Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Home For Prime Ministers

Laurier House is a National Historic Site in Sandy Hill, a neighbourhood east of the University of Ottawa. It was home to two of our Prime Ministers, Wilfred Laurier and William Lyon MacKenzie King. It took part in Doors Open once again this year, though it is open to the public throughout the year. However, photographs inside are not permitted; more's the pity.


The house dates back to 1878, and was the residence for Laurier and his wife Zoe from 1897 until their deaths. It was willed to Mackenzie King, who left the house in his will to the nation upon his death. The house is managed by Parks Canada, and contains rooms decorated with personal items and furnishings from the residents, in the fashion of the time.


There are all sorts of unusual things to be found inside, including one of those pianos that plays itself, and a plaster casting of the hands and face of Abraham Lincoln, done in 1860. It's peculiar to look at that face all this time later. One of the staff explained that the casting is one of three copies in the world; another copy is in the Smithsonian, while the last is in a private collection in the United States.


The wraparound porch outside is an ideal place to sit for a spell. In their time, I imagine the Lauriers and Mackenzie King would have made good use of it.





32 comments:

  1. I love the green and white awnings.

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  2. Neat shots of this old house. I love looking around these places.

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  3. Interesting fact about the Abraham Lincoln castings.

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  4. That wrap around porch is fabulous. Would love to spend an afternoon or evening there.

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  5. The porch looks very inviting to have a seat there.

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  6. Especially on a day like the one we had here yesterday, William. Heck! You might have even just slept on the porch, too. :-)

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  7. Seems to be a wonderful house with a rich history, but I think it's rather strange you can go in there with Open Doors, but it's not allowed to make photos ...

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  8. It is always nice to learn something new and this post has a lot of interesting facts!

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  9. Looks like a fine porch to sip iced tea on though.

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  10. The porch looks like it could be a nice brasserie. I go crazy when photography isn't permitted. I can understand it for exhibitions of living artists but that's it...

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  11. I love the wraparound porch. They don't build houses like they used to.

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  12. the awnings and veranda make it look like it would be a great restaurant site!

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  13. @Linda: so do I.

    @Denise: it's in a display case, but you're so close to it that you clearly see the details in the face.

    @Stuart: so would I!

    @Bieb: someday I want a porch along these lines.

    @Revrunner: hot days call for a good porch with awnings.

    @Jan: well, it is the policy, unfortunately. Mackenzie King's library in particular would have drawn my camera.

    @VP: thank you!

    @Birdman: oh yes!

    @Ciel: I wish they'd reverse that policy.

    @Norma: they certainly don't.

    @Tex: there are houses here that date from the era that have been converted into restaurants. I should photograph them.

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  14. I started commenting and poof it all disappeared---where?
    Anyway it is an interesting house. I like the wraparound porch and awnings. It certainly a pity one cannot photograph the indoors. I would like to see MORE!! MB

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    1. I've been having that same problem on Blogger, lately as well.

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  15. That porch looks very comfortable and would be a spot where I would spend time. Too bad no pictures were allowed inside because I can imagine it is beautiful.

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  16. I like the building as shown on the first photo. Great architecture.

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  17. The wraparound porch is nice. Though I'm wondering why Canada has a cast of Lincoln's face and hands.

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  18. @MB: the house inside really is so lovely too!

    @Luis: thanks!

    @Judy: it really is.

    @Marleen: I'll have to photograph it in different seasons.

    @Cheryl: I think it was presented as a gift years later to the Liberal Party here.

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  19. Beautiful old residence, love the porch William, or as we used to call them in Africa a verandah, keeps the house so cool in summer.

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  20. What a beautiful and historic home. I love the huge porch. When I was growing up in Illinois, we used to have an old "player piano" and lots and lots of the player rolls of music to go with it. Gosh it was fun to listen to.

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  21. Love that porch! I can imagine sitting out there for hours.

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  22. It is a beautiful home. I enjoy visiting historic homes. This would be on my list if I get up to Ottawa. And . . . that porch! What a fine place to be lazy!

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  23. It is a pity they don't allow photography inside.
    I saw one life mask for Lincoln at the Smithsonian but I think it was one done just weeks before his death. His face was very aged and deeply lined. It's interesting to know that one of the earlier ones is living in Canada.

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  24. The inside must be fabulous! I did not know that Canada possessed one of the Lincoln casts.

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  25. @Grace: we do sometimes call them verandahs as well.

    @Sharon: the first time I went in and heard the piano, it was playing something from the swing genre. I wondered who was playing like that.

    @RedPat: I defintitely want something like that in a future house.

    @Jack: a nice place to spend four hours sitting on that porch.

    @Kay: I was looking around the other day to verify details on this one- I saw that other mask. It's such a contrast between the two.

    @Mari: it seems such an unlikely object for a place so filled with Canadian history.

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  26. I'd like to sit on that porch! Looks very pleasant.

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  27. Ever have the urge to sneak a photo??!!

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