Ville de Gatineau
Aboriginal Presence Highlighted on Rue Jacques-Cartier Thanks to Place Abinan and its Artwork
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Ville de Gatineau
News release
Aboriginal Presence Highlighted on Rue Jacques-Cartier Thanks to Place Abinan and its Artwork

Gatineau, June 21, 2016. – Ville de Gatineau today inaugurated Place Abinan on the occasion of National Aboriginal Day. This new public place was designed as part of the rue Jacques-Cartier shoreline redevelopment project.

The artwork by Anishinabe artist Simon Brascoupé entitled Birch Bark Basket is prominently displayed. This is the first Aboriginal artwork in the municipal public art collection.

Quick facts

About Place Abinan

Place Abinan is located at the intersection of Saint-Antoine and Jacques-Cartier. Archaeological excavations conducted at this site between 2013 and 2015 uncovered more than 125,000 artefacts dating back approximately 3,600 to 7,000.
The name Abinan means “People were here” in Anishinabe (an Algonquin language).
The site was developed and the name was chosen in collaboration with the Kitigan Zibi Algonquin community.
Place Abinan – calls attention to the Aboriginal presence through:
– interpretation panels, made possible by a financial contribution under the cultural development agreement between Ville de Gatineau and Quebec's ministère de la Culture et des Communications.
– two symbolic fire pits; and
– an Aboriginal artwork, the Birch Bark Basket.

About the work and the artist

Birch Bark Basket is a sculpture representing a traditional gathering basket.
It was selected through a contest integrating art with architecture and the urban environment.
The contest was limited to professional Anishinabe artists from or recognized by an Algonquin community.
The gathering basket represents the connection to the territory of the Algonquin communities. It calls attention to their tradition as hunter-gatherers.
The steel structure is painted to imitate birch bark, a key material used in baskets.
The decorations, depicting traditional tales, are in red as reminders of the pigments used long ago.
The work will serve as a symbol of the Anishinabe presence, both meaningful to the community and understandable to the public at large.
Simon Brascoupé is a professional Anishinabe artist known across Canada.
He is a member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nations community, located in Maniwaki.

About the rue Jacques-Cartier shoreline redevelopment project

This project aims to restore public access to the shoreline and to provide a pathway along the Gatineau and Ottawa rivers.
The work, estimated at $43 million, is financed by Ville de Gatineau and the NCC. The latter's share amounts to $16 million.


Kitigan Zibi Chief Jean-Guy Whiteduck pointed out: “The Kitigan Zibi community is pleased to have been involved in designing Place Abinan. This site is deeply meaningful to the Algonquin Nation, and we hope it will draw attention to the history of our ancestors and of this territory, and make people more aware of it.”

“I am proud today to be taking part in the inauguration of Place Abinan in the company of representatives of the Kitigan Zibi community. I consider the joint process that led to the design of Place Abinan a wonderful step in the reconciliation of our two communities. This site not only has tremendous historic significance, but now symbolizes the friendship uniting Ville de Gatineau and the greater Algonquin Nation,” added happily Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada and the Minister of Heritage, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, I am delighted to join in the inauguration of Place Abinan on the occasion of National Aboriginal Day. This project, led jointly by Ville de Gatineau and the Kitigan Zibi Algonquin community, is a fine example of the necessary rapprochement that we must continue to encourage across Canada. I am proud that such a project is happening in my constituency!” emphasized the federal MP for Gatineau, Steven MacKinnon.

“The NCC is proud to have lent its archaeological expertise to the creation of Place Abinan, a unique and promising collaboration between the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg community and Ville de Gatineau. For residents of the Capital and visitors alike, Place Abinan will draw attention to the long history of Canada's indigenous peoples in the National Capital Region,” added NCC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Mark Kristmanson.

On this National Aboriginal Day, the inauguration of Place Abinan serves as a fine example of collaboration between cities and Aboriginal communities in the Outaouais and throughout Quebec. The Government of Quebec is proud to be part of this project carried out jointly by Ville de Gatineau and the Kitigan Zibi Algonquin community,” indicated the member for Gatineau, the Minister responsible for the Outaouais region, Stéphanie Vallée, and the member for Chapleau, Marc Carrière.

“Art has the power to connect the people of Gatineau and the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg community to the history and culture of the land,” said Simon Brascoupé. “This sculpture challenges us to think about the spiritual connection to the land and water from the beginning of time.”


From left to right:
- Denis Tassé, municipal councillor
- Myriam Nadeau, municipal councillor
- Marc Carrière, member for Chapleau
- Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, Gatineau Mayor
- Jean-Guy Whiteduck, Kitigan Zibi Chief
- Simon Brascoupé, artist
- Steven MacKinnon, federal MP for Gatineau
- Mark Kristmanson, NCC Chief Executive Officer Dr.

Place Abinan's interpretation panels

Birch Bark Basket sculpture

Associated document

News release announcing the work (French)

Associated link

Rue Jacques-Cartier redevelopment project (French)

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Published by
Service des communications
Ville de Gatineau
Jean Boileau, ARP, FSCRP
Service des communications
Ville de Gatineau

À propos de Gatineau

Reconnue pour sa qualité de vie, Gatineau est une ville de 285 000 habitants. Elle est située sur la rive nord de la rivière des Outaouais, et s'étend à l'est et à l'ouest de la rivière Gatineau.

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