Read the full Where to Buy Now feature online or in the Real Estate 2018 print issue of Ottawa Magazine
For years, signs of change have been sprouting up along the edges of l’Île de Hull, including upscale bars, bistros, and condos. Deeper into the ’hood, you’ll find yoga studios, shiatsu massage practitioners, and bike stores scattered among dépanneurs, triplexes, and tattoo parlours. The area has always had a bit of a split personality, catering to a mix of government workers and lower-income residents (the median total personal income in one slice of the neighbourhood was $24,914 in 2015).
The City of Gatineau is trying to encourage more people to move to downtown Hull. In February 2017, it announced it would provide $5,000 grants to people who buy a house there and live in it for three years. (Families get an extra $2,500.) As of mid-January 2018, the city had awarded 15 grants. The $300,000 program runs until the end of 2019 (or until the funds run out).
However, the biggest change to affect central Hull in decades is a private-sector project. Windmill Development Group’s new Zibi project will eventually add 1,500 residential units on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River (as well as 1,000 on the Ontario side); the first 80 condos on the Quebec side are expected to be ready for occupancy this fall.
Jeff Westeinde, president of the Zibi redevelopment project, is confident Zibi will help revitalize Hull’s core rather than draw shoppers away from it. “What we’re looking to do is be complementary to the island of Hull, and quite frankly, we need to be,” he says. “I don’t want to have the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker all in my community. I want to rely on some of the services that are already in Hull.”
Downtown Hull — with its walkability, proximity to government offices, riverfront, and transit links — does seem ripe for growth. If that growth helps new residents while avoiding pushing out existing ones, Hull will have a major success story to boast about.
What’s For Sale?*
98, rue Dollard-des-Ormeaux
2-bedroom, 1-bath condo apartment
Walk Score: 90
Transit Score: 73
Meet the Neighbours: Median age is 34; 95% of properties built before 2000; more than 50% of residents are francophone, 27% anglophone, 23% other
156, boul. des Allumettières
2-bedroom, 1-bath, 2-storey house
Walk Score: 83
Transit Score: 71
Meet the Neighbours: 60% of households have kids living at home; 40% of living spaces are owner-occupied
63-65, rue Eddy
4-plex with 4 bachelor apartments and commercial space
Walk Score: 94
Transit Score: 74
Meet the Neighbours: 91% of living spaces are rented
*These listings may no longer be available and should be used as a range of what is potentially available in this neighbourhood
Marché de l’Outaouais, 71, rue Eddy
Members of this non-profit co-op can order products
from roughly 60 Outaouais producers in advance, then pick up their order later that week. (Non-members can shop here too, but members can order online and get a five per cent discount.) Products include meat, fruit, vegetables, baking products, household cleaners, prepared meals, and beverages.
Vice Versa, 50, rue Montcalm
Lots of stores sell cool modern furniture, but few do it with
such style and fun as Vice Versa. The displays are genius, the prices are reasonable, and much of the furniture is made in Canada. A bonus: Many pieces are suitable for pocket- sized condos and other small spaces.
Théâtre de l’Île, 1, rue Wellington
This small theatre (capacity 119) is housed in a rebuilt Victorian waterworks on Brewery Creek. It presents French-language plays and other shows. When it opened in 1976, it was the first municipally owned theatre in Quebec.
A hardware store! Want to buy some paint or electrical wire? You’re pretty much out of luck on the l’Île de Hull except for whatever you can find at Giant Tiger.
Meet the Neighbours
Nicolas Thibodeau, Lara Kinnear, and their baby, Nova
Nic is a parliamentary assistant, NDP; Lara is membership
coordinator for a national not-for-profit organization
Home: A neo-Gothic house on rue Taylor built in the late 1870s, with an addition in the 1990s, on the west side of Brewery Creek near rue Wright bridge.
Years in the ’hood: Nic and Lara began renting in August 2016 after seeing the advertisement on Kijiji. They convinced the owners — diplomats who are currently posted to the Canadian embassy in Moscow — not to break up the house into two apartments.
Why they moved there: Lara lived in the Alex Laidlaw Housing Co-Op on Booth at Scott, and Nicolas lived in the Plateau neighbourhood of Gatineau. They met in the middle. “The Québec Parental Insurance Plan was important — it’s considered to give more advantages to parents than they would receive in other provinces — but the amenities and the quiet, beautiful setting of the neighbourhood are huge,” says Nic. “The proximity to Ottawa, to the Highway 50, to everything on Montcalm, with a natural setting on the river … It’s a little slice of heaven.”
Favourite shops: “Le Marché de l’Outaouais is a little gem, a wonderful place full of local goods, fresh organic vegetables, and good-quality meat,” says Nic. “There’s also the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul and the bike shop Cycle Bertrand.”
Favourite public spaces: “The park along Brewery Creek — there are actually baby foxes running there, rabbits, and groundhogs,” says Lara. “There’s also the Théâtre de l’Île just south of them and an amphitheatre nearby that both have live music every warm week of the year.”
What’s missing: Nic would like to see a better selection of food at the local marché. “But a better supermarket is bound to show up soon with the arrival of the Zibi project on rue Eddy,” says Nic. “Also an LRT extension into Gatineau would be amazing.”