Though firmly incorporated within the Capital Region, GATINEAU (formerly Hull), lying just across the river from Ottawa in the province of Québec, remains quite distinct and predominantly francophone. For years it served mainly as Ottawa’s nightspot as its bars were open two hours longer than those in the capital, but with this alcoholic advantage now gone – and its paper mills relegated to minor importance – Gatineau struggles to compete with its neighbour. It does, however, have one major museum, the Musée Canadien des Civilisations, and it also edges the handsome scenery of Gatineau Park, whose assorted lakes and forested hills cover no less than 360 square kilometres; the park is a prime spot for hiking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing.

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