Gatineau and Ottawa - Two Sides of the Same City?

Gatineau and Ottawa sit on the northern and southern banks of the Ottawa River respectively and make the capital of Canada. But how similar...

Gatineau and Ottawa sit on the northern and southern banks of the Ottawa River respectively and make the capital of Canada. But how similar or distinct are they? Well, very much distinct, like the provinces they are in - Quebec and Ontario. Gatineau is much smaller city and often overlooked under the shade of its 'big brother' Ottawa. This spring alone, Gatineau made the national headlines due to the widespread flood, but usually visitors rarely go beyond the Canadian Museum of History and Jacques Cartier Park. The latter offers the best view of Parliament Hill across the river as well as hosts one of the most famous winter festivals in Canada - Winterlude. But there are other places in Gatineau, lesser known yet still worth visiting. Let's see them together.

Canada is celebrating 150-year anniversary this year, so Canada's capital has been generous on various activities and attractions so far. Among the 'biggies', Gatineau got to host the MosaiCanada 150, a stunning horticultural exhibit that I will cover in one of my next articles. Besides this, Gatineau created the Culture Trail that runs across Old Hull (the oldest part of the city) to acquaint visitors with its culturally significant sites and places.
You can't get lost as the trail is well-marked with a red line (inspired by the Freedom Trail in Boston).
A self-guided and 3-km / 1.9 mile trail starts at Jacques Cartier Park and brings you to nine different sites. We started at the end of the trail, and frankly, that's what I would recommend you do. Not only could you find a plenty of hassle-free parking (which is mostly free on weekends in Gatineau), but also you would start with more down-to-the-Earth sites and work your way all the way up to Jacques Cartier Park that simply can't be beat this year.
Unless you know what exactly you're looking for, you would likely miss at least 6 out of 9 sites on the Culture Trail. And that's the catch of such an adventure: you get brought to some of the best kept secrets that you would never find yourself.
Take the Brasseurs du Temps, one of the oldest breweries in Gatineau.
Oh boy, how good their beer tasted and how hard it was to get up and leave after having a lunch there with their amazing poutine and a sampler of 12 tastes of beer plus 4 more. The best craft brewery I've been to in Canada!
Brasseurs du Temps has its own museum with a live production and some interesting and often amusing stories and artifacts like old beer bottles and cans. They even claim that Gatineau was one of the main brewing hubs in North America.
Brewery Creek.
Young geese are not afraid of people.
Downtown Gatineau is small and not very livable, especially on weekends. Why? Because the vast majority of buildings are glum government offices. 
Yet there is a small oasis called Place Aubry amid strict government buildings, a glimpse of cozy old times. 
Being a pedestrian-only street, Place Aubry is packed with bars and restaurants. 
Getting closer to Jacques Cartier Park.
Now you can finally rest and take your time to enjoy the prime view of Parliament Hill and Alexandra Bridge from Jacques Cartier Park.

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