Saturday, November 3, 2018

Fall At The Mackenzie King Estate

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.


  1. A wonderful piece of this earth and those mellow, warm, fall colors bring peace to the soul! I think that outdoor garden structure would be called a "pergola" in this area. Lots of wonderful history in this post.

  2. Nice and comfortable looking cottages. I would like a pergola in my garden.

  3. What a beautiful place. And the golden leaves are breathtaking.

  4. The pegola caught my eye. This very day my husband spoke of building a pergola in our garden.

  5. Nice post, the cottages look very pretty and the fall colours are so nice.

  6. Hello, looks like a beautiful estate. I like the guest house and garage. Enjoy your day and weekend!

  7. Whenever I have been there in the past, I never did the estate thing. I'm not sure why. Maybe because it was a random visit, and I didn't know much about the place.

  8. I know exactly what he meant about the trees!

  9. I never heard of a pergola before, but I like it. :-)

  10. This looks like the perfect place to admire the fall colors.

  11. Wonderful cottages. Wonderful that you had a chance to look inside.

  12. I think I would like to live in that happy yellow guest cottage! And I love the stone fireplace. Cozy.

  13. @Lowell: I was familiar with the term before, and I have seen these structures in other gardens. This one's a good one.

    @Nancy: they felt very much like home.

    @Tom: I do too.

    @Jan: they are!

    @Joan: this one uses a good amount of space!

    @Marianne: they are indeed.

    @Eileen: it is quite a place to visit.

    @Anvilcloud: I've enjoyed visiting the place each time I've been up.

    @Marie: so do I.

    @Francisco: thanks!

    @DJan: I wonder what the root of the word is.

    @Sharon: it is. The colours were at their best.

    @Marleen: I had been inside before, I just expected they'd have closed up the buildings at Thanksgiving as opposed to having them open a week later.

    @Jeanie: I know the feeling!

  14. When I see these buildings I stop and consider that King actually was there . King is the first Prime Minister that I remember. I remember when he died.

  15. What a super walk today William, love the colours and the cottage but your description of the Dachshund made me lol 😀

  16. The park is really nice and the cottages look cosy !

  17. I like autumn, to see nature dressing in yellow, brown and gold tones.
    Beautiful place and lovely cottage.
    Have a Great weekend
    Warm regards
    Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

  18. It´s great to learn from your country´s history.
    When we were in Cuba 2010 (time runs!) a Canadian "girl"... well, rather young woman, now Mum of two, stepped up to us and asked if we wanna share a table and I´m still in contact with her Mum, who is my Hubby´s age :-)
    The verandahs look awesome, too. We just have a balcony everybody can look at (not that we have to hide, but... some privacy might be nice).
    But I reckon bears and cold... brrrr!

  19. Lovely cottage, but the furnishings were really very simple for a Prime Minister. Oh well I suppose this was a country retreat only.
    Interesting quotes around the garden.

  20. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. The pictures are all gorgeous especially with the fall weather look