I am returning today to my Gatineau Park series, taken on a Sunday visit last month as part of Fall Rhapsody. As I mentioned when I left off, one of my stops was the Mackenzie King Estate. Given to the people of Canada in his will by William Lyon Mackenzie King, one of our best prime ministers, the estate consists of 231 hectares. Starting in 1903, King accumulated it over time, buying up land along the shore of Kingsmere Lake, and building two homes, while purchasing another nearby to make a weekend retreat for himself. Two of those homes, Kingswood and Moorside, are open to the public, while the last, a 19th century farmhouse called the Farm, is today used as the official residence of the Speaker of the House of Commons. This is the main entrance, with photographs and information about King on panels.
There was a notice put up about bear sightings. Needless to say there were enough people around on this day that there was no bear to be seen.
I went down towards Kingswood. Here and there on the estate, quotes by King have been placed in sign form. This one reads 'I felt better the minute I was at Kingsmere. The air here is fine, the trees fresh, lovely.'
Here we have the pathway towards Kingswood.
Crossing onto the part of the estate designated as Kingswood, this sign is close by, another quote. 'Such happiness as I felt in being beneath my own roof, amid the trees.'
Kingswood takes its name from a combination of the nearby lake, Kingsmere (a name that preceded King's time here, but certainly would have appealed to him) and his childhood home in Kitchener- Woodside. This was where he first started building a weekend home for himself as a young politician and lawyer at the dawn of the 20th century. A garage, two cottages, and a boathouse are found here. This view takes in the garage as I approached. Note the dachshund (courage of a lion, body of a sausage) walking his human; there were a number of dogs around while I was here.
Here we have the garage from the other side. When King would come up, he'd bring household staff with him, and their quarters ended up in the second level of the garage. In Ottawa, he lived at Laurier House, the home he inherited from the Lauriers after the death of Zoe Laurier, first as Liberal leader and then as Prime Minister, but the estate quickly became a favoured retreat for him.
The guest cottage lies beyond the garage. Its presence here dates to 1922- King had bought neighbouring land that had the cottage, and had the building moved here to accompany the regular guests he would have.
Between the two buildings is this structure, a pergola, which is an outdoor garden structure. This one had hanging baskets.
Across from the guest cottage is the main cottage, which we'll get a closer look at tomorrow.
While the garage itself was closed, I was surprised to find that the cottages were open- I had expected, since my visit was after Thanksgiving, that the cottages would be closed for the season. I stepped into the guest cottage and took some shots of the interior rooms. King's general tastes were spartan but comfortable; for him, coming to the estate meant enjoying the outdoors.