Arts and Culture
While the Wakefield Mill Inn and Spa itself has some unique, eye-catching works of art for your perusal, there also are numerous art tours and galleries in the Wakefield area. Wakefield also boasts photography and pottery workshops.
Take a stroll along Riveside road, the commercial centre of Wakefield, and browse numerous small independent stores selling everything from groceries and fresh baked goods, to clothing, home decor, local crafts, and handmade chocolates. Check out the local shopping directory.
Founded in 1830 by mainly Irish and Scottish immigrants, Wakefield was one of the first villages to be established along the Gatineau River. Many of the buildings in Wakefield and along Riverside Road are heritage and make for an interesting stroll through the village.
The Mill Complex
Built in 1838, the Wakefield Mill Inn itself is bursting with history. The walls of the bar lounge feature photos and artifacts of years past. Also on the property is the Maclaren house circa 1860s which today is used for meeting rooms and offices and the newly restored Miller's house circa 1840s which today houses 2 seperate bedrooms.
The pre-existing historic structure of the Mill has been blended seamlessly into many aspects of the mill today, as a number of unique features of the original building have been preserved. The heavy wooden beams featured in the reception area were once used to support the grain silos and the leather belts used to connect the mill wheels have been fashioned into room numbers. Exposed stone walls provide a historic ambience in the guest rooms while other rooms are actually located in the former grain silos.
The dining room downstairs is the former “engine room” of the mill and underneath it used to be the location of mechanical and electrical turbines propelling the milling process. An original turbine room has been converted into the spa treatment rooms while the other turbine room now features the inn’s wine cellar. A number of historic mechanical components are featured as landscaping ornaments and are relocated throughout the Inn’s lovely gardens.
Just up the hill behind Maclaren House is the Maclaren Cemetery. This cemetery originally intended for family became available for general burials for more than 50 years. This is the resting place of Prime Minister Lester B Pearson who enjoyed leisure time in the Gatineau.
Fairbairn's 1860s landmark farmhouse is today a new heritage centre for the region. Renovations on the exterior of the heritage house were completed in the summer of 2010 and, as funding allows, interior work is continuing on towards its targeted opening in the spring of 2012. Visit http://www.fairbairn.ca/ for more information on its progress.
Wakefield Covered Bridge
Visitors to Wakefield won’t want to miss another highlight of the village – the Wakefield covered bridge. This piece of history was built in 1915 at the entrance to Wakefield.
Completely destroyed by fire in 1984, Wakefield’s residents rallied together to raise funds to rebuild the bridge. Today the bridge is only open to pedestrian traffic and is a popular spot for photographers, artists, wedding ceremonies and festival events.
The entertainment possibilities in Wakefield and the surrounding area are endless. Contact us to book your accommodations at the Wakefield Mill Inn and Spa and start planning your Wakefield getaway today.