Quartier-du-Musée remains one of the best-preserved neighbourhoods in Gatineau, and the oldest one on Île de Hull, with 55 hundred-year old structures, 10 of which are buildings that date back to before 1888. It also features the greatest diversity of architectural styles in the Hull sector. This cradle of Hull's Francophone community, including its upper classes, Catholic institutions, merchants, entrepreneurs and professionals is now home to lawyers, notaries, engineers, accountants, architects and doctors. An interesting side note is that several buildings in the neighbourhood are owned by women.
The area's origins date back to 1806, when Philemon Wright (1760-1839), the founder of the township of Hull, acquired the land. When he died, the lots went to his heirs, who sold them in the second half of the 19th century. The houses that had been built were nearly all destroyed in the 1888 fire that started in the public market. Fortunately, reconstruction was swift. Twelve years later, the “Great Fire of 1900” as it is called by historians, stopped just short of the new neighbourhood.
At the turn of the 20th century, Hull's Francophone elite built some lovely homes in the area, but construction was interrupted during the 1929 to 1939 economic crisis. In the 1970s, the neighbourhood suffered some heavy losses as a result of devastating fires and expropriations in preparation for the construction of government buildings.
In 1989, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, currently known as the Canadian Museum of History, opened its doors. This grand museum lent its name to the neighbourhood, previously known as Laurier. In the early 2000s, the area became famous for its fine restaurants and residential renovations, which helped preserve its heritage value. In 2018, Gatineau created the Quartier-du-Musée heritage site to protect it and enhance its value for future generations.
The Quartier du Musée holds tremendous relevance for Gatineau's built heritage and history based on what historian Michelle Guitard has identified as its age, authenticity and documentary and identity significance. Come and explore this magnificent corner of the world, whose residents feel privileged and delighted to be able to enjoy such a welcoming environment.
Our thanks to historian Michelle Guitard for her research on Quartier-du-Musée. See Le Quartier du Musée : Histoire et architecture, Ottawa, University of Ottawa Press, 2018, 387 p.
Coordination: Sonia Bisson, Ville de Gatineau
Writing: Michel Prévost, President, Société d'histoire de l'Outaouais
Collaboration: Association Protégeons le Quartier-du-Musée
Revision: Line Majeau, Ville de Gatineau
Graphic design: Steve Young
Translation: Katalin Poor, Traduction al Punto
Photos: Sébastien Lavallée, Ville de Gatineau
Maison Basile-Carrière archival photos: Centre régional d'archives de l'Outaouais, fonds Denyse Huard Millar (P51, P1)
Recognized for its quality of life, Gatineau is a city of 290,000 inhabitants. It is located on the north shore of the Ottawa River, and extends east and west of the Gatineau River.