Heritage

Aylmer sector

The Outaouais' administrative centre from 1847 to 1897, and a major resort centre in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Aylmer sector, whose colonization started in the early 1800s, has the region's largest concentration of heritage buildings. Its grand old homes, places of worship and imposing public buildings make it a choice destination for anyone interested in heritage. Symmes Inn (1831), Christ Church (1843), the old courthouse (1852), Joseph McGoey house (1871) and Saint-Paul Church (1894), just to name a few, are all reflections of Aylmer's splendid history.

Symmes Inn

1, rue Front
(Classified as a historic monument by the government of Québec in 1975 and designated as a national historic site of Canada in 1976)

Classified as a historic monument by the government of Québec in 1975 and designated as a national historic site of Canada the following year, this splendid building was recognized by the Municipal Council as Gatineau's “heritage jewel” in 2002. Except for an important part of the exterior walls, it was completely rebuilt in the 1970s. Its original structure dates from 1831 and was constructed by Charles Symmes, founder of Aylmer and nephew of Philemon Wright, the first settler in Hull Township. The Symmes Inn was a stopover for travellers from Montréal taking the steamship up the Ottawa River to the northwest.

Old Courthouse

120, rue Principale
(Municipal Heritage Site)

This magnificent stone building was constructed in 1852 to serve as a courthouse and a jail for the Outaouais region. It later housed the Aylmer City Hall, a fire station and the municipal library, and is now home to the Centre culturel du Vieux-Aylmer.

British Hotel

71, rue Principale
(Municipal Heritage Site)

The British Hotel, built in the late 1830s by Aylmer lumber baron and major hotel owner Robert Conroy, has witnessed more than 160 years of history. Many politicians and thousands of visitors from both sides of the Ottawa River stayed there throughout the 19th century to enjoy its cuisine and entertainment. Aylmer's first municipal meeting was held in the building and, after the great fire of 1921, it opened its doors to a local church, school and the courthouse. For more than a hundred years, the hotel was at the heart of the city's community life.

Old Hull Township Methodist Church

495, chemin d'Aylmer
(Municipal citation)

This stone building constructed in 1827 is one of the oldest structures still standing west of Montréal to have served as a church. Converted into a private residence in 1860, the building was called the Old Church House and, much later, became known as the Farley House—named after the last family to live in it. In 1975, the City purchased the building, which was moved to its present location in 1989. The building has been used for various community purposes. Since 2000, it has housed the archives centre and offices of the Aylmer Heritage Association, making it a two-fold symbol for the region's heritage.

View of the historic chemin d'Aylmer

Characteristic view of architecture and landscape along chemin d'Aylmer (taken near Bellevue Cemetery, which dates from 1822). A zoning decision made in the 1990s has ensured that the heritage character of this historic route is preserved. Formerly known as Britannia Road, and later as Aylmer Road, chemin d'Aylmer, the oldest road in the region, has been a link between the Hull and Aylmer sectors for more than two centuries. It is a model of architectural integration and preservation of a natural landscape.

John Egan House and the Redemptorist Fathers Monastery

161, rue Principale
(Municipal Heritage Site)

Built in 1840, John Egan House was the home of Aylmer's first mayor and representative in the newly formed legislature of “United Canada”. In 1878, Canadian Illustrated News featured the home, known as Mount Pleasant in the 19th century, as a model of architecture and landscaping. The residence was successfully incorporated into a large stone Redemptorist monastery in 1938, designed by renowned Sherbrooke architect Joseph-Aimé Poulin. The Redemptorists sold the building in 1999, and it was later converted into a private home for seniors. Three new wings have been integrated into the original structure.

Saint-Paul Church

Chemin Eardley, corner of rue Parker

Saint-Paul Church was built in 1894. Two previous Saint-Paul churches were destroyed by fire. The present structure was damaged by fire in 1895, and major renovations were completed in 1905. With its magnificent steeple, arched roof and harmonious proportions, this important parish church is a major landmark, which can also be seen from the Ontario side of the Ottawa River.

