In my last post, I wrote about visiting Notre Dame in Ottawa, this time I’m going to talk about Rideau Hall.
Rideau Hall is the home of Canada’s Governor General.
The Governor General acts as a link between the Queen and the Canadian Government. Her job is to know the voices of the people and to advise and guide the Prime Minister. Currently, we have a female Governor General. One usually serves a term of 5 years. We alternate between male and female, as well as French and English. The last Governor General was the former President of the University of Waterloo, which is part of Kitchener-Waterloo, which is my hometown. WOOO go us!
Rideau Hall is a gorgeous house on a gorgeous property.
Le Brother had done some work there in the greenhouses converting it from steam heating to hot water pipe heating (don’t ask me any other questions because I don’t know the answers) but he had never had the chance to actually view the house. We went on the same day as the Cathedral, just in the afternoon. There is free parking on some of the residential streets around Rideau Hall, so take advantage of that. We were lucky enough to park right beside one of the gates, so getting back to the car was really easy.
Our tour was free (awesome!) and was about 45 minutes. Unlike the Cathedral earlier that morning, there were multiple tours happening at the same time. Tours are offered in French and English, obviously. Also, unlike the Cathedral, we had to go through security before the tour began. It was an easy enough check, just a simple metal detector. Women also needed to have their bags open with the zippers undone.
The guide that did our tour was full of very interesting facts about the house. It was also her 19th birthday that day. The only thing that really annoyed me was that she started every sentence with the word “However”. I hate to reference The Princess Bride, but:
The tour consisted of the entranceway (the door in my very first picture, we left through there which is The Queen’s Entrance. I literally walked where Queen Elizabeth has walked! OMG) In addition, we were able to view five other rooms.
The second room was my favourite. It’s called The Tent Room.
This room was originally an actual tent! The British Governor General who lived there was fond of a good Britsh picnic, but soon learned that the Canadian winters were not the best place for them. So he had a tent set up inside, so he could still enjoy the feel of his garden parties just not the bitter windchill of Ottawa in the middle of January.
Now the room is decorated to still keep with that feeling, and as you can see, it does look like the inside of a tent. The portraits along the walls are all the British Governor Generals who were appointed before it changed to only Canadians who are allowed to take the post. Not pictured in my photograph is the portrait of Lord Stanley.
Ya’ll might recognize that name. He is the one who created the Stanley Cup. He purchased a silver cup and donated it to the winners of a tournament which ended in March of 1894. That cup became the Stanley Cup! Cool, huh?! There is a rumour that there is another silver cup somewhere in Rideau Hall, but it hasn’t been found. Our tour guide thinks that it’s probably holding some fruit or some flowers.
We walked through two more rooms and then came into the ballroom. Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious – the ballroom!!
It was beautiful! And all I wanted to do was get dressed up in a huge dress that I could barely walk in and dance around that floor.
Speaking of the floor, the carpet has a special story to it. It used to be white. And one day, when it was raining, they had to pull the guards inside for inspection, and they made a horrible horrible mess. Obviously: shoe polish, rain, mud, their big puffy black hats which apparently drip black dye when wet – I can’t even imagine the mess! So they had a new carpet made. It’s all one piece and was made in Kitchener-Waterloo (woot-woot! Hometown is representing again!) But, since it is one giant piece when they rolled it up to bring it in, they couldn’t get it in through the doors! They had to have twenty-two people hoist it up and toss it in through the window! HAHA
After the tour, Le Brother and I walked through the gardens a little bit more before heading out. There was even a cricket match being played on one of the lawns! It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon!