Rideau Hall

Rideau Hall

Infobox Historic building
name = Rideau Hall

caption = Main façade of Government House
map_type =
latitude = 45.443753
longitude = -75.685641
location_town = 1 Sussex Dr.
Ottawa, Ontario
location_country = Canada
architect = Various
client = Thomas MacKay (1838), The Crown in Right of Canada (1865, 1872, 1899, 1906, 1914, 1925, 2004)
engineer =
construction_start_date = 1838
date_demolished =
cost = $82,000
structural_system =
owner = The Queen in Right of Canada
style = Regency, Norman Revival, Florentine Renaissance Revival
size = 9,500 m² (102,000 ft²)

Rideau Hall is, since 1867, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada, and of the monarch of Canada when in Ottawa. [* Lanctot, Gustave; "Royal Tour of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in Canada and the United States of America 1939"; E.P. Taylor Foundation; 1964
* [http://www.monarchist.ca/mc/hnatysh.htm Toffoli, Gary; "Monarchy Canada": The Hnatyshyn Years; Spring, 1995]
* [http://www.canadianheritage.gc.ca/progs/cpsc-ccsp/fr-rf/couronne_crown_canada/06-600crown_of_maples_e.pdf MacLeod, Kevin S.; "A Crown of Maples"; Queen's Printer for Canada; Ottawa: 2008]
] It stands at One Sussex Drive, on an 0.36 km² (88 acre) estate, the main building consisting of 175 rooms in 9,500 m² (102,000 ft²), with 24 outbuildings around the grounds. While in many countries the equivalent building has a prominent, central place in the national capital (Buckingham Palace, the White House and the Royal Palace of the Netherlands are examples), Rideau Hall's site is relatively unobtrusive within Ottawa, giving it more of the character of a private home. [http://www.monarchist.ca/mc/palace.htm Aimers, John; "Monarchy Canada": The Palace on the Rideau; April 1996] ]

Most of Rideau Hall is used for state affairs, only 500 m² (5,400 ft²) of it being private living quarters. [http://www.icomos.org/~fleblanc/projects/p_or_rideau-hall.html Francois Leblanc: Conservation Architect: Restoration work at Rideau Hall, the Official Residence of the Governor General of Canada] ] It is the principal workplace of the Governor General, and of the Governor General's staff. When differentiating between the Office of the Governor General and the residential functions of the building, Rideau Hall is sometimes formally termed "Government House". It is used to officially receive foreign heads of state and both incoming and outgoing ambassadors and high commissioners to Canada. Rideau Hall is also the place where many Canadian awards are presented, where Canadian prime ministers and members of Cabinet are officially sworn in, and where federal writs of election are dropped. The house is also open to tours throughout the year; approximately 200,000 visitors tour Rideau Hall annually. [ [http://www.gg.ca/rh/rh_e.asp Governor General of Canada: Rideau Hall] ]


MacKay villa

The site of Rideau Hall and the original structure were chosen and built by stonemason Thomas MacKay, whom immigrated from Perth, Scotland to Montreal in 1817, and who later became the main contractor involved in the construction of the Rideau Canal. Following the completion of the Canal, MacKay built mills at Rideau Falls, making him the founder of New Edinburgh, which later became Ottawa. With his newly acquired wealth, MacKay built a stone villa on a site overlooking both the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers, which became the root of the present day Rideau Hall. [Hubbard; p. 3]

Even before the building became a royal residence, the Hall received noted visitors, including Lord Sydenham, Lord Elgin, and Sir Edmund Head, all Governors General of the Province of Canada. It was said that Lady Head's watercolours of Barrack Hill (now Parliament Hill) influenced Queen Victoria to choose Ottawa as the national capital. The day following his laying the foundation stone of the Parliament Buildings, on September 1, 1860, the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, drove through the grounds of Rideau Hall. [Hubbard; p. 8-9]

Vice-regal home

In 1864, after Queen Victoria chose Ottawa in 1858 as the new capital of the Province of Canada, Rideau Hall was leased from the MacKay family by the Crown, for $4000 per year, to serve as only a temporary home for the vice-regal until a proper government house could be constructed in Ottawa. The original villa was enlarged to three or four times its size to accommodate the new functions, and once complete, the first Governor General of Canada, Viscount Monck, took residence. The additions were opposed by George Brown, as he claimed "the Governor General's residence is a miserable little house, and the grounds those of an ambitious country squire." Prime Minister John A. Macdonald agreed, complaining that more had been spent on patching up Rideau Hall than could have been used to construct a new royal palace. The building was eventually purchased outright in 1868, for the sum of $82,000. The house then became a social centre of Ottawa – even Canada – hosting foreign visitors (the first being Grand Duke Alexis, son of the Tsar, Alexander II), investiture ceremonies, swearing in ceremonies, balls, dinners, garden parties, children's parties, and theatre in the Rideau Hall ballroom, in which members of the household and vice-regal family would participate.

Negative first opinions of Rideau Hall were a theme until the early part of the 20th century. Upon arrival at the house in 1872, Lady Dufferin said in her journal: "We have been so very enthusiastic about everything hitherto that the first sight of Rideau Hall did lower our spirits just a little!" [Lady Dufferin; "Journal"; June 27, 1872] In 1893, Lady Stanley, wife of Governor General Lord Stanley, said "You will find the furniture in the rooms very old-fashioned & not very pretty... The red drawing room... had no furniture except chairs & tables... The walls are absolutely bare... The room which has always been the wife of the G.G.'s sitting room is very empty... There are no lamps in the house at all. No cushions, no table cloths, in fact none of the small things that make a room pretty & comfortable." [PAC, Aberdeen Papers, Lady Derby to Lady Aberdeen, 22 May 1893] Lady Aberdeen said upon her leaving Ottawa that Rideau Hall was a "shabby old Government House put away amongst its clump of bushes..." [Saywell; "Canadian Journal"; 19 Nov 1898; pp. 478, 479] Various improvements were undertaken over the decades, however, seeing the first gas chandeliers and a telegraph wire put in, as well as the construction of the ballroom the same year. By the time Rideau Hall was to live up to its role as a royal home, when its first royal residents, the Duke of Argyll and his wife, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, moved in at the beginning of 1878, many improvements had been completed. The Duke stated of the Hall: "Here we are settling down in this big and comfortable House, which I tell Louise is much superior to Kensington, for the walls are thick, the rooms are lathed and plastered (which they are not at Kensington) and there is an abundant supply of heat and light." [Lorne to Duke of Argyle, 4 December, 1878; MacNutt, W. Stewart; "Days of Lorne"; Fredricton, 1955; p. 242] By 1879 there were threats from Fenians on the life of the Princess, and she was ushered back to the UK for both rest and protection. When she returned in 1880, with the Queen greatly concerned for her daughter's safety, it was necessary to post extra guards around the grounds of Rideau Hall. [Hubbard; p. 57]

Their Majesties' Canadian residence

When King George VI and Queen Elizabeth arrived at Rideau Hall on May 19, 1939, during their first Royal Tour of Canada, official Royal Tour historian, Gustave Lanctot, stated: "When Their Majesties walked into their Canadian residence, the Statute of Westminster had assumed full reality: the King of Canada had come home." The King, while there, accepted the credentials of Daniel Calhoun Roper as Ambassador from the United States, a task ever previously performed by only the Governor General. [http://www.parl.gc.ca/Infoparl/english/issue.htm?param=130&art=820 Galbraith, William; "Canadian Parliamentary Review": Fiftieth Anniversary of the 1939 Royal Visit; Vol. 12, No. 3, 1989] ]

After the outbreak of World War II, plans were made for the King and Queen to reside in Canada. However, they were not to be established at Rideau Hall. The federal government, in 1940, purchased Hatley Castle, in Colwood, British Columbia, for use as a royal palace for King George VI and his family. [ [http://www.ltgov.bc.ca/whatsnew/sp/sp_may07_2004.htm Office of the Lieutenant Governor: Speech by Iona Campolo, Retired Heads of Mission Association's Gala Dinner, Royal Roads University, Hatley Castle, Victoria, BC, February 5, 2007] ] However, it was decided that the Royal Family leaving the United Kingdom at a time of war would be a major blow to morale, and they remained in Britain.

