Wakefield at a Glance
Nestled in a postcard-perfect setting along the Gatineau River, the bilingual village of Wakefield possesses a friendly and funky atmosphere created by its diverse residents and nurtured by its surroundings. Whether you’re into nature, art, music, outdoor adventure, shopping or fine food, you’ll fall in love with this place.
Incredibly, this peaceful utopia is a mere twenty-minute drive from downtown Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. A spectacular natural setting with access to a world-class city is what makes Wakefield a truly unique and remarkable village.
Check this recent article to get the flavour.
The village has developed a reputation for a somewhat bohemian lifestyle and boasts a number of small cafes, pubs, and galleries. Many young families live in the area, enjoying its lifestyle, services, and resources. Many artists live in the surrounding mountains and valleys.
The village’s primary industry is tourism. The main attractions, in addition to a picturesque setting, are the Wakefield Covered Bridge spanning the Gatineau River, the Fairbairn House Heritage Centre, the MacLaren Mill built in 1838 and named after an early family in the region (now restored and operated as the Wakefield Mill Inn and Spa); and, famous for its music, Black Sheep Inn (Auberge Mouton Noir). The village also provides a direct access point to Gatineau Park. Learn more here about Wakefield.
Steeped in the history of the log drive, Wakefield owes its existence to settlers who favoured the the junction of the La Pêche and Gatineau rivers. Its magnificent riverfront location surrounded by the beautiful Gatineau Hills has lured cottagers and tourists since the early 1900s. Before that, Wakefield’s lively riverfront served the needs of area farms and distant logging camps.
The area’s first homesteaders were Joseph Irwin and Mary Pritchard, who came to historic Wakefield Township via Bytown (Ottawa) from Northern Ireland in 1829. Ten other Irish families eventually cleared acreages near the townsite. A Scottish millwright and stonemason named William Fairbairn built Wakefield’s first grist mill beside the waterfall on the La Pêche River in 1838. His original house (1861) is now used as the Fairbairn House Heritage Centre near the covered bridge. Fellow countryman David MacLaren, a hardware merchant from Glasgow, built a sawmill in the centre of the village in the 1840s, and then added Fairbairn’s grist mill to his operations. Later he built a large brick three-storey woolen mill, which was a leading employer in the Gatineau Valley until the 1930s. The grist mill has now been converted into the Wakefield Mill Inn and Spa. The brick-clad Edwardian-Gothic style MacLaren House (1860) next door is used for conferences. The MacLaren family cemetery behind the mansion and adjacent to the Trans-Canada Trail contains the grave of former prime minister Lester B. Pearson.
Many of Wakefield’s original inns, churches, stores and homes remain. The Earle House (circa 1880) on the corner of Valley and Riverside drives, belonged to Robert Earle, a carpenter, carriage-maker and blacksmith is now the Cafe Molo. Patterson’s General Store at 740 Riverside Dr (circa 1880) is now the Jamboree gift shop and retains much of its original interior. The Wakefield train station (1892) has operated as the Pot-au-Feu Restaurant since 1970. And, of course, there is our own Les Trois Érables, the neo-Queen Anne style doctor’s residence built in 1896. A number of Wakefield homes have been awarded heritage plaques by the Municipality of La Pêche. Many are our neighbours on Burnside Avenue which makes for a lovely walk up the street from Les Trois Érables.
Lastly, there is the iconic Wakefield Covered Bridge, a striking replica of an older structure destroyed by fire in 1984. No visit to Wakefield is complete without a stroll across the covered bridge.
Learn more about the history of Wakefield and some of its key historical figures:
Activities and Attractions
Activities and Attractions
Wakefield Village itself has so much to offer, but it is also the hub to access a variety of other attractions in the Gatineau Hills just minutes away.
- festivals (Dragonfest Winter festival, Ta Da Theatre, WIFF, Wakefest, Books, Artists tour)
- music venues
- Canada Day
- Earth Day
- Wakefield Trails / Trans Canada Trail
- heritage walks
- bungee jump
- aerial park
- scuba diving
- horseback riding
- cross-country skiing
- downhill skiing
- Gatineau Park
- environmental exploration
- mountain biking
- driving tours
- farm visits
- farmers market
- running events
- wilderness tours
Many of our guests seek in advance to choose and reserve their seats at one or more of Wakefield’s many fine dining establishments. We provide you with a complete list here to help you with that.
Superior, standard continental food in a rustic atmosphere. Located across the street from us in the old train station with outdoor seating right on the river – great for couples. $$$
The newest restaurant in town, Nikosi Bistro-Pub fuses French cuisine with Indigenous ingredients. $$
La Maison du Village
Perhaps the most highly rated restaurant in Wakefield right now. An adventurous menu of meat and other dishes that in our opinion rank with the best anywhere. Small outdoor deck, but it’s the food you go for. $$$
Above the General Store with an elevated view of the river. Not open evenings, but very good and healthy breakfast and lunch fare. Gift shop, too. And right across the street from us! $
Superb dining in an old house at the edge of the village. You can dine in the side yard if you wish. $$
Where many locals go. Great selection of draft beer and innovative pub food. Live music weekend evenings, and open mike on Wednesdays. Check out the food theme nights – Perogie Night or Steak Night! $
Five-star dining and ambiance – try a window seat in the Heron Room overlooking the waterfall. Great lounge for pre-dinner drinks and jazz entertainment on weekend evenings. Sunday brunch is a big draw. $$$$
Great burgers and lighter fare. Shares its deck (and beer) with the Black Sheep – overlooks the river and convenient if you’re going to the show next door. $
Good food, funky retro décor and a fabulous deck overlooking the river. Occasional live entertainment. $$
Excellent coffee, of course, with sandwiches and pastries on offer. Wine, too! Funky outdoor deck to savour the view as you sip.
Enjoy a hot coffee, latte or cup of tea with delicious baked goods. Sit inside the historical old Earle House or on the porch and catch up on the local news and gossip. While there you can also pick up something from the vintage clothing store located in the same building.
Great innovative pizzas you can enjoy on the spot or take out.
Wood-fired pizza, Chinese food and family fare at affordable prices. Eat-in or take-out.
The usual subs located in the shopping centre at the intersection of Route 105 and chemin de la Vallée de Wakefield.
The usual Tim’s fare located in the shopping centre at the intersection of Route 105 and chemin de la Vallée de Wakefield.
Wakefield Bakery – Excellent selection, the best baguettes outside of France!
Pipolinka – Excellent organic baked goods, and chili and soups on offer as well.
La Toque – Beautiful and decadent pastries & cakes made by the owner, a Cordon Bleu Paris trained pastry chef.