Description of Historic Place
The Farm House sits surrounded by trees in the landscaped setting of the Farm at Mackenzie King Estate in Gatineau Park. It is a one-and-a-half storey, wood-frame structure with a gable roof and large dormers. It is composed of a three bay front section with a central entrance and verandah, and an additional wing. The building’s walls are clad in horizontal wood siding and multi-pane wood windows with shutters are regularly arranged across the façades. Stone chimneys add to the picturesque appearance of the building in its natural park surroundings. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Farm House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Farm House, as part of the Farm at the Mackenzie King Estate, is associated with Canada’s 10th Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King. In 1927, King justified the purchase of the McGillivray farm, bordering on his Moorside estate, with the proposal to promote scientific agriculture. By means of this acquisition, King became the owner of a farm with agricultural dependents. After a disappointing experience with sheep breeding, he abandoned "the farm" for a few years to devote himself entirely to his country cottage at Moorside. In 1935, King hired architect J. Albert Ewart to transform the farmhouse into a year-round comfortable residence. The Prime Minister passed away in the building on July 22, 1950. Since then, the Farm has accommodated the Speaker of the House of Commons.
The Farm House is valued for its very good aesthetic and functional design. The renovations initiated by the King in 1935 transformed the farmhouse into a comfortable winterized residence, while retaining the essential character of the building. Two staff bedrooms were added, as well as more guest suites, a library, a much grander entrance foyer, and elaborate ornamental plastering and mouldings. Nevertheless, the exterior design is sympathetic to the original building in its materials and general proportions.
The Farm House reinforces the picturesque character of its estate park 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; The Farm, Mackenzie King Estate, Gatineau Park, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 84-015.
The following character-defining elements of the Farm House should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic design, good functional design, and good craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the one-and-a-half storey massing which consists of a three-bay wide structure with a large wing addition, front verandah and gable roof with dormers and stone chimneys;
- the wood-frame construction;
- the horizontal wood cladding, multi-pane wood windows and shutters;
- the symmetrical arrangement of windows;
- the central location of the main entrance on the front façade;
- the interior layout, which includes living and reception rooms, kitchens and servant’s quarters, bedrooms, a library, guest suites and a grand entrance foyer;
- the interior finishes such as the elaborate ornamental plastering and mouldings.
The manner in which the Farm House reinforces the present picturesque character of its estate park setting and is familiar in the area, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, design and materials, which harmonize with its landscape and natural surroundings and complement the adjacent buildings at the estate;
- its familiarity in the immediate area due to its associations with a former Prime Minister of Canada and its role as the residence of the Speaker of the House of Commons;
- its visibility to visitors due to its location in Gatineau Park at Mackenzie King Estate.