During the war itself, the resident Governor General's wife, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, could do little to add her personal touch to Rideau Hall, due to rationing and scarce supplies. The hall at that time became the residence in exile of a number of royals displaced by invasions of their countries back in Europe: Canada's royal guests were Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha of Norway, Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix of Luxembourg, King Peter of Yugoslavia, King George of Greece, Empress Zita of Bourbon-Parma (Austria) and her daughters, as well as Queen Wilhelmina, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, and Princess Margriet of the Netherlands; many of the royal ladies were put to work by Princess Alice, making clothing for Londoners who had lost their homes in the Blitz. [Hubbard; p. 201] It was in December 1941 that Winston Churchill arrived at Rideau Hall, where he presided over British Cabinet meetings via telephone from his bed. [Hubbard; p. 202]

It was also in 1940 that, reflecting the viceroy's evolved role in government, the Governor General's office on Parliament Hill was closed and moved to Rideau Hall. [ [http://www.gg.ca/visitus/pdf/tKit_e.pdf A Visit to Rideau Hall: Teacher's Guide; p. 1] ]

At the end of the war, the first peacetime ball was held for Dwight D. Eisenhower, and following this, life within the household returned more to normal, the transition from war to peace marked by the appointment of a new Governor General, Viscount Alexander, whose son, Brian, apparently used the portraits of Governors General throughout Rideau Hall as targets for his water pistol. [Hubbard; p. 212] In 1951 the Hall received its first post-war Canadian royal visitors: Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip. While there the couple partook in a square dance in the ballroom (wearing checked shirts). Churchill again returned to Rideau Hall in January, 1952, where he, sprawled on a sofa with a cigar in one hand and a brandy in the other, persuaded Alexander to join the British Cabinet. [Hubbard; p. 218]

With the death of George VI in 1952, the front of Rideau Hall was covered with black bunting as a sign of mourning. It was following this event that the new Queen, Elizabeth II, appointed the first Canadian-born vice-regal resident of her Canadian home, Vincent Massey.

Canadian vice-regal residents

Massey was the first single Governor General to occupy Rideau Hall, having been widowed two years before his installation; his daughter-in-law, Lilias, acted as Chatelaine of Rideau Hall. Massey spoke of Rideau Hall as "a piece of architecture that might be regarded as possessing a certain lovable eccentricity," in spite of "some of the most regrettable pieces of furniture I have ever seen." [Massey, Vincent; "Memoirs"; p. 462]

The number of formal occasions at the royal residence increased as Canada's diplomatic corps increased and the country gained greater status on the world stage; visitors during Massey's tenure included Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, President Dwight D. Eisenhower of the United States, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, Jawaharlal Nehru, and the Presidents of Germany, Italy, and Indonesia. With the greater ease of travel, more members of Canada's Royal Family visited as well, including the Queen Mother, the Princess Royal, the Duchess of Kent, Princess Margaret, the Duke of Edinburgh, and in 1957, the Queen herself was in residence. [Hubbard; pp. 223-224] Rideau Hall also saw the Queen in residence and holding audience with an influx of 53 foreign heads of state during Expo 67, held in Montreal, and Canada's centennial celebrations. With the rise of the Quebec sovereignty movement and the October Crisis of 1970, Rideau Hall was heavily guarded for a number of weeks. [Hubbard; p. 241]

