Nordic City Solutions – Zibi – Ville de Gatineau – Jean-François LeBlanc

La semaine dernière, j’ai eu le privilège de faire un discours devant une délégation de cinq pays nordiques chez Zibi. J’ai eu envie de la partager avec vous:

The City of Gatineau plays an active role in economic development. To this end, in 2016 the city established an Economic Development Commission, which I have the privilege of co-chairing. The Commission’s principal role is strategic in nature, to create favorable conditions for economic development.  Among the actions flowing from the work of the commission, we are increasing our collaboration with the City of Ottawa. For example, we have actively sought, and promoted a partnership between Invest Ottawa, the City of Gatineau, ID Gatineau and IN-SEC-M, the latter being a national, nonprofit organization for the cyber security sector.  These four stakeholders have now come together, and joined their efforts to create a common marketing strategy, with the express goal of attracting new cyber security firms, investment, talent and opportunity to Canada’s National Capital Region.

The City has entrusted the business support mandate to Investment and Development Gatineau, or ID Gatineau for short, for which I am serving as vice-president. ID Gatineau helps with the startup, consolidation and expansion of businesses with distinctive expertise, products or services that fill a need, target external markets and have what it takes to create sustainable jobs and draw investment to Gatineau. We also prospect for new investments, in collaboration with numerous partners, in order to help diversify and energize the region’s economy.

ID Gatineau also works actively to develop Gatineau’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Several initiatives have been put in place by ID Gatineau and its partners. The recent arrival of a campus of the “École des entrepreneurs du Québec” in Gatineau is a good example of regional mobilization.  The creation and implementation of an online system called is another key initiative. MyGPS is designed to coordinate access to over 60 partner organizations for our local companies and future entrepreneurs.  We have established an Angel Network in Gatineau, as well as our G7 Program, in order to further accelerate the growth of Gatineau businesses.  These are just a few examples that demonstrate that our ecosystem is currently in full swing, and that the City of Gatineau is a highly favorable place to start and grow a business.

I would now like to briefly return to the industrial past of the city.

Several industries settled in Gatineau at the turn of the 20th century. In 1896, George Matthews erected a slaughterhouse, which became Canada Packers, and in 1903 the International Portland Cement built its facilities where the Lac-Leamy Casino is now located. Three years later, Woods textile company of Ottawa settled on the Quebec side.  Then, in 1914, Hull Iron and Steel Foundries opened.

In short, the Gatineau economy was diversifying and there were activities of all kinds: cement, machinery, milk, brick, wool and explosives. For a time, the largest producer of wooden matches in all of Canada, and one of the largest in the world, was the E.B. Eddy Match company, headquartered right here, in downtown Gatineau. The sum of these activities made Gatineau one of the main industrial centers of Quebec.

As in many of Quebec’s cities, the industrial decline of Gatineau began shortly before the Second World War and increased after 1945. The mid-1950s marked a turning point, however, when the federal government built the “Imprimerie Nationale”. This implementation marked the beginning of a gradual transfer of federal offices from Ottawa to Gatineau. Today, more than 30,000 public servants work in Gatineau and the federal government is the city’s largest employer.

The transformation of Gatineau’s economy is continuing to this day.  On the site where 150 years of industrial history ended in 2007 for the old E.B. Eddy factories, a major $1.5 billion redevelopment project is now under way.

The Zibi project is transforming waste and contaminated lands into a sustainable community, combining the best of integrated urbanity with living, waterfront spaces. By the way, Zibi is the Algonquin word for “river”.  The project will connect a series of islands and grounds into a true community model, and will extend to both Gatineau and Ottawa. Respecting the highest standards available, Zibi will become the 10th project in the world to achieve the « One Living Planet » certification.  This is the highest environmental certification possible and the first in Canada. A special thanks to Mr. Jeff Westeinde for this innovative initiative.

Another exciting announcement has just been made, this week, by the Government of Québec, whereby a major investment of 10 million dollars will ensure the decontamination of the buildings and the soil at another former industrial site, known as the Foundry. This 3.4-hectare site, just off the highway 50 and the Rapibus Station is just a stone’s throw from Brewer Creek and the future cultural center on Montcalm Street.

The potential of the site can hardly be overstated.  We will have an important link between the heart of the city’s center and its cultural center.  It will be in close proximity to our city’s university, the “Université du Québec en Outaouais”, as well as Zibi.  The site can be considered a strategic location for an innovation district, and it will certainly open up new avenues for downtown redevelopment.

To conclude, many exciting projects are currently underway in Gatineau, but allow me to say, the best is yet to come!

Thank you.

Nordic City Solutions - Zibi - Économic Developpement speech - Jean-François LeBlanc - président de la Commission de développement économique Ville de Gatineau

À propos de Zibi:

Une communauté durable de première classe et un projet de réaménagement d’intérêt collectif imaginé par Dream Unlimited Corp et Theia Partners.


Grâce à ce projet d’aménagement en plusieurs phases, Dream et Theia transformeront un territoire à l’abandon en habitations résidentielles composées de tours de condominiums peu élevées et élevées et de maisons en rangée, en espaces commerciaux et de bureaux, en esplanades au bord de l’eau et places publiques extérieures uniques, en installations récréatives et bien d’autres.

Unique en son genre, Zibi offre une vue inégalée sur la rivière des Outaouais, la colline du Parlement, la chute des Chaudières ainsi que sur la silhouette des immeubles du centre-ville d’Ottawa et de Gatineau dans une conception architecturale moderne qui respecte le patrimoine culturel du site. Zibi, c’est le paroxysme de la nature, de la culture, du patrimoine et des plaisirs de la vie.

À propos de Nordic City Solutions:

Nordic City Solutions est un organisme public-privé, rassemblant les bureaux de développement économique et de promotion commerciale des cinq pays nordiques, soit le Danemark, la Finlande, l’Islande, la Norvège et la Suède. Le but de Nordic City Solutions est de créer des liens entre les experts nordiques en matière de villes saines, résilientes et intelligentes, et des occasions d’approvisionnement en Amérique du Nord, bar le biais de partenariats clés en 2019 et 2020.