Tripping to Wakefield

Day Trip to Wakefield
Tripping to Wakefield

How will your children ever have a sense of adventure if you don’t take them out on excursions every once in a while? For those days when going to the local park seems about as exciting as taking out the recycling, we have just the place to visit. It’s a small town called Wakefield, an easy 45 minute drive from downtown Ottawa and filled with pretty scenery, a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of shops and cafes.

The famous Wakefield steam train is temporarily out of commission (although we admit, our kids would have been happy enough just playing on the tracks) but there are plenty of other reasons to visit:

  • Jamboree – an amazing gift shop that is brimming with things to make your home and garden beautiful: bird feeders, candle holders, honey keepers, door knobs, soaps…and that’s just skimming the surface. Wakefield has a large artistic and craft community, so some of the items in the shops are locally made.
  • The Millionaire Bars at the Wakefield Boulangerie: three layers of heaven. Imagine if you will, a rich shortbread crust thickly blanketed with caramel and chocolate on the top. One slice easily served two although we’re not convinced that everyone will want to share next time. (We don’t believe the term “millionaire bar” comes from the number of calories contained in each one. Really, we don’t.)
  • The covered bridge – our kids were crazy for the bridge. Who wouldn’t be? It’s gorgeous. Rebuilt in 1997 by an army of volunteers, this pedestrian-and-bike-only bridge is hauntingly beautiful. It’s just on the outskirts of Wakefield and is not to be missed.
  • Secret rest stop behind the historic Wakefield Mill Inn and Spa (note: SPA). Follow the signs for an easy (though mildly) uphill stroll to this lovely spot. Go past the Mill and cross the bridge. You’ll find a couple of chairs overlooking the churning water where you can sit and take in the lovely view.


It’s all very low-key, and that’s what we love about Wakefield. Pack a picnic, bring a frisbee, a camera, and enjoy the views!

Wakefield, Quebec
Take Highway 5 (on the Gatineau side) and follow the signs for Maniwaki. Highway 5 comes to an end at a stop sign. Turn right and then make an immediate left at the traffic lights onto Highway 105 North. After about 8 kilometres, you’ll veer to the right at the Wakefield turnoff. At the bottom of the hill, turn left onto Riverside Drive.

Tested by Andrea T., Ottawa
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First published 2008.06.12

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