The relatively free access to Rideau Hall and its grounds that was established in 1921, and previously enjoyed by tourists and local neighbours alike, ceased during Jeanne Sauvé's time as Governor General; access was made only through invitation, appointment, or pre-arranged tours on certain days. This decision was based on concerns of Royal Canadian Mounted Police and National Capital Commission for security of the vice-regal; however, Sauvé was reportedly personally worried about her safety, saying "I'm worried about those crazy men out there"; a comment contrary to one given in an interview before her swearing-in wherein she said of Rideau Hall: "Oh yes, definitely, it has to be open." The move caused controversy and offence amongst Ottawa residents. One group formed under the name Canada Unlock the Gate Group, and asserted the closure was more about Sauvé's selfish desire for privacy than any real security risks. "The Globe and Mail" reported in 1986 that the group wanted to boycott the Governor General's annual garden party because of what they called her "bunker mentality." Sauvé's successor, Ray Hnatyshyn, reopened the palace and gardens to the public. [ [http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-73-1593-10929/politics_economy/jeanne_sauve/clip9 CBC Archives: Closing off Rideau Hall] ]

The Hall was designated as a classified heritage property by the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office in 1986, giving it the highest heritage significance in Canada.


The name Rideau Hall was chosen by Thomas MacKay for his villa, drawing inspiration from the Rideau Canal which he has helped construct. The house was also known colloquially as "MacKay's Castle." Though once the house became the official residence of the Governor General it was termed formally as Government House, Rideau Hall stuck as the informal name. The existence of two names for the building led to some issue; in 1889 the Vice-regal consort, Lady Stanley, The Countess of Derby, was rebuked by Queen Victoria for calling the house Rideau Hall; it was to be Government House, as in all other Empire capitals. [Hubabrd; p. 67] Today, however, Rideau Hall is the commonly accepted term for the house, with Government House remaining only in use for very formal or legal affairs; for example, Royal Proclamations will finish with the phrase: "At Our Government House, in Our City of Ottawa..." [ [http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partII/2003/20031231/html/si188-e.html Canada Gazette: "Proclamation Designating July 28 of Every Year as "A Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval", Commencing on July 28, 2005"] ]


The residence was built in 1838 to house Scottish stone mason and contractor Thomas McKay and his family, who occupied it until 1855. The architecture of the home is generally in Victorian and Edwardian styles.

The original 1838 structure was relatively small; two stories with a full-height, central, curved bay, with an accordingly curved pediment on top, designed by MacKay (who also designed and built Earnscliffe) in a Regency style, inspired by architect Sir John Soane, [http://www.biographi.ca/EN/ShowBio.asp?BioId=38194 Library and Archives Canada: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: MacKay, Thomas] ] who himself had designed a never built government house for the then capital of Upper Canada, York, in 1818. [Hubbard; p. 5] Unlike today, the rooms for entertaining, sleeping and service areas were dispersed throughout the two floors of the villa. The main parlour was on the second level, in an oval room located within the curved, south bay.

Initially rented and seen as a temporary accommodation, the house has since been expanded numerous times. Lord Monck oversaw the first addition; a long wing extending the house to the east, built in a style that attempted to be harmonious with the original, but was intended to resemble the Governor General's residence in Quebec – Spencer Wood, which Monck greatly preferred – with a similar long, covered verandah, and an overall Norman style of design, typical of Quebec. [http://www.gg.ca/rh/rh_e.asp Governor General of Canada: Rideau Hall] ] This extension included a cross hall, and a new staircase capped by an ornate stained glass lantern. During Lord Dufferin's tenure the indoor tennis court and ballroom were added to the western end of the house in 1872, to the north and south of the main entrance. When Lord Minto arrived with his large family and household, the Minto Wing was constructed in 1899 on the east end of Rideau Hall, though it was again intended to only be a temporary measure until a proper Government House could be built. [Hubbard; p. 96] Minto's successor, Lord Grey, added the Governor General's study to the far east end of the Monck wing, symmetrically balancing out the curved bay and pediment of the MacKay villa to the west.

