The purpose of my trip out to New Edinburgh on Family Day in February was to visit Rideau Hall's grounds in winter conditions. The Hall is the official residence of Canada's Governor General. It is largely a ceremonial role, assuming the duties of the monarch, in a job that typically lasts five to seven years. Its traditions go back to the governors of New France, and after the end of the French and Indian War, British Governor Generals filled the role for decades. Since Vincent Massey, the job has then been held by a Canadian. The property occupies nearly eighty acres, and much of that is open to the public to come visit.
The rose garden of course is dormant through the winter.
There were other visitors on the paths that day.
The manor itself is just visible through the trees here, something that's not particularly possible when everything is leafed out.
And here we have a view of it upon approaching. The flag of the governor general was flying, so she was in residence. The job takes her across the country regularly, as well as other places around the world.
Tours of the manor vary through the year. During the high season of summer, it's best to come here in the afternoon and perhaps take a tour around two in the afternoon- the busy season requires no photography during tours, but if you're touring at that time of day, the building opens up to a walk through around three PM that allows the photographer to come back through. Fall is a transition time for tours, with less of them, so you can photograph during a tour. And over the winter, reservations are required- they do tours when they have enough people. Family Day was an exception- the Hall had regular tours that you could come join, in English and in French. As I was here anyway, I decided to join a tour, and took the French version, since there was just myself, the guide, and a couple. My spoken French is rusty, but I understand it quite well.
The route of the tour goes through a security checkpoint first, and then comes into the main entrance lobby that you can see in the above shot. This hall is filled with portraits of previous Canadian governor generals from Vincent Massey on. The last one, David Johnston, who retired last fall, has not yet had his portrait done.
We moved off next to the Tent Room. This is dominated by a portrait of Queen Victoria at the far end. British Governor Generals are found in portraits around the room. This was added onto the manor after the Canadian government acquired the property in 1867 to house the governor general. The room was used as a recreational space for tennis, and doubled as a reception area, as British nobles were used to giving garden parties, but couldn't actually do so in an Ottawa winter. These days it is reception space.
This sitting area is off the Tent Room. The piano at the far end was willed to the country by the late Glenn Gould.