On October 25, 2010, Maison du citoyen celebrated its 30th anniversary. Here is an overview of its history since 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
In addition to the Mayor's office and the administrative offices, Maison du citoyen houses:
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
25 rue Laurier
Toll free: 1-866-299-2002
Information desk: 819-243-2345, ext. 7195
Meeting room bookings: 819-595-7761
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.
Gatineau is the fourth largest city in the province of Quebec with close to 285,000 inhabitants.