One of the greatest alterations to the form of Rideau Hall came in 1913, seeing the construction of the present main facade, including the block linking the Ballroom and Tent Room, and a re-facing of the two latter structures to harmonize their windows, cornice heights and materials in a "adapted Florentine architectural style" [Hubbard; p. 135] built from limestone ashlar, and designed by David Ewart, chief Dominion architect. Within this was a white marble and red carpeted reception hall, an upstairs were offices, a telephone exchange, and rooms for the Aides-de-Camp. This addition also included a Porte-cochere for formal arrivals and entrances; it was later fitted with permanent fanlights, under which glass doors are installed during the winter to provide an enclosed space in which to exit cars. The Long Gallery was added to the east of the Tent Room, and the main Dining Room was enlarged. The projects were completed by the following year. The pediment bears the shield, supporters and crown of the Royal coat of arms, and is believed to be one of the largest in the Commonwealth. [ [http://www.capcan.ca/bins/ncc_web_content_page.asp?cid=16300-20466-46885&lang=1&bhcp=1 National Capital Commission: Rehabilitation Work at Rideau Hall – Front Façade of the Mappin Wing] ]

Over the summer of 2007 the main facade of Rideau Hall underwent a major renovation by the National Capital Commission.

Art and decoration

Rideau Hall has long been a collection point of Canadian art and furnishings. As early as the first vice-regal inhabitants, the hall has held pieces by prominent Canadian cabinet makers, such as Jaques & Hay of Toronto, James Thompson of Montreal, and William Drum of Quebec. [Hubbard; p. 12] Originally, decoration was heavily Victorian, with many Rococo influences. Renovations, however, have turned the interiors into predominantly Georgian spaces.Hubbard, R.H.; "Rideau Hall"; McGill-Queen’s University Press; Montreal and London; 1977] Until the 1960s, the contents and colours of the house changed with each successive vice-regal family; the vice-regal consort typically seeing as her duty to update Rideau Hall to suit her tastes. As there were very few paintings in the permanent collection, the National Gallery would provide works on loan; a relationship that continues into the present.

Today the rooms are furnished both with elements from the history of the residence as well as art and artifacts that showcase contemporary Canadian culture, including pieces by the Group of Seven's Lawren Harris, Emily Carr, Jean Paul Lemieux, and Bill Reid. The Long Gallery's Oriental decoration was re-established at the direction of Vice-regal Consort Gerda Hnatyshynin 1993, putting back much of the furniture and artifacts that Lady Willingdon placed in the room in 1926, after her tour of China, including five carpets given by the Hong Kong Bank of Canada. The space, which now contains Glenn Gould's Steinway baby grand piano,MacMillan, Margaret; Harris, Majorie; Desjardins, Anne L.; "Canada's House"; Alfred A. Knopf Canada; 2004] is today used to greet and host functions for ambassadors and high commissioners to Canada. Another of the Consorts, Princess Louise, painted apple branches on a 6-panel Georgian door in the first-floor corridor; they remain there today. Nora Michener, wife of Governor General Roland Michener, donated a collection of Inuit sculpture.

Since Vincent Massey's time as Governor General, the vice-regal has worked closely with the Department of Public Works and Government Services in repairing and refubishing Rideau Hall; the department now provides a more systematic approach to the maintenance of the palace, with a full-time building manager. The National Capital Commission is charged with the decoration of the rooms; since 2004 the Commission has undertaken a project to restore many of the salons and other state rooms to the period in which they were first built.

Centre block

The only remaining part of the original MacKay villa is the Reception Room on the ground floor, and the Royal Suite above. Portraits of the Canadian Governors General (beginning with Vincent Massey) are hung in the former, where small ceremonies take place. The latter is an oval room that was once the drawing room of the original MacKay villa, and was subsequently used as a ballroom, studio, and study, before becoming the Queen's bedroom. Flanking the Reception Room are the Tent Room, hung with portraits of the British Governors General, and whose modern design is drawn from the original decor of striped fabric draped on the walls and hung in swaths from the ceiling in order to temporarily transform the tennis court into a dining hall, and the Ballroom, which is the centre of state life at Rideau Hall. It's in the latter space that honours and awards ceremonies take place, members of the cabinet are sworn in, ambassadors present their diplomatic credentials, and state dinners are held. Dominating the Ballroom is a Waterford chandelier, presented by the British government, on Victoria Day in 1951, in gratitude for Canada's role in World War II. The sterling silver sets on display in the Dining Room are on loan from Buckingham Palace. In an alcove, stained glass windows celebrate the excellence of Canadian performing artists and the establishment of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. [ [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/rm-ball_e.asp Governor General of Canada: Rideau Hall: The Ballroom] ]

