The Culture Trail: A public art trail to discover
Whether you’re a tourist or a resident, the downtown area has some surprises in store for you this summer! Follow the dots on the ground and discover the Culture Trail, a fun route where amazement awaits on every street corner.
What’s the Culture Trail?
It’s an urban art trail in downtown Gatineau lined with nearly 40 installations of all kinds: playful art, murals, sculpture, poetry, painting, photography, etc. This year, some 25 new works have been added to the artistic offering. The Trail showcases Quebec and Canadian artists, and includes a few works by international artists!
A platform for public art and artists, the Culture Trail is already in its seventh year, and it gets better every year. Not only is it a free activity, but the diversity of works appeals to just about everyone!
A pathway to be discovered in more than one way
On foot, by bike or even on a scooter, choose the mode of transportation that suits you best. You can start at any point along the trail, but to make sure you don’t miss anything, we recommend starting at the Maison du tourisme, where the first work is waiting for you. What’s nice about it is that you can explore the Culture Trail at your own pace and according to your own interests. Whether you want to combine the walk with a stop for a meal or just take the time to admire each work, the itinerary is up to you.
Kalos, Skopein, La beauté dans le changement, Eric Tardif
Seeing Old Hull Differently
The sun is shining as I walk along the path that runs alongside Brewery Creek. I have a map in my hand, which I picked up at one of the red terminals. The map is also available online. I follow the red dots on the ground and the signs along the way pointing me to my next destination. Throughout the day, wide-eyed and curious, I set off to discover each installation. You’ll find descriptions of the works near each installation and on the Culture Trail web page.
I start my tour at the Maison du tourisme tourist office, where Eric Tardif’s Kalos, Skopein, La beauté dans le changement, a magnificent kaleidoscope that entertains young and old alike, is located. A few steps away is Dernier arrêt Vieux-Hull, not far from the Canadian Museum of History with its impressive architecture and beautiful river views. Further on, as I walk along Hôtel-de-Ville Street, I notice that the cracks in the sidewalk are decorated with mosaics – how creative! It’s the work of the La fée des trottoires, from the artist Gogofrisette. Just a few steps away, I come across One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, a work by Bordalo II made entirely of recycled materials, as imposing as its message is powerful. This colourful installation is one of my favourite works.
Next, I stroll along Laval Street, where I stop to admire C’est la vie, a series of vibrant murals in bright colours illustrating the characteristic elements of Old Hull over the years. Place Laval has been completely transformed into a lively, colourful gathering place. In fact, all summer long, this place offers a highly diversified musical program, as well as free activities (yoga, zumba, game night, etc.). As I cross Place Aubry, I can’t help but look up and be surprised by the life-size sculpture of an individual on a swing. It’s part of Mark Jenkins’ Passages Insolites.
C’est La Vie, by Philippe Landry and Marin Mitrasinovic
A short detour takes me to Eddy Street, where several original new works have been installed on both sides of the street. On Montcalm Street, I fall in love with Brigades, an eye-catchingly colourful building painted by Samuelle Desjardins, Geneviève L. Richard and Sharon MacDuff. Finally, I end my journey near La Filature, around which several works are clustered. La Filature is home to the AXENÉO7 artists’ centre, where you can meet cultural mediators and some of the artists who contributed to the installations.
So much to offer
Every street corner reveals its own surprises. Whether you’re passionate about literature, art, photography or history, the Culture Trail has a lot to offer! To complement your tour of the Culture Trail, we suggest you also discover the Poetry Trail, where short excerpts of poems by local writers are displayed on plaques attached to the facades of commercial buildings. For a more auditory experience, the audio tour L’histoire en flammes (in French only) tells the story of important people from the days of the devastating Hull–Ottawa fire of 1900. Audio and video capsules, The Old Hull Chronicles, are also available to accompany your visit.
Several shows and activities, including public readings, interactive chalk art and exhibitions, will be held in downtown Gatineau this summer. Check out the program to make sure you don’t miss anything!
La photographie dans tous ses états, Anne-Julie Hynes
For maximum enjoyment!
Once you’ve walked the length of the Culture Trail, your visit is far from over, as the Trail is close to a variety of attractions! Whatever your interests, there’s no shortage of options: visit a museum, discover local flavours on a patio, or browse the nearby stores and markets.
Make the most of your experience and share your favourites on social media using the hashtag #CultureTrail! The works I’ve mentioned are only a few of the many along the route. Until October 15th, the Culture Trail offers a memorable experience to enjoy with friends and family, as a couple or on your own.
Has this walk worked up an appetite? Discover the must-try downtown restaurants.
The Culture Trail is a project of the City of Gatineau, in association with Vision Centre-Ville Gatineau (VCV), the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec (MCCQ) and Outaouais Tourism.