Rideau Hall

From Academic Kids

Rideau Hall is the official residence of the Governor General of Canada, and is the place of residence of the Monarch of Canada when visiting Ottawa.

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Rideau Hall, residence of the Governor General of Canada

It is located on 79 acres (0.32 km2) of land at One Sussex Drive in Ottawa. It was built in 1838 to house Scottish stone mason Thomas MacKay and his family, who occupied the residence until 1855.

After Queen Victoria chose Ottawa in 1858 as the new capital of the Province of Canada, in 1864 Rideau Hall became the residence of the governor general of British North America, Lord Monck. In 1867 Lord Monck became the first governor general of the Dominion of Canada, and Rideau Hall has continued as the residence of his successors. Initially rented and seen as a temporary accommodation, the house has since been expanded numerous times, including the addition of an indoor tennis court in 1872, as well as an ice skating rink and a tobogganing slide, though the slide and tennis court no longer exist.

The main entrance, completed in 1913, contains all the heraldic shields of the governors of Canada, beginning with Samuel de Champlain, the first governor of New France. There are portraits of the British governors general in the Tent Room and portraits of the Canadian-born governors general (beginning with Vincent Massey) in the Reception Room. Portraits of the spouses of the governors general are found in the Drawing Room.

Today, the residence is used to officially receive foreign heads of state and both incoming and outgoing ambassadors to Canada. It is also the site of presentation for many Canadian awards, including the Order of Canada, the Order of Military Merit, and the Decorations for Bravery, customarily presented in the ballroom. It is also where the official ceremonies swearing in a newly chosen prime minister and his ministers take place, as well as the place where the writ of an election is dropped.

Though the architecture of the home is generally in Victorian and Edwardian styles, the rooms are furnished both with elements from the history of the residence as well as art and artifacts that showcase Canadian culture, including pieces by the Group of Seven's Lawren Harris, Emily Carr, and Bill Reid. A greenhouse and flower garden, which also contain many Canadian symbols such as a totem pole from British Columbia, provide flowers for the Hall and the other government buildings in Ottawa.

Other Canadian official residences

See also

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