In the entrance hall is the Royal Window; a stained glass piece commemorating the 40th anniversary of Elizabeth II's accession to the Throne, displaying the Royal Arms of Canada at the centre, surrounded by the heraldic shields of the provinces and territories. The window to the right of the front door commemorates the 40th anniversary of the first appointment of a Canadian as Governor General; the position is symbolised by the crowned lion holding a maple leaf, surrounded by the shields of the first seven Canadians to hold the post. [ [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/rm-entr-01_e.asp Governor General of Canada: Rideau Hall: The Entrance Hall: Symbols in Glass] ]

Monck Wing

In the Monck Wing, built in 1865-66, are the vice-regal suite, guest bedrooms, and various other drawing rooms and dining rooms generally for non-state affairs. The Pauline Vanier Room, a small sitting room where informal meetings are held with visiting heads of state and other officials, contains furniture and works by Canadian artisans. [http://www.alcuinsociety.com/amphora/144/RideauHall.html Barrett, Maurie; "Amphora": The Great Hunt for Governor General's Literary Award Winners; No. 144; October, 2006] ] Originally created by Pauline Vanier out of an old aide-de-camp smoking room, the room originally had pine panelling and antique Quebec furnishings, [Hubbard, p. 230] it was later redone to remove the tongue and groove planks, which were said to be reminiscent of suburban basement panelling popular in the 1970s. The Large Drawing Room is a space for formal gatherings of guests both before and after state events, and to entertain visiting heads of state and their party. Previously the Red Salon, the room underwent thorough renovations in 1901, updating it to the Edwardian style. The portraits in the Drawing Room depict the vice-regal consorts of previous Governors General. [ [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/rm-draw_e.asp Governor General of Canada: Rideau Hall: The Large Drawing Room] ] Formal meals are held in the Large Dining Room; sometimes state dinners for visiting heads of state of smaller nations are held there. The dining table seats up to 42 people. as with the Large Drawing Room, the dining room was renovated in 1909 to a similar Edwardian look; its present day form was implemented in the late 1940s, after various renovations altered the room's layout. [ [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/rm-dini_e.asp Governor General of Canada: Rideau Hall: Large Dining Room] ]

On the upper floor, each bedroom is named for a former British governor; the descendants of these men were approached in the 1990s with a request for donations of historical memorabilia. The Devonshires, relations of the Duke of Devonshire, presented a Regency mirror used at Chatsworth House. There is also a chapel, installed during the Michener period, which was made ecumenical and opened for both Anglican and Roman Catholic services in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II on July 2, 1967. [Hubbard; p. 242]

The Governor General's study contains a complete collection of Governor General's Literary Award winning works. Prior to 2005, the library was lacking more than 25% of the winning books. At the instigation of Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, the remainder were sought out. Today it forms the only complete collection of Governor General's Literary Award winners in existence.


Rideau Hall has always been a home for a collection of artwork, though originally many of the pieces were the personal property of the incumbent Governor General. Into the 20th century, however, more and more "official" works were received, either as gifts or bought to augment the collection.

In 1946 Sir James Dunn presented the Hall with two paintings by Johann Zoffany. During the tenure of Governor General Michaëlle Jean, Rideau Hall featured the exhibition "Body and Land", featuring select silkscreen prints from the artist's book "The Journals of Susanna Moodie" by author Margaret Atwood and artist Charles Pachter. The collection of furnishing, art and artifacts at Rideau Hall is comprised of private gifts from the Canadiana Fund (a foundation created by the Government of Canada), and from the Friends of Rideau Hall. [ [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/rm-long_e.asp Governor General of Canada: Rideau Hall: Long Gallery] ] Paintings are also provided from the Royal Collection.


