Installed in the 160-year-old Fairbairn farmhouse in Wakefield, La Pêche, The Fairbairn House Heritage Centre features visual displays and special exhibits, interactive and audio-visual displays, school programmes, special events and community involvement.
One of Wakefield’s oldest dwellings, the Fairbairn house was the home of Scottish settler William Fairbairn. Fairbairn arrived in Wakefield in 1834 and, in 1838, erected the area’s first grist mill, beside the La Pêche River just as it begins its descent to join the Gatineau. The original thick stone walls he constructed are still an attraction in today’s Wakefield Mill. 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 its original site on William Fairbairn’s farm. It 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 moved again, by the Municipality of La Pêche at the request of the Gatineau Valley Historical Society. Its permanent location is across the river, near the covered bridge, in the seven-acre Hendrick Park. On September 1, 2012, 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.