Ottawa – Rideau Hall A residence to impress

1 Sussex Drive

Rideau Hall is the residence and workplace of the Governor General of Canada. This role is representative of the queen or the king in the country. Different people with different profiles have obtained this role and therefore resided in this huge fenced building of 79 acres (32 hectares) of greenery.

The original owner of this site was Mr. Thomas MacKay, a Scottish entrepreneur with a significant role in overseeing the work of the Rideau Canal and its locks and had his family residence built of stone in 1838. Far from the current format, the place was already nicknamed Château MacKay. He lived there until 1855.

It was in 1858 that Queen Victoria named Ottawa the federal capital and this space was then leased to Lord Monck, the first governor, from 1864. Three years later, the government acquired the building and, over the years, enlarged it.

There are ceremonial rooms to accommodate dignitaries and honorary events as well as an office for meetings with the Prime Minister. Parliament is approximately 5 km (3 miles) from Rideau Hall.

Two large rooms attract our attention: the ballroom with its huge chandelier and the work of Jean-Paul Riopelle, as well as the tent room. Like a marquee, the walls and ceiling are covered with pink and white striped fabrics, which is relatively festive in style. This same room could be converted into an indoor tennis court.

You can visit these places for free (45 minutes) with a guide who will accompany you in the huge rooms and present some governors whose portraits are at the main entrance, their roles, the history of the places and also all the honorific process as well as who can receive a medal, in what context and also very relevant examples. Canada, therefore, has its distinctive national recognition system.

Furniture, paintings, and stained glass have a story to tell.

It is also in this place that the queen resides during her visits to the federal capital.

In front of the main building, there is a fountain but this one was under repair during our visit in June 2022.

The residence is surrounded by gardens and trees, part of which is open to the public. Admire the roses, the Inukshuk, the totem, the commemoration spaces, and the fountain in this place where several important visitors have donated a tree.

On the site, the interpretation center is located in the gardener’s house near the main entrance.

In front of the entrance, temporarily, but certainly well positioned, is the statue of Queen Elizabeth II on her horse. It should be there until 2029 or until the work on Parliament Hill is completed. The statue was unveiled on July 1, 1992, marking Canada’s 125th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen was known for her affection with the equestrian world, she loved horses, riding and competition.

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