Rideau Hall's 0.36 km² (88 acre) property, surrounded by a 2,500 metre (7,700 ft) cast iron and cast stone, Victorian style fence put up in 1928, contains a uniquely Canadian landscape in a designed "natural style," including broad lawns, groves of trees, and meandering roads and pathways. The entire site is divided into five distinct areas: the wooded entrance park (trees, groundcover, daffodils and lawn), the open parkland (open meadow), the sugar bush, the ornamental gardens (flower gardens), and the farm (buildings, Rideau Cottage, and open area). [ [http://www.ottawahort.org/yearbook2000-3.htm Dicaire, Linda; "Rideau Hall And Its Gardens"; Ottawa Horticultural Society: Yearbook 2000; page 19] ] The grounds have hosted a number of activities and events throughout its history as a royal residence. The earliest Governors General added amenities such as a curling rink, a skating pond, toboggan runs, tennis courts, and the like. Many of the guests at Rideau Hall would partake in these outdoor activities, including Prime Ministers Mackenzie King and Robert Borden who would often skate on the iced over pond with the Vice-regal Family. Of the tobogganing, Lieutenant William Galwey, a member of the survey team that laid out the Canada–US border along the 49th Parallel, and which visited Rideau Hall in November 1871, said: "It is a most favourite amusement at Government House. Ladies go in for it. I think they like rolling over and over with the gentlemen." [Parsons; "49th Parallel"; p. 130-31]

The grounds have always contained vegetable and herb gardens, from which plants, fruits and edible flowers are used in the palace kitchens, potatoes having once been the most important crop. The property used to support a herd of cattle, and fields were used to grow hay. [ [A Visit to Rideau Hall: Teacher's Guide; p. 14] ] A greenhouse and flower garden provide flowers for the Hall and the other government buildings in Ottawa. During the early spring months, the maples throughout the property are tapped for syrup making.

The grounds of Rideau Hall have been open to the public since 1921, when Lord Byng's aide-de-camp resolved to open Government House to "all who had a right to be there," [Willis-O'Connor, H., Macbeth, Madge; "Inside Government House"; Toronto, 1954; p. 15] a move that outraged the traditionalists. Under the tenure of Governor General Jeanne Sauvé the grounds of Rideau Hall were closed to the public. However, following her, Ray Hnatyshyn reversed this decision. Today an expanded visitors' centre has been established to facilitate tours. Each year the Governor General holds a New Year's Levee that welcomes guests from the public to attend and participate in skating, sledding, and refreshments. The event traces its roots back to the French royal government.

The grounds were transformed throughout the decades along with the house: Lady Byng created the existent rock garden, with a reflecting pool and wild corner for growing trilliums and orchids, a totem pole from British Columbia was added, and an inukshuk built to commemorate National Aborigional Day in 1997. Also, every time Rideau Hall receives a dignitary on an official visit, they are asked to plant a tree. As such, the grounds of Rideau Hall, mostly along the main drive, are filled with nearly 100 trees that have small plaques at their bases listing the name and position of the planter. [ [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/rm-gard-02_e.asp Governor General of Canada: Rideau Hall: Gardens and Grounds] ] These include The Queen Mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Charles, King George VI, and numerous by Queen Elizabeth II. Foreign dignitaries who have planted trees include John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan, Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, and Vicente Fox, to name a few. The grounds of Rideau Hall also contain many statues, emblems and other artifacts for the public to enjoy, including a totem pole (a gift to Lord Alexander) by Kwakiutl carver Mungo Martin, and a stone inukshuk by artist Kananginak Pootoogook, from Cape Dorset, Nunavut, on Baffin Island. [ [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/rm-gard-03_e.asp Governor General of Canada: Rideau Hall: Gardens and Grounds] ]