Joseph McGoey House

416, chemin d'Aylmer
(Municipal citation)

Built in 1871, this red brick house is a fine example of Italianate architecture. During the 1990s, it was entirely restored, inside and out. This magnificent residence remains an important landmark on chemin d'Aylmer.

John Murphy House

12, rue Broad
(Municipal Heritage Site)

This splendid three-storey log house was built in 1847 and continues to be carefully maintained. The house dominates the site of old Market Square, which is now Aylmer Memorial Park.

Christ Church Anglican Church

101, rue Symmes
(Municipal Heritage Site)

This early pioneer place of worship was built in 1843 and is the only church in the Aylmer sector to have escaped destruction by fire. The charming stone building features interesting stained glass windows.

McConnell Farm

1055, chemin d'Aylmer

McConnell Farm is a prime example of the large farms that existed throughout the Aylmer region, and reminds us that Gatineau's territory is 40% farmland. Constructed in the 1850s, the farmhouse is now managed by the National Capital Commission of Canada and, until 2008 was home to the Tea ‘n' Tole craft shop and restaurant. The farm belonged to the McConnell family, whose members were among the pioneers who marked the history of Aylmer and the region.

Buckingham sector

Situated on either side of the Lièvre River, the Buckingham sector, which dates back to 1823, has an unusually rich collection of heritage architecture. Its main street, avenue de Buckingham, has retained the charm of an olden-day town, particularly thanks to the château de Buckingham (1887) and St. Andrew's United Church (1890). While the architecture of many of the buildings, including Kenny (1845) and Lauzon (1911) houses, serve as reminders of the sector's Anglo-Saxon origins, other buildings, such as Saint-Grégoire-de-Nazianze Church (1887), highlight the important contribution made by Francophones to its history.

Château de Buckingham

325, avenue de Buckingham

The only vestige of the castle era in Buckingham, this grand residence has long been a symbol of identity for area residents. Built around 1887, it was inhabited by William H. Kelly, Mayor of Buckingham in 1907 and 1908, and by John E. Gleason, a renowned professional photographer in his time. Today, its owner operates the Magnolia health spa.

Vieux-Marché Building

379, avenue de Buckingham

Located on an island in the centre of avenue de Buckingham, this old marketplace building is unique in Québec. For years it served as the socio-economic centre of the Lower Lièvre agri-food sector and was a choice venue for popular events (parades, carnivals and even political speeches by local MNA Roméo Lorrain). Built in 1903 and twice rebuilt, the Vieux-Marché building has had a variety of tenants including a butcher shop, a restaurant and a cobbler. It now houses the Buckingham museum and a tourist information centre managed by the Société d'histoire de Buckingham.

Water Works

At the junction of rue Fall and the recreational path

The “Water Works” used to house a pumping station and a small hydroelectric plant that provided water and electricity to Buckingham residents for over a hundred years.

McCallum & Lahaie Building

444, avenue de Buckingham

This attractive building originally had three floors until it was partially destroyed by fire in 1911. Désiré Lahaie and Alfred McCallum ran a general store there for many years. Today, the owners of the ground-floor Inter-Sport store live on the second floor.

St. Andrew's United Church

570, avenue de Buckingham

Characterized by its beautiful rosette (a round stained glass window that draws the attention of passers-by on avenue de Buckingham), St. Andrew's United Church was built in 1890. Until 1925, it was a Presbyterian church, after which it became a place of worship for local Methodists, Congregationalists and Presbyterians.

Kenny House

585, avenue de Buckingham

Located right downtown next to the Lièvre River, this superb residence features a charming pastel grey and blue roof and a large porch with ornamental columns. Built in 1845 by John D. Thompson, manager of the first sawmill in Buckingham, the house has for more than 70 years belonged to the Kenny family, direct descendants of James Maclaren, founder of the company that bore his name.

Landry House

140, rue Maclaren Est

This elegant Victorian style residence was built in 1914 by notary Joachim Talbot, who lived there for many years. During the 1960s, the house was rented to the Buckingham Knights of Columbus, who used it as their main office for 16 years. The building was recently transformed into a charming café.

