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Grist Mill

Mill Road, La Pêche, Quebec, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1985/04/23

Exterior photo; (CIHB, 1984.)
Grist Mill
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Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/05/12

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

West of the town of Wakefield on a sloping riverbank adjacent to the La Peche River, the Grist Mill is a simple, rough cut stone and brick, rectangular building that rises three stories above its stone foundation at the front façade and four plus a basement at the rear.
The structure’s additions at the south and west facades are sheathed in wood board and batten siding and abuts the original stone structure. The stone portion of the building has evenly spaced double sash windows, which are topped with stone lintels. At water level there are turbines to drive the mill machinery. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Grist Mill is a good illustration of settlement and industrial development of the north shore of the Ottawa River and the Gatineau Hills. The presence of a gristmill at Wakefield bolstered settlements as it provided farmers with a convenient outlet for their surplus. William Fairbairn, a Scottish immigrant who had been a miller, built the Wakefield Grist Mill in the late 1830’s and sold it to the Maclarens in 1844 who operated it successfully until 1941. It allowed this family to diversify economically and develop buisiness interests which eventually made them one of the Ottawa valley’s most prominent families. In 1941 the mill was sold, converted and operated as a feed mill even after it was sold to the NCC in 1962.

Architectural Value
The Grist Mill is a good example of the principles of design for automatic process mills. Its design typical of mill design across the country is utilitarian and the factors that affected its design were practical rather than stylistic. The form of the mill was determined by the fact that mill machinery at this time was generally arranged on a vertical axis. Its stone foundation was designed specifically to withstand the vibrations caused by the milling machinery. Its simple massing, form and construction materials as a result of its function-oriented design characterize the building.

Environmental Value
The Grist Mill establishes the present character of its location west of the town of Wakefield. It maintains an integral functional and physical relationship to the La Peche River and its sloping riverbank setting. This strategic location adjacent to the village on a busy regional road ensures that visitors and local people are aware of the building making the mill a landmark within Gatineau Park.

Sally Coutts, Wakefield Grist Mill, Wakefield, Quebec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 84-025; Grist Mill, Gatineau Park, Wakefield, Quebec. Heritage Character Statement 84-025.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character defining elements of the Grist Mill should be respected:

-its rectangular massing and low-pitched gable roof.
-its vernacular classical inspiration illustrated by its simple form and by its evenly spaced double hung windows.
-its vertical emphasis determined by the mill machinery,
-its strong stone basement and large cut stone walls.
-its addition sheathed in wood board and batten.

The manner in which the Grist Mill establishes the present character of its sloping riverbank setting on the La Peche River and is a landmark for the adjacent town of Wakefield and within Gatineau Park.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Food and Beverage Manufacturing Facility

Architect / Designer

William Fairbairn



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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