The grounds also host the Rideau Hall Cricket Association and Ottawa Valley Cricket Council, which continues the tradition of cricket being played in the royal residence's gardens, beginning when the cricket pitch was laid out by Lord Monck in 1866. Matches continue to be played at the Hall during summer weekends. [ [http://www.gg.ca/visitus/ovcc_e.asp Governor General of Canada: Rideau Hall Cricket Association] ]

ee also

* Government House
* Government Houses of Canada
* Government Houses of the British Empire
* Official residence
* List of palaces
* List of buildings in Ottawa
* List of old Canadian buildings
* List of national historic sites of Canada


External links

* [http://www.gg.ca/visitus/index_e.asp Rideau Hall]
* [http://www.gg.ca/visitus/pdf/tKit_e.pdf Visit to Rideau Hall: Teacher's Guide]
* [http://www.rjhf.com/oldsites/removed_june2003/rideau/rideau2.htm Photo gallery of Rideau Hall]
* [http://www.icomos.org/~fleblanc/projects/p_or_rideau-hall.html Restoration work to Rideau Hall]


The Governor General's website maintains QuickTime panoramas of a number of Rideau Hall's rooms, though these are no longer directly available through the site.
* [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/vr-rm-entr_e.asp Entrance Hall]
* [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/vr-rm-tent_e.asp Tent Room]
* [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/vr-rm-long_e.asp Long Gallery]
* [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/vr-rm-rece_e.asp Reception Room]
* [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/vr-rm-ball_e.asp Ballroom]
* [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/vr-rm-cana_e.asp Pauline Vanier Room]
* [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/vr-rm-draw_e.asp Large Drawing Room]
* [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/vr-rm-dini_e.asp Large Dining Room]
* [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/vr-rm-gree_e.asp Greenhouse]
* [http://www.gg.ca/rh/vr/vr-rm-gard_e.asp Gardens and grounds]

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  • Rideau Hall — ist die offizielle Residenz der Königin von Kanada (das heißt des Monarchen) und des Generalgouverneurs von Kanada als dem jeweiligen Stellvertreter im Lande. Das Gelände liegt im Sussex Drive, Hausnummer 1 in Ottawa und umfasst 32 Hektar Land.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Rideau Hall — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda La entrada principal de Rideau Hall Rideau Hall es la residencia oficial del Monarca canadiense y del Gobernador General de Canadá. La casa está ubicada en las afueras de Ottawa, Ontario, la capital nacional… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Rideau Hall — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Rideau (homonymie). Rideau Hall La façade principale de Rideau Hall Période ou style S …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rideau Hall (TV series) — infobox television show name = Rideau Hall caption = format = Sitcom runtime = 30 minutes creator = starring = country = flagicon|Canada Canada network = CBC Television first aired = January 18, 2002 last aired = 2002 num episodes = 6 (+ 1 hour… …   Wikipedia

  • Rideau Hall Rebels — The Rideau Hall Rebels or, by its full name, the Vice Regal and Parliamentary Hockey Club was one of the first ice hockey teams in Canada. The team was based out of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and named after Rideau Hall, a Canadian governmental… …   Wikipedia

  • Rideau Hall — Ottawa residence of the Governor General of Canada …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • Rideau — which means curtain in the french language is a popular name for geographical features and organizations in the Ottawa, Canada area. This can be traced to Samuel de Champlain who first used Rideau when naming the Rideau Falls which he thought… …   Wikipedia

  • Rideau (homonymie) — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Un rideau est une pièce de tissu. Voir aussi : Rideau de théâtre Rideau de fer Rideau de douche Rideau en perle de buis Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hall Of Presidents — The Hall Of Presidents est une attraction unique du parc Magic Kingdom de Walt Disney World Resort en Floride. Elle est l attraction centrale de Liberty Square dont le thème concerne l époque historique suivant la Guerre de Sécession. C est un… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hall of presidents — The Hall Of Presidents est une attraction unique du parc Magic Kingdom de Walt Disney World Resort en Floride. Elle est l attraction centrale de Liberty Square dont le thème concerne l époque historique suivant la Guerre de Sécession. C est un… …   Wikipédia en Français

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