Saint-Grégoire-de-Nazianze Church

150, rue Maclaren Est

This majestic Roman-Byzantine style church—the third for the Saint-Grégoire Parish—was built in 1887. With 24 stained glass windows and a stately silver steeple (built in 1921 after the first steeple was destroyed by fire), the church is indeed a remarkable monument.

Lauzon House

595, rue Georges

Built in an enchanting setting on a knoll, this imposing white residence was constructed in 1911 by Alexander Maclaren, co-owner of the James Maclaren Company, for his son Alexander Barnett. Around 1950, the house was sold to the James Maclaren Company for the use of its executives.

Schnubb House

9, chemin Donaldson

Built in 1898, this elegant picturesque residence with gingerbread detailing and a large porch along two sides of the house has retained its original features. It was inhabited for some 60 years by Ida MacLennan, wife of William, who was a foreman at the ERCO factory, and a city councillor from 1952 to 1958.

Higginson Residence

160, rue Joseph

Constructed in 1898 on a prime semi-wooded lot, this splendid gabled-roof house is one of the most interesting heritage buildings in Buckingham. This forest green and brown residence was home to the Higginson family for some 80 years. Of Irish descent, John Higginson was a prosperous grocer, and a city councillor in the 1860s and 1870s.

Gatineau sector

The Gatineau sector, which passed on its name to our amalgamated city, has a number of urban cores, the oldest of which dates back to 1830. These cores mark the existence of a multitude of communities, often symbolized by the presence of superb churches, such as Saint-François-de-Sales (1886–1903) and Sainte-Rose-de-Lima (1915). Its extensive territory abounds in proudly preserved architectural treasures, such as Collège Saint-Alexandre (1907–1926) and the Quartier du Moulin (1926)—also known as Gatineau Mills—which serve as reminders of the Gatineau sector's contribution to education and the forest industry.

Gatineau River

For centuries, the Gatineau River was a crucial waterway for Canada's native people. During the 17th and 18th centuries, it was one of the major fur trade routes in New France. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the river was extensively used to drive logs to area sawmills. The Gatineau, Ottawa and Lièvre rivers all helped shape Gatineau's identity.

Quartier du Moulin Heritage Site

(Municipal Heritage Site)

Designed in 1926 by Canadian International Paper (CIP), this neighbourhood's New England architectural style is unique in the Outaouais. It witnessed the beginning of the pulp and paper industry in the Gatineau sector, and became a Municipal Heritage Site in 1996. It is one of the few heritage sites whose trees are protected.

Saint-François-de-Sales Church and Presbytery

799, rue Jacques-Cartier
(Municipal Heritage Site)

This symbol of the Outaouais' 19th century religious heritage was designed by architect Canon Georges Bouillon. Part of a Municipal Heritage Site since 1996, the church received the Prix orange du patrimoine award from the Société d'histoire de l'Outaouais in 1998. Canon Georges Bouillon designed several other religious monuments in the area, including Ottawa's Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Collège Saint-Alexandre Heritage Site

2425, rue Saint-Louis
(Municipal Heritage Site)

Site of the former farm house belonging to Alonzo Wright, grandson of Philemon Wright and a prominent figure in the Outaouais, it is the only example of an estate dating back to the second half of the 19th century in the Gatineau sector. In 1905, the Spiritan Fathers acquired the property and founded in 1912 the Collège Saint-Alexandre, which remains an important example of local educational establishments in the early 20th century. The enchanting setting, including Marguerite Island in the Gatineau River, was designated as a Heritage Site in 1996 by Gatineau.

Jacques-Cartier Heritage Site

This is where the first houses were built on the banks of the Gatineau River, in the Pointe-Gatineau neighbourhood. These are typical examples of working class “matchstick” houses on narrow lots providing access to the river. Some, such as 735 and 855 rue Jacques-Cartier, are particularly attractive.

Gatineau Preservation Centre – Library and Archives Canada

625, boulevard du Carrefour

This magnificent glass and steel structure was inaugurated in June 1997 and is dedicated to preserving Canada's archival heritage for many years. This special building houses preservation laboratories and storage vaults to protect Canada's most precious historical documents.

