the nearby parks, bike paths, bridges, public transit and main arteries.

Maison du citoyen was designed as a multi-purpose site where the community would feel right at home and engage in a variety of activities. Finally, on October 25, 1980, Maison du citoyen was officially inaugurated.

Maison du citoyen opens its doors to the public

Nearly 9,500 people attended the official inauguration of Maison du citoyen. Approximately 6,500 people went to the exhibition and demonstrations that had been organized to explain municipal services. Approximately 5,850 visitors took the guided tour.

Five cities under one roof

In January 2002, Maison du citoyen became the official city hall for the new city of Gatineau, which was the amalgamation of the former cities of Aylmer, Hull, Gatineau, Buckingham and Masson-Angers, as well as the Communauté urbaine de l'Outaouais.

Highlights

Did you know that?

  • The construction of this building required less glass than a traditional square or rectangular building providing the same amount of office space.

  • The agora Gilles-Rocheleau was the site of an international competition of the Ligue nationale d'improvisation, for which curtains were hung on every window and a stage was set up with skating lines to create just the right ambiance for this event.

  • The City of Hull won the 1982 award from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators for the most innovative municipal project in Canada.

Statistics on Maison du citoyen

  • Cost of construction: $19,787,490
  • Total surface area of the building: 87,689 square metres
  • Total surface area of the land: 29,493 square metres
  • The project leaders: Gilles Rocheleau, Mayor; J.-Aimé Desjardins, Manager; Jean-Guy St-Arnaud, Assistant Manager; Gérald McMartin, Executive Director of the project
  • Number of employees in 1980: 150
  • Number of employees in 2010: 345

Maison du citoyen hosted

  • Pierre Elliott Trudeau during the Jeux du Québec in the summer of 1981
  • Marc Garneau, the first Canadian astronaut
  • His Royal Highness Andrew and the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson
  • Solange Chaput-Rolland, for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of women's right to vote
  • His Excellency Vicente Fox, President of Mexico
  • His Excellency George W. Bush, President of the United States of America
  • Le Rendez-vous des saveurs
  • La Nuit du ski
  • Hull en août
  • The Ordre de Gatineau
  • Les Jeux de la Francophonie
  • The United Way breakfast

An architectural gem

Maison du citoyen slopes gently down to the Ottawa River from the top of its seven storeys. The magnificent 20-metre high glass frontage lets the light through to the offices bordered by mezzanines. These offices, originally fully open, look down on the agora Gilles-Rocheleau, a unique gathering place for all sorts of activities.

Designed by architects Daniel Lazosky and Pierre Cayer, the building was designed to be friendly and accessible to residents. The City of Hull had aimed to “de-rectangularize” the traditional city hall format to lend it more transparency.

The materials selected for its construction included bricks, granite and steel. These noble materials were chosen for their long-term durability.

Versatility incarnated

In addition to the Mayor's office and the administrative offices, Maison du citoyen houses:

30 years already…

Even today, Maison du citoyen can accommodate thousands of people every year and numerous events every week. Maison du citoyen plays a key political and social role in the very heart of downtown Gatineau, and is instrumental in the development of the fourth largest city in Quebec.

Maison du citoyen in images

Contact us

Maison du citoyen
25 rue Laurier
Gatineau (Québec)

Phone numbers:
Toll free: 1-866-299-2002
Information desk: 819-243-2345, ext. 7195
Meeting room bookings: 819-595-7761

 

Sources:
DALPÉ, Eugène. Il était une fois Hull/Hull, A Trip in Time, s. l., Éditions de l'Œil rouge, 2007, 222 p.
PROULX-MORRISSETTE, Rita, Madeleine VÉZINA-MORRISSETTE et Alice PROULX, sous la dir. de Lucien BRAULT. Du premier hôtel de ville à la Maison du citoyen, Hull, Éditions Asticou, 1981, 86 p.
SAGUÈS, Catherine, et Nathalie DE GRANDMONT. Le Québec par l'autre bout de la lorgnette : guide des lieux à découvrir, Sainte-Foy, Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 1997, 313 p.

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