La Pêche / Wakefield
Boundaries: From Rockhurst in the south to just north of Farrellton in the north, from a few kilometres east of the Gatineau River to just west of Lac-des-Loups and East Aldfield. Distance from Parliament Hill to Wakefield: 35 kilometres
Slung across the Gatineau Hills and adjacent to Gatineau Park, the La Pêche region appeals to cottagers who love the outdoors but hate long drives. If you’re so inclined, you could leave your Ottawa office on a summer Friday afternoon, drive up Highway 5 to your rural retreat, and still have time for a hike, bike ride, or paddle before the sun goes down.
That’s the dream that draws buyers to this sparsely populated swath of the Outaouais, which stretches across almost 600 square kilometres but has just over 8,000 full-time residents, along with 3,500 seasonal ones.
In largely francophone SainteCécile-de-Masham, a town of
2,000 people, you’ll find a
Marché Richelieu grocery store, a gardening centre, a Desjardins credit union, and other useful services. More anglophone
Wakefield, 10 kilometres to the east, is home to about 1,200 and has a 26-bed hospital, a library, a police station, a community centre, and other municipal amenities. The Wakefield Mill and Spa draws weekend getaway types, and the Gendron covered bridge over the Gatineau River is a popular spot for photographers.
What really sets Wakefield apart is its vibrant downtown filled with restaurants, shops, a grocery store, banks, and a small hardware store. There’s a beautiful boardwalk that overlooks the Gatineau River, complete with docks for relaxing on or launching from. Kayaks, standup paddleboards, and bicycles can be rented from Expéditions Wakefield. And come fall, the Wakefield Writers Festival will bring literary types and their fans to the region.
Beyond these two communities, there are waterfront properties to suit any taste, many of which are located on or near the Gatineau River. The range of cottages is similarly wide — you can find handyman specials for under $100,000 or gleaming McMansions in the milliondollar range.