St. Columban Church and Cemetery

Chemin Saint-Columban

This Georgian style church was built in 1899 and has been very well preserved. It is one of rural Gatineau's most remarkable heritage sites. The small adjacent cemetery is the final resting place of many early Catholic and Irish settlers.

Sainte-Rose-de-Lima Church and Cemetery

861, boulevard Saint-René Est

Built between 1913 and 1915, this lovely red brick church reflects the influence of the École des beaux-arts de Paris, but its ornamentation is partly neo-renaissance. The church's impressive spire rises proudly over the surrounding area. The cemetery contains gravestones dating to the 19th century, testimonials to the many pioneers, including not only French-Canadians, but also Irish, English and Welsh.

Old Saint-Jean-Marie-Vianney Presbytery

185, boulevard Maloney Ouest

Built in 1928, the old Saint-Jean-Marie-Vianney Parish presbytery remains a prime example of a religious heritage building inspired by the Paris École des beaux-arts style. Around 1948, it was sold to an undertaker for $30,000. That same year, the Parish inaugurated its new presbytery, while Saint-Jean-Marie-Vianney Church, a Modern style religious building, opened its doors to the public in 1950. Today, the old presbytery is still home to a funeral parlour.

Patrick House

Chemin des Terres, east of montée Saint-Amour

Patrick House is one of the most remarkable structures in rural Gatineau. Built in the late 19th century, this monumental Georgian style stone house features lateral chimneys and quarry stone walls, making it a unique part of this sector's architectural heritage.

Ottawa River Wetlands

An exceptional living environment, the wetlands of the Ottawa River shelter a remarkable variety of plant and animal species. The swamps and bogs offer a habitat of great quality for the reptiles and amphibians, and are also an important nesting place for numerous bird species, particularly the waterfowl. In order to protect and enhance the wetlands where endangered species live, for example the little bittern, the government of Québec plans to create a wildlife sanctuary from the McLaurin Bay to the limits of the parc national de Plaisance.

Hull sector

The cradle of this region's European settlement, the Hull sector started in 1800—26 years before Bytown (Ottawa) was founded. The historical importance of the Outaouais' economic core is reflected in the richness of its industrial heritage, portrayed by the E. B. Eddy buildings (1883–1940), the Théâtre de l'Île (1889), the Château d'eau (1902–1910) and La Fonderie (1942–1943). Several historic homes are also part of these treasures, including the Charron (1827), Wright-Scott (circa 1855) and Fairview (circa 1862) houses, which will capture the hearts of heritage lovers.

Chaudière Falls and E. B. Eddy buildings

(Recognized as historic monuments by the government of Québec in 2001)

Aboriginal people portaged the Ottawa River for thousands of years before Philemon Wright founded his settlement on this site in Hull Township at the beginning of the 19th century. It was here that legendary strongman Jos. Montferrand fought and routed 150 Shiners in 1829. The E. B. Eddy Company was established here, and its matches, sawmills and pulp and paper mills were a major factor in the Outaouais' economic development. The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has designated the Chaudière portage trail as a national historic site, and Philemon Wright and Ezra Butler Eddy as national historic persons. Some of the old E. B. Eddy buildings have been recognized as historic monuments by the government of Québec.

Ruisseau de la Brasserie Sector

(Municipal Heritage Site)

The ruisseau de la Brasserie sector, known as Brewery Creek during the early settlement, has been a key industrial site in the Outaouais. Together with the Chaudière Falls sector, it constituted the city's industrial core during the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. To this day, the shores of the creek, which defines the boundaries of île de Hull, are marked by several heritage industrial buildings: the Théâtre de l'Île (old pumping station), La Filature (Hanson Mills), the Château d'eau, and the Argentina Village heritage sector, the only 19th century architectural ensemble to have survived the Great Hull Fire of 1900.

