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'Gatineau' wins as name of new city
Choice favoured by majority of West Quebec residents
Dave Rogers, with files from Joanne Laucius
The Ottawa Citizen
West Quebec residents skipped the picturesque selections and went for the familiar when
choosing a name for their new municipality.
"Gatineau" will be the name of the urban municipality, the Outaouais
transition committee has decided.
The committee's choice bumped aside Trois Portages (a reference to the three major
canoe portages between the Chaudiere Falls and the Deschenes Rapids), Asticou (Algonquin
for "place where the water foams"), Montferrand (after legendary lumberjack Jos
Montferrand) and Rivemont (French for riverbanks and hills).
Instead, the name that evoked the park and the river was the favourite of the majority
of people surveyed by the Hull polling company Reseau Circum.
The decision means that only about half of the residents in the new municipality will
have to change their addresses -- Gatineau is already the most populous city in the
The name reflects the geography and francophone character of the region, committee
chairman Gilbert Lacasse said yesterday.
Mr. Lacasse said Quebec Municipal Affairs Minister Louise Harel gave him authority to
release the name yesterday and final approval by the provincial government is probably
only a formality.
Christine Mitton, a spokeswoman for Ms. Harel, said cabinet will probably consider the
name next week. Cabinet will also consider the names Hull and Trois Portages.
Mr. Lacasse said the transition committee wanted one new and two traditional French
names. Trois Portages was the only new name acceptable to Quebec's toponomy commission.
Mr. Lacasse said Gatineau has the potential to unify urban residents in West Quebec. A
telephone survey of 850 Outaouais residents showed 55 per cent would be proud to live in
Gatineau and 51 per cent would be proud to live in Hull.
Trois Portages had the support of 35 per cent of those surveyed. The survey has a
margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, said Reseau Circum president
"The new city is the gateway to the celebrated Gatineau Park and the Gatineau
Valley," he said. "Its Hot Air Balloon Festival spans continents and confers to
the name an enviable reputation abroad. Gatineau represents the growth and dynamism that
characterize this new city."
Gatineau Mayor Robert Labine said Gatineau is the logical choice because the name is
widely recognized and only half the people of the region would have to change their
"If we use the name of Gatineau, 50 per cent of the population will have to change
their home addresses for their credit cards and driver's licences," Mr. Labine said.
"If we choose Hull, 75 per cent will be obliged to change."
Hull Mayor Yves Ducharme, said he isn't disappointed the committee chose Gatineau.
"It is up to the citizens of the new city back the new name and it is up to the
provincial government to help us market the name," Mr. Ducharme said. "If the
Quebec government decides that Gatineau is the name, I will back it and be an ambassador
for the city."
The Hull Casino and Hull Olympiques hockey team will have to decide for themselves
whether to keep the name Hull, he said.
"They could keep it because people will still say they live in Hull, Aylmer or
some other sector of the new municipality."
Buckingham Mayor Jocelyne Houle said residents of the municipality prefer the name
Outaouais, but added she would accept Gatineau or Hull.
"You can tell it is a new city if you have a new name, but why erase the
past?" Ms. Houle asked. "We have history with the names of Hull or
The new city of 225,000 in Aylmer, Hull, Gatineau, Buckingham and Masson-Angers comes
into being on Jan. 1, 2002.