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  • City Guide - Gatineau

Gatineau is a city in western Quebec, Canada with a population of 314,501, and is the fourth largest city in the province. It is located on the northern banks of the Ottawa River, immediately across from Ottawa, Ontario, and together they form Canada's National Capital Region.

Gatineau is centred on an area called Hull, and is the oldest non-native settlement in the National Capital Region, and was founded on shore of the Ottawa River in 1800 by Philemon Wright. Although Hull was the oldest and most central of the merged cities, the name was changed to Gatineau. The main reasons given were that Gatineau had more inhabitants, it was the name of the former county, the valley, the hills, the park, and the main river within the city limits.

In 2008, Gatineau's labour force came to 176,100, with a participation rate of 73.3% and an unemployment rate of 4.3%, one of the lowest in Quebec, and Canada. Gatineau is home to a highly educated population, with 28.3% of those over 20 years of age having studied at college or university. Gatineau has 7,000 businesses within its territory, 1,800 and has the highest concentration of high tech businesses in Canada.

There are two important tourist attractions located in Gatineau, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Casino du Lac-Leamy. The Casino hosts an international fireworks competition every August - which opposes four different countries. The winner of this competition is awarded a Prix Zeus prize for the best overall show and can return in the following year. On Labour Day weekend – in the beginning of September - Gatineau hosts an annual hot air balloon festival which fills the skies with colourful gas-fired passenger balloons.

Besides the main events there is still plenty of things to entertain the entire family in Gatineau. Museums, art galleries, sporting events, live music, live theatre and several other activities. Canadian travellers have ranked the Ottawa-Gatineau area as the fourth most popular urban destination.

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