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Moorside, Main House

Gatineau Park, Chelsea, Quebec, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1984/11/27

View of the exterior of the Main House, showing the deep verandah, which gives the building a low horizontal profile.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view
View of the entrance of the Main House, showing the one-and-a-half storey, asymmetrical massing with a gable roof and the window arrangement and treatment, 1984.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, M. Trépanier, 1984.
Side view of the Main House, showing the wood frame construction and cladding.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
Exterior view

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/02/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Main House, located at Moorside on the Mackenzie King Estate in Gatineau Park, sits on a large lawn dotted with a variety of trees and a formal flower garden. It is a picturesque, one-and-a-half storey, wooden gable-roofed building. A balustraded terrace, ornamental balcony, French windows and a deep verandah provide elevated views over the grounds and countryside. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Main House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
The Main House, as part of Moorside at Mackenzie King Estate, is directly associated with Canada’s 10th Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King. Moorside was closely associated with the politics of Canada during the life of King, and represents a highly personalized portrait of the former Prime Minister and insight into his interests, tastes, and acute sense of the Romantic. It is also associated with many other major political figures who came to visit King. It is believed to have been the scene of many formal and informal political meetings, where he would bring his honourable guests to admire his artistic accomplishments on the Moorside property. The large estate, inclusive of three separate sites; Kingswood, Moorside and the Farm; was regarded by King himself as his true legacy to the Canadian people.

Architectural Value
The Main House is valued for its very good aesthetic design, modeled upon an English country residence of the picturesque tradition. Converted from a ‘little house’ into a residence with a design rooted in that of an English cottage, these transformations resulted in a low-lying, functional design that merges into the landscape, a fundamental principle of the English landscape tradition. Standard design components of an English country residence, incorporated elevated views over the grounds and countryside with a balcony and terrace. Good craftsmanship and materials are evident throughout.

Environmental Value
The Main House reinforces the picturesque character of its country estate setting in Gatineau Park and is a familiar building within the immediate area.

Sources: Marc de Caraffe, La domaine Mackenzie King, Kingsmere, Parc de la Gatineau, Quebec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 84-015; Mackenzie King Estate: Moorside, Gatineau Park, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 84-015.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Main House should be respected:

Its very good aesthetic and functional design, and good craftsmanship and materials, for example.
- the one-and-a-half storey, asymmetrical massing with a gable roof and the gabled addition with dormers along the south elevation;
- the wood frame construction and cladding;
- the deep verandah, which gives the building a low horizontal profile;
- the French windows leading onto the balustraded terrace, the pergola covered with vines, and the ornamental balcony;
- the window arrangement and treatment.

The manner in which the Main House reinforces the present picturesque character of its country estate setting and is familiar in the area, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, design and materials, which harmonize with its formal landscaped surroundings and complement the adjacent buildings at the estate;
- its familiarity in the immediate area due to its associations with a former Prime Minister;
- its visibility and familiarity to visitors of the estate, due to its role as a summer tearoom and its location in Gatineau Park.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type




Architect / Designer

William Lyon Mackenzie King



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




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