One of Wakefield’s oldest dwellings, Fairbairn House was the home of Scottish settler William Fairbairn and his wife, Jean Wanless.
The house, built by William in the 1860s, now sits proudly on the east bank of the Gatineau River, a short walk from the centre of Wakefield village and not far from William Fairbairn’s original farm location.
William Fairbairn and his wife Jean Wanless were married in 1813, and emigrated to Canada from Roxburghshire, Scotland, in 1817. William was trained as a stone mason and his wife was a nurse. The Fairbairns arrived in Wakefield in 1834. In 1838, William erected the area’s first grist mill beside the La Pêche River. Its original thick stone walls are still an attraction in today’s Wakefield Mill.
William and his wife had four sons — Archibald, William, John and George — and four daughters — Helen, Mary, Elsie and Frances. In 1861, their sons went west to prospect in the gold fields of British Columbia. Members of the Fairbairn family lived in this house until 1906.
William died on February 6, 1872, and his wife predeceased him in 1868.
The house has an adventure-filled past, having been relocated twice. Threatened with demolition in 1993 to make way for a road approach to the new bridge over the Gatineau River, it was moved across Route 105 from its farm location by Andy Tommy.
In 2005, about to be torn down to provide space for condo housing, the house was rescued again with the assistance of the Municipality of La Pêche.
On September 1, 2012, following the tireless efforts of a dedicated team of volunteers led by Michael Cooper,the new Fairbairn House Heritage Centre first opened its doors to visitors.
With exhibits, programmes and an ongoing roster of special events, Fairbairn House has a renewed purpose, focussing on our unique history and enhancing the area’s potential as a recreo-touristic destination.
10 years old and going strong!
We’re located in the seven-acre Hendrick Park, near the Gendron covered bridge just across from Wakefield, Quebec.
The beautifully restored Fairbairn House features various displays and artefacts from the region.
The SUMMER KITCHEN
This room contains various artefacts used to cook and bake food for the family and hired farm workers, preserve jams, jellies and pickles to store for winter, heat sadirons for pressing clothes and linens, and various other household items.
COMMUNITY RESOURCES ROOM
In this room you can hear the voices of the Gatineau Valley in stories handed down by the people who have helped shape the region. From the 1820s to present times – and from Chelsea up to Kazabazua – you will discover interesting artefacts of business and trades people, farmers and loggers, students and teachers.
WAKEFIELD MODEL TRAIN
Be sure to check out the amazing miniature village of Wakefield, complete with it’s own train!
This video documents the pain-staking work that went into its creation.