Waterfront Reconciliation? Rue Jacques Cartier after the 2017 flood

Post flood Reconciliation Walk through 7,000 years of history:  rue Jacques Cartier, Gatineau, QC.

Photo:  the riverfront along rue Jacques-Cartier.

Floods, demonstrations, and 7,000 years of human settlement along rue Jacques Cartier. Stroll through local history and the potential for Reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the City government. Come explore and witness the challenges Urban Indigenous people still face with Gatineau's urban planners along a beautiful street. This local gem welcomes sightseers, runners, and waterside restaurant goers; yet is also a case study in how not to conduct waterfront redevelopment. Lessons learned may be applied to other regions. (Bring your camera for spectacular vistas!)

Afterwards, why not go for lunch at any waterside restaurant along the street? Depending on this year's flooding situation, you may either bring your walking stick or if it was like last year, bring sandbags please.

Rue Jacques-Cartier is the oldest community in our National Capital Region and continues to be a neighbourhood in transition. We will stroll along the sparkling shores of the Gatineau and Ottawa Rivers in Pointe-Gatineau, Gatineau. This is directly across from Rockcliffe neighbourhood in Ottawa within view of ambassadors' residences, 24 Sussex, and the Rideau Falls.

The walk should appeal to those interested in urban planning, Urban Indigenous culture, local history, sightseeing, and photography. We will contemplate this community from three perspectives: the past, as an early settlement for Indigenous peoples, fur traders, log drivers, and fishers many of whose descendants remain; the present, as a neighbourhood resisting government attempts to erase our heritage and lifestyle; and the future, as an area zoned for extensive high rise redevelopment that may change now due to the Ottawa River Flood of 2017. Lessons learned from the past raise questions concerning flood plain development and inadequate government flood and emergency preparedness measures.

Despite the creation of a spectacular new shoreline linear park along rue Jacques Cartier, this $43M project is a prime example how not to redevelop urban waterfronts. It is a case study that applies to many communities across North America. Lessons learned should be taught in urban planning schools, so such failings are not repeated. Urban planners and politicians are welcome to join us too, to provide their perspective.

Beginning at Abinan Park, the site of an occupation by Indigenous people in the summer of 2014 that was supported by many local residents, we'll walk along the waterfront. The park is our ground zero for why cities should better involve residents in the planning of waterfront development. Other riverfront installations demonstrate how the City has successfully divorced residents from accessing the river.

Photographers will be particularly rewarded with river views of classic tug boats, the raging Rideau Falls, Parliament, local matchstick style house architecture, Ambassadors' row of stately houses atop Rockcliffe, the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club, and sparkling heritage recreational waters around Kettle Island where locals fended off the Kettle Island Bridge proposal.) Afterwards, people may choose to stop at one of the waterfront restaurants, as a group or separately.


Meet at Abinan Parkette, beside 835 rue Jacques-Cartier. We'll walk along Rue Jacques Cartier on both the Ottawa River and the Gatineau River, following the paved paths and the boardwalk to a fake non-motorized boat launch. In the course of the walk, we'll return to the Abinan Parkette.

Abinan Parkette is a convenient distance from downtown Ottawa (six minutes / 4.5 km by car from the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge (King Edward). Cross the bridge (right lane), take exit to Fournier Blvd., (keep to the right on the ramp), continue on Fournier Blvd. until you cross the Gatineau River. As soon as you have crossed the bridge, turn right onto rue Jacques-Cartier by the church.

Note that there is free parking at the parkette.

About the walk leader

John Gaudaur Savage is a resident of rue Jacques-Cartier who has served as Vice President of his neighbourhood association, and has shared his skills as an organizer, lobbyist, and activist to protect and promote both the community and the natural environment for all to enjoy.   As a Metis (Algonquin, Chippewa, French and British), whose ancestors traversed this area, he has a familial connection to these waterways possibly stretching back to the street's earliest residents 7,000 years ago.  He is also a survivor of last year's flood, which his community is still recovering from.  


John Savage

Date:Sun May 6, 2018
Time:11:30 AM
Duration: 2 hours
Language: English
Start:Abinan Park, beside <p>...........................835 rue Jacques-Cartier
Area:rue Jacques-Cartier, Gatineau
Distance:3.0 kms

The walk will follow paved pathways and the boardwalk. 

The riverfront along rue Jacques-Cartier, Gatineau.
Volunteer to Marshal This Walk