A short drive up the road from the Wakefield Mill is MacLaren Cemetery, a quiet cemetery nestled in the Gatineau Hills and overlooked by a Canadian flag. Named for one of the early settlers here, David MacLaren, it is a final resting place for locals, many of whom are descended from those first settlers from the early 19th century, and who have stayed on in the Gatineau River Valley. There are some graves of note here as well. Knowing that Tom has a photographer's interest in cemeteries, I knew they had to come up this way, and so brought them to Wakefield. Those of you who follow Tom's blog have seen his take on this place.
The reason a Canadian flag flies above this cemetery is out of respect for one of those at rest here. Lester B. Pearson was one of our best Prime Ministers, and as foreign minister during the Suez Crisis in 1957, he was critical in resolving the crisis. Pearson and the UN Secretary General of the time, Dag Hammarskjold, are considered the fathers of the idea of military peacekeepers, and Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. His domestic and foreign accomplishments as prime minister include universal health care, the Canadian pension plan, the Canadian flag, keeping us out of Vietnam, and many other progressive policies, all while operating a minority government over two terms. His wife Maryon is buried here as well, as is his son Geoffrey, also a career Canadian diplomat. This quiet cemetery is a wonderful resting place for a great man, and once you know it's here, you come back. Perhaps you leave a stone behind.
Nearby is another grave of note. The great Canadian landscape photographer Malak Karsh, who brought about the Tulip Festival and crossed the country time and time again to photograph its beauty, is buried here, as is his wife Barbara. The inscription at its base fits him: "Every time I leave my studio in search of new pictures I ask God to open my eyes so that I can see. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't discover some surprise that makes me wonder how I missed it before. That is part of the pleasure in life, to keep searching. ~ Malak Karsh, beauty seeker, photographer."
This gravestone caught my eye- perhaps it was the shape, perhaps it was the little rabbit beneath.
The cemetery grounds are bordered by nearby woodland. That large glacial erratic seems to have always caught my eye whenever I've been here.
This is not a grave, but a plaque erected in 1997 by the community paying homage to those who have come before them, who settled the area and built their lives here.
One grave caught my eye, a relatively recent one for a young woman of First Nations descent. Her tombstone featured carved feathers, an inlaid dream catcher, and candles. A pole alongside it includes tobacco pouches, a common sight in First Nations culture.
Here we have two final views of the cemetery and the grounds. It is a lovely graveyard in a beautiful setting... and very peaceful. The sort of place one might like to be buried in.