Black Sheep Inn wins CBC contest


by Trevor Greenway on October 29, 2009

In your face, Montreal!

Martha Wainwright may very well be making her way down to Wakefield, Quebec in the next month to do some research on her new song project.

The Canadian musician’s new project is to write a song about the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, as the little-country-juke-joint-that-could won CBC Radio 2′s Great Canadian Song Quest competition as the Quebec location most deserving of having a song written about it.

Owner of the Black Sheep, Paul Symes, said although he is “floored” that his bar beat out places like Montreal and Quebec City, he hopes the song will be geared more towards Wakefield itself, instead of just his bar.

“It should be about the place,” said Symes.

“Our best feature is the location,” said Symes referring to the Sheep’s riverfront position in the centre of the village.

Symes said the reason the Black Sheep is so popular is because of Wakefield and the people who live and visit here.

“It’s not the architecture, the building isn’t that attractive,” said Symes.

“And it’s not my charming personality,” he added, chuckling.

Symes feels that Wakefield is a special small town in Canada, as it defies the current trends of most small towns across the country.

“So many towns across Canada are losing energy because they are losing their younger generation to big cities,” he said.

“But Wakefield is growing, because young people are choosing to live here. It brings fresh energy to a place.”

Despite Symes’ modesty, many of those young people come for the Black Sheep itself, which has gained fame for showcasing big league musicians and launching new careers. Earlier this year, The Sheep made CBC Radio 2′s Top 20 list for best music listening venues in the country.

Still, Symes doesn’t feel that Wainwright will have a tough time writing the song as so many images come to his mind right away when he thinks of Wakefield. From the Gatineau River to the Gatineau Hills and the covered bridge to the steam train, Wainwright should have lots of inspiration to draw from.

Wainwright’s song will be revealed on the CBC website on Nov. 23. To check out other provincial winners, check the website at

Although so much imagery comes to mind when the word “Wakefield” is mentioned, Symes really hopes that Wainwright does make another visit to the quaint little river town to do some research, as it will just make the song fresh and more real.

“I am really proud of it,” said Symes.