Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Paying A Visit To Laurier House

The Sandy Hill neighbourhood was a location for several Doors Open happenings, and one of them was Laurier House. A National Historic Site, it was the home of two prime ministers- Wilfred Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King. Today it is open from May through to Thanksgiving in October for visitors (though my last visit in the fall took place after the usual closing, since the celebration of Laurier's birthday was taking place and the house had been re-opened for the weekend).  It contains mementos from both prime ministers, as well as Laurier's wife Zoe. 

The house was built in 1879 for an Ottawa jeweller, and called Kininvie at first. Designed in the Second Empire Style, it became home in 1896 to the Lauriers. Upon the death of Wilfred in 1919, Zoe Laurier lived here two more years until her death. She willed the house to King, who was the leader of the Liberal Party at that point. The Lauriers and King both made modifications to the place over time.

The Morning Room is here on the ground floor. Lady Laurier used it for entertaining visitors, while King used it as an overflow space from the drawing and dining rooms, also on this floor.

This is a part of the first floor that I hadn't shown you before. In King's day, this was an office space for the Mounties who were assigned to protection detail for the Prime Minister. A uniform and hat are placed here behind the desk, as well as a photo of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth that would have been from the period.

I did catch this mirror last time, but this is a different angle, also catching one of the Parks Canada interpreters in the glass. Our National Historic Sites are overseen by Parks Canada. 

Here we have the dining room.

And this is the drawing room.

Up one flight takes us to the second floor of the house, which is designated the first floor. It was private quarters for the family, guests, and servants. The Laurier Library was Wilfred's office space in the house when he lived here. King used it as a guest room. Today a player piano is among its decor.

Here we have a formal portrait of Laurier himself. I have more from here tomorrow.


  1. Wonderful photos, William! I love things from this period!

  2. Very beautiful building/home.
    The Open Door days are such a good idea.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

  3. Beautiful place. Looks comfortable and spacious. Have a great day!

  4. I would spend all of my time in the morning room.


  5. What a lovely space. Nice to see it's been so well-maintained too!

  6. @Linda: so do I.

    @Parsnip: it is!

    @Francisco: thank you!

    @Nancy: it is quite an appealing place.

    @Janis: I'd be drawn to the top floor study!

    @Tom: indeed!

    @Halcyon: it is well looked after.

  7. Hello, what a lovely home. Another wonderful tour. Have a great day and week ahead!

  8. Interesting interiors and details, William !

  9. Keeping the house keeps history of these two prime ministers. I recently read a Laurier biography. I've never read King so It's on my list.

  10. Oh wow, that player piano brought back some memories for me. When I was a little kid we had a player piano and my dad would hook up one of those music scrolls every now and then and entertain us kids. Those scrolls would fascinate me.

  11. @Eileen: it is quite a place to visit.

    @Cloudia: definitely!

    @Karl: I agree!

    @Red: they were both infinitely complex men. Great leaders.

    @Sussi: it really is.

    @Sharon: I remember visiting the place years ago for the first time, and hearing the sound of ragtime music coming from upstairs. I wondered who was playing, and was surprised to find no one was playing!

  12. I like the look of that big comfy porch! I seem to be into porches lately! ;-)

  13. I like the drawing room. Use of blue is very nice!

  14. Interesting building and well cared for.

  15. Love those awnings. Very useful this time of year.

  16. I like the morning room, with all of it's windows.

  17. @Marleen: it certainly is!

    @RedPat: this is quite a spot. Apparently in July and August they have a tea here once a week.

    @Tamago: it certainly is.

    @Bill: it was well worth preserving.

    @Jenny: it certainly does.

    @Revrunner: definitely!

    @Janey: it is a beauty.

  18. You have a vast and rich culture!

  19. It's another treasure. So nice that it's been preserved.

  20. I had a player piano very similar to that one. It belonged to my grandfather.

  21. The Mountie uniform made me think of Lars. Does he come from a long line of Mounties?

  22. It's a far cry from present day, isn't it?! Or Trump Tower!

  23. Cosy seats. Mirror with golden frame is beautiful!

  24. @Tammie: we do.

    @Kay: I agree.

    @Linda: this one is fun.

    @Norma: he does!

    @Jennifer: true.

    @Klara: it is.