Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Constructed over many periods, to the visitor MacKay Castle presents a grand pedimented formal façade that incorporates extensions added by former Governors General. Reached from the main gates by a winding roadway, MacKay Castle is the centrepiece of an extensive property, Rideau Hall, laid out in the manner of a 19th-century country estate. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
MacKay Castle was designated a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its important historical associations, because it establishes the character of the neighbourhood, and because of its high landmark value. The designation applies to all remnants of the original house built by Thomas MacKay and to those subsequent additions and alterations, which contribute strongly to the present grandiose, if eclectic, nature of the complex. As the official Government House, the residence of the Crown's representative in Canada, the MacKay Castle at Rideau Hall it is a focal point of political and social life in the nation's capital.
A two-storey wing was added in 1865, the ballroom in 1873, the tent room in 1876-78 and the Minto wing in 1898-99. In 1914 a grand pedimented front was built to link the ballroom to the tent room creating the characteristic view of MacKay Castle at Rideau Hall familiar to most Canadians today.
Sources: Staff Report, Rideau Hall, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 85-066; Rideau Hall, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 85-066.
The heritage value of the MacKay Castle is reflected in:
- its evolutionary character, which records the tastes and ambitions of a succession of notable occupants;
- the landmark northwest façade, the ballroom, the tent room, the south façade of the long 1865 addition, and the greenhouse;
- the relationship of the building to its grounds, which have their own intrinsic value.
Government of Canada
Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy
Classified Federal Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Québec
Cross-Reference to Collection