Wright Scott House Historic Site

28, boulevard Alexandre-Taché
(Recognized as a historic site by the government of Québec in 1979 and Municipal Heritage Site)

This elegant stone house, surrounded by greenery, was built around 1855 on the original property of Philemon Wright. The Neo-Gothic style building was constructed for Philemon Ephraim Wright—grandson of the founder of Hull—whose sister, Nancy Louisa, is closely associated with the house's history. Married to John Scott, first Mayor of Ottawa, she raised her children in the house and lived there until her death in 1901. The house remained inhabited by her descendants and their heirs until 1963. The only historic site in the Outaouais to have been recognized by the government of Québec, the house and its exceptional grounds, located on the west shore of the ruisseau de la Brasserie, were so designated in 1979. This site now belongs to the National Capital Commission.

La Fonderie

211, rue Montcalm

Constructed in 1942 and 1943, this imposing Modern style building was home to the Hull Iron and Steel Foundries until 1946. Established in 1913, it was Canada's fourth largest steel foundry during World War One. Over the years, the building also housed an appliance factory as well as various public services before being abandoned for several years. In 2001, it became the property of Gatineau, which undertook major renovations. Today, the upper level of this magnificent industrial heritage building houses two soccer pitches and a multipurpose sport surface.

Fairview House

100, rue Gamelin
(Classified as a historic monument by the government of Québec in 1979)

Fairview House, erected around 1862, and its gardens are one of the Hull sector's architectural and natural treasures. It is one of the few 19th century buildings to have preserved its natural surroundings. This “Italian villa” architectural style, often found in Ontario, is fairly rare in Québec. It and the Symmes Inn are the only buildings in Gatineau to have been classified as historic monuments by the government of Québec.

Place Aubry

(Municipal Heritage Site)

There are several heritage buildings in this beautiful square, including the magnificent Queen-Anne style Aubry House, the former Chez Henri Hotel (the first building to be designated as a historic monument by the new Ville de Gatineau) and the Aux 4 Jeudis café (the old Laflèche grocery store). It is also one of the rare pedestrian squares in Gatineau. In 1991, the City created the Kent-Aubry-Wright Heritage Site.

Columbia Farm

376, boulevard Saint-Joseph
(Municipal citation)

Built around 1835, this impressive Georgian style house is one of only two structures in the Hull sector dating back to the period of founder Philemon Wright. In those days, it was one of nine farms forming his huge private property. Columbia Farm, notably used for agriculture and cattle breeding, was given to Thomas Brigham, Wright's son-in-law, when the founder died in 1839. This magnificent stone house was designated as a historic monument by the City in 1988.

Leamy Lake Park

Leamy Lake Park houses some important archaeological sites for Gatineau but particularly for Québec. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed traces of human presence dating back 4,000 years! In 1800, Philemon Wright built his first house on the banks of the Gatineau River. The park was also the site of the sawmill of industrialist Andrew Leamy, who was laid to rest nearby in the Notre-Dame de Hull historic cemetery. Leamy is commemorated through the name of the lake, formerly known as Columbia Pond. Leamy Lake Park is an exceptional natural and historic site.

Old National Printing Bureau

45, boulevard Sacré-Cœur

Built in 1954, this impressive building is among the last to be designed by Ernest Cormier, one of the greatest architects of the 20th century from Québec and Canada. With its international style, its state-of-the-art technique and modern expressiveness, the structure is vintage Cormier. This is one of the first federal buildings constructed in Hull. after the Animal Disease Research Institute (1918) on rue Gamelin and the Armoury (1937) on boulevard Alexandre-Taché.

Charron House

Jacques-Cartier Park, rue Laurier

Charron House is one of only two structures in the Hull sector that date back to the period of founder Philemon Wright. Built in two stages on the banks of the Ottawa River during the first half of the 19th century, it was inhabited by François Charron, who had to turn it over to Philemon Wright in 1829 because he was unable to pay the annual rent charged by the founder. In the 19th century, Philemon Wright and his descendants, who owned the house, rented the building to various people, including Jean-Baptiste Poupart and Michael McPike. From 1892 to 1941, it served as an office of the Ottawa Transportation Company. This splendid maison québécoise is now part of an enchanting riverside park. Since 2006, it has been home to the Association des auteurs et auteures de l'Outaouais.

St. James Cemetery

Boulevard Alexandre-Taché

Established in 1820, the oldest cemetery in the city is the resting place of many of its first residents, including the founder of Hull, Philemon Wright, his wife Abigail Wyman and their descendants. Many regional personalities, notably successful landowner Nicholas Sparks and John Scott, first Mayor of Ottawa, are buried here. St. James Cemetery contains impressive monuments and gravestones. It owes its name to the former Anglican Parish of St. James, whose fine stone church building, located on promenade du Portage, dates back to 1901. The Church was deconsacrated in 2007.

Masson-Angers sector

Between agriculture, industry and nature, the Masson-Angers sector is a good reflection of Gatineau as a whole: vast and diversified. Its geographic location, at the juncture of the Ottawa and Lièvre rivers, contributes to its extensive wetlands—including the Réserve naturelle du Marais-Trépanier—with their major environmental significance. Founded in 1861, the village of Angers holds one of the best kept secrets of Gatineau's heritage: the former presbytery of the L'Ange-Gardien Parish (1888), one of the loveliest religious architectural monuments in Gatineau.

Old Angers Presbytery, L'Ange-Gardien Parish

245, rue du Progrès

This beautiful grey stone building was designed by Kamouraska-born architect Cyrias Ouellet. Completed in 1888, the construction cost around $6,360. The lovely veranda and the mansard roof with gable dormers give the structure a particular charm. The building is currently a private residence.

L'Ange-Gardien Parish Church

255, rue du Progrès

The Church of L'Ange-Gardien Parish, which was founded in 1861, was designed by architect Cyrias Ouellet. Construction started in 1872 and was completed two years later. The new church was blessed on April 5, 1874 in the presence of the Parish council and parishioners. The interior ornamentation, with its rosette on the front, was completed in the following decade, but was completely redone in the 1950s and 1960s.

Lièvre River

Known to the Algonquins for thousands of years, the Lièvre River was used by North American native people, hunters, trappers and fishermen before becoming an integral part of the development of Buckingham and Masson. Its tremendous potential fuelled the emergence of these communities by driving the development of the forest industry, sawmills and hydro power stations.

Masson Railway Station

10, rue de la Gare
(Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act)

Built in 1877, the Masson (Buckingham Junction) railway station was a key factor in the demographic and economic development of the Lower Lièvre valley. It witnessed the arrival of Canadian Pacific trains in Québec and the construction of the first provincial rail line. The station was closed in 1983, after trains lost the race with trucks. The building was designated as a heritage railway station by the federal government in 1994.

Réserve naturelle du Marais-Trépanier

Recognized nature reserve

The Réserve naturelle du Marais-Trépanier, which covers 247 hectares, is a prime quality habitat for many animal species thanks to Ducks Unlimited Canada, which restored the wetlands, notably by creating swamps and ponds. The ecosystem is of tremendous interest to Québec, presenting an unexpectedly wide range of fauna and flora. It offers an excellent habitat for many waterfowl, amphibians and reptiles, among them sedge wrens, spiny softshell turtles and western chorus frogs, which are rare and endangered species. This wildlife paradise helps improve the quality of water since swamps filter the agricultural water run-off before flowing into the Ottawa River.

Aylmer sector: text written by Enid Page and Jayne Simms-Dalmotas of the Aylmer Heritage Association, Hull and Gatineau sectors: text written by Michel Prévost of the Société d'histoire de l'Outaouais, Masson-Angers sector: text written by Sonia Blouin, Ville de Gatineau, Buckingham sector: text written by Julien David of the Société d'histoire de Buckingham.

Photography: Ville de Gatineau, Photo, Gatineau Preservation Centre: Denis Gagnon, photograph – Library and Archives Canada, Photo, L'Ange-Gardien Parish Church: Studio Sokolowski, Photo, Réserve naturelle du Marais-Trépanier: Guy Germain.

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