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Rideau Hall

1 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/10/03

Aerial view of Rideau Hall, showing the relationship of the building to its grounds, which have their own intrinsic value, 1977.; Government House / Résidence du Gouverneur général, 1977.
Aerial view
General view of the McKay Castle front façade, 2003.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 2003.
McKay Castle.
No Image

Other Name(s)

Rideau Hall
MacKay Castle
Château MacKay

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1838/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/04/02

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Constructed over many periods, to the visitor Rideau Hall presents a grand pedimented formal facade that incorporates extensions added by former Governors General. Reached from the main gates by a winding roadway, Rideau Hall is the centrepiece of an extensive property laid out in the manner of a 19th century country estate. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Rideau Hall was designated a Classified 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 McKay House 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, 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 Rideau Hall familiar to most Canadians today.

Character-Defining Elements

The historical significance of Rideau Hall is reflected in its evolutionary character, which records the tastes and ambitions of a succession of notable occupants. The designation applies to all remnants of the original McKay House and to those msubsequent additions and alterations which contribute strongly to the present grandiose, if eclectic, nature of the complex. Of particular note are the landmark northwest façade, the Ballroom, the Tent Room, the south façade of the long 1865 addition and the Greenhouse. Also important is the relationship of the building to its grounds, which have their own intrinsic value.
Various reorientations of the building, its layout, and its grounds have taken place over the years, affecting the property's functional characteristics as well as its architectural style and massing. The present layout and decorative treatment, particularly of them more public areas, should be maintained. Alterations, if required, should be used to
reveal or reinstate earlier patterns of use, or to highlight important surviving elements of previous phases. New
additions or insertions should be kept to a minimum. Where required, they should be sympathetic to the historical material but clearly of their own time, so as not to obscure the evolutionary nature of the property.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date

1986/10/03

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type

Current

Government
Residence

Historic

Residence
Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

Thomas MacKay

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

2710

Status

Published

Related Places

General view

Rideau Hall and Landscaped Grounds National Historic Site of Canada

Rideau Hall and Landscaped Grounds is a large wooded estate located near the Ottawa River in the nation’s capital. Since 1864 it has served as the residence of the Governor…

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