Gatineau is a city within the Canadian province of Quebec. The city of Gatineau is in Hull, an area within Western Quebec on the north coast of the Ottawa River. It is directly across from Ottawa, Ontario, the nation's capital and is part of the oldest European settlement in the National Capital Region. The population of Gatineau is 265,349, and the metropolitan population of Ottawa and Gatineau is 1,236,324.
Gatineau was founded during 1800 by Philemon Wright who led several families, including his own, and some labourers to a location at the portage around the Chaudiere Falls. The group intended to create an agricultural community in the wilderness, but discovered a more lucrative trade in wood. First referred to as Wrightstown, it was renamed Hull. More recently, after amalgamation during 2002, it became the City of Gatineau, the largest township in the Outaouais region.
The city of Gatineau is so close to the nation's capital that various provincial and federal offices are situated there. The federal government has a plan encouraging federal civil servant jobs on both sides of the Ottawa River. Some big towers house federal government offices in downtown Gatineau, like Terrasses de la Chaudière and Place du Portage. The head offices of the Public Works and Government Services Canada, Canadian International Development Agency and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada are located within Gatineau.
The Canadian Museum of Civilization in the city of Gatineau attracts thousands of visitors as does the Casino du Lac-Leamy, which hosts a yearly international fireworks competition. The city hosts a colourful show every Labour Day weekend when numerous hot air balloons take to the skies.