Domestic, religious, commercial and industrial architecture of the city of Hull (Gatineau)

Remember When? My encounter with the architecture of old HullA photographic essay by Harry Foster

Text by Michelle Guitard and Harry Foster; Web design and development: Harry Foster
Bibliography Navigation map Photo index Acknowledgements

The Wright Residence and Garden, 2005
photo © Harry Foster


The settlement founded in western Quebec by Philemon Wright in 1800 preceded its counterpart, Bytown, on the other side of the Ottawa River, although it was the latter that would be chosen as Canada's capital. The Wrights built mills, dams, hotels and other amenities. E.B. Eddy continued the development in the second half of the century with his factories, again relying on the region's timber resources. In 1875 Wrightstown became a city under the name Hull (recently renamed Gatineau). The years that followed saw a piped water-supply, street lighting, hydro-electric power and public transportation introduced.

Several devastating fires between 1875 and 1971, along with modern redevelopment, have wiped away much of Hull's architectural heritage. Some remaining historic buildings are documented in the photographs of Harry Foster, complemented by historical research by Michelle Guitard. The stories of residential, commercial, industrial, religious and municipal buildings are told in this virtual exhibition.

Harry Foster; photo: Harry Foster


As Manager of the Photographic Services section of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, in 1989 I started working in its new facility on Laurier Street in the city of Gatineau (Quebec), as it is now known. While coming to and from work, and during the noon hour, I began walking all around that part of the city of Gatineau which, before 2002, was known as Hull. I have come to love the eclectic mix of old and new, and the many different styles of architecture our city has.

This virtual exhibition is designed to show through photographs a portion of what we had ? and still have in some cases. As well, it offers some idea of where we may be headed in the future.

The images mainly show older buildings of note, and scenes that illustrate the changes that have taken place over the years. I have always been fascinated by how much cities can change over a few short years and wish I had taken more photographs to illustrate those changes. Through this project I have been able to capture at least a piece of old Hull, with a view to sharing it with visitors who might be interested in taking a stroll through this historic part of the National Capital region.

A navigation map indicates where photos have been taken; the direction of the arrows on the map indicates the direction in which the photo was taken. An index of thumbnail images leads to the same information.

Harry Foster