This town is considered the jewel of the Gatineau Hills, and is named or a Yorkshire village in England. The first settlers came in 1830, but the area did not boom until the arrival ten years later of David MacLaren, a Scottish ironmonger.
He and his sons opened a general store, a flour mill, a brick factory, a sawmill, and a wool factory. The flour mill helped make the area’s farms prosperous, reducing driving distances dramatically. The sawmill created jobs for the landless (“les sans-terres”) who saved up then bought land. The town today has lots of beautifully coloured houses, shops and restaurants.
Hull-Wakefield Steam Train
165 Deveault St, Hull J8T 1S7
819-778-7246 fax; 819-778-5007 1-800-871-7246
The 1907-vintage steam train takes you from Hull for a half-day excursion past the beautiful Gatineau Hills to Wakefield, a quaint little village. Special Sunset Dinner Train includes a fine dining experience. Reservations required. Cost: $$$$. Runs mid May to late October.
The Wakefield Mill
60 Mill Rd Wakefield, QC J0X 3G0
819-459-1838 fax: 819-459-1697 1-888-567-1838
This 1838 structure was a former gristmill and Victorian home. Take a self-guided tour of neighbouring Maclaren Cemetery, resting place of Lester B Pearson. Open year-round 6 am to 12 am. Admission cost.
Wakefield Covered Bridge
This bridge was originally built in 1915, but was demolished by a 1984 fire. Because it was the centerpiece of the community, locals raised the money to rebuild it in 1996. It is now open, though only cyclists and pedestrians may cross it.
The town cemetery offers beautiful views of the Hills, and is the resting place of Nobel Peace Prize winner and former prime ministers Lester B Pearson.