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Visiting a Strong Sense of Verticality, Horizontality, a Blurred Sense of Visibility: Gatineau, Quebec...or Where?

Updated on March 2, 2020
Flag of Quebec
Flag of Quebec | Source
Lake Leamy, Gatineau
Lake Leamy, Gatineau | Source


And so I came to a skyward water jet fountain with an overwhelming, sense of verticality. Its verticality predicated upon the strict horizontality of a body of water. This body of water, a lake known to some by one name, and to some by another, to such an ingrained extent that there may be those who wonder if we are speaking of one lake or two. The horizontal and vertical waters lie close to somewhat nebulous and complex boundaries of a national / ethnolinguistic nature.

I speak of the water jet fountain at Gatineau, Quebec (see photo, above): shooting upwards from a spout on a lake: often referred to as Lac Leamy (1), it is also sometimes (and more accurately) called Lac de la Carrière, since the latter is a separate — albeit narrowly linked — body of water from Lac Leamy. The nearby Gatineau Hills may be said to complement the water jet's strong sense of verticality. The lake where the water jet is located lies a short distance inland from the Rivière des Outaouais / Ottawa River, marking the boundary with Ontario, but which, but for a hairsbreadth in the results of Quebec's independence referendum n 1995, might now mark an international boundary.

And yet the description in the first paragraph may equally apply to the water jet fountain at Geneva, Switzerland: a high jet of water on a lake which extends to very long dimensions. The nearby Alps are of course far higher than the Gatineau Hills but, photographed from certain angles, they in turn provide a fitting backdrop to sense of living verticality embodied by the water jet: among Geneva's most famous sights. And the name of the Lake? so many travellers refer to it as Lake Geneva, although the French name — Lac Léman (2) — is more accurate, locally. Indeed, the lake is partly in Switzerland and partly in France, and, even though French Switzerland and France share the same language, Geneva itself is so cosmopolitan that it seems to contain speakers of almost every language under the sun.

(Close your eyes and imagine where else you may be...You have heard of history repeating itself...but how about geography repeating itself? Gatineau, Quebec...Geneva, Switzerland...)

March 2, 2020


(1) Named for Andrew Leamy, a prominent local industrialist.

(2) In Roman times, it was recorded as Lacus Lemmanus.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Jet d'Eau. The "water jet"-fountain on Lake Geneva, one of the city's landmarks., Genève.
Jet d'Eau. The "water jet"-fountain on Lake Geneva, one of the city's landmarks., Genève. | Source

Also worth seeing

In Gatineau itself, the Musée canadien des civilisations / Canadian Museum of Civilization is Canada's most visited museum. Gatineau's Masion du citoyen / Citizen's House has a noted art gallery and the Hall des nations / Hall of the Nations containing valuable cultural artifacts from around the world. Parc de la Gatineau / Gatineau Park has exceptional recreational and scenic possibilities.

In Ottawa (distance: 2 kilometres from Downtown, Gatineau) possesses cultural treasures, structures of architectural excellence and noted museums which are too numerous to mention properly here; but a few of these include Parliament Hill, Rideau Hall, the Chateau Laurier, Laurier House, the Rideau Canal, and the Bank of Canada's Currency Museum.


How to get there: Air Canada flies from various North American destinations to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport / Aéroport international Macdonald-Cartier d'Ottawa, where car rental is available. However, travellers may prefer to use OC Transpo public transit for travel within Ottawa / Gatineau. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

Map location of Gatineau, in Quebec
Map location of Gatineau, in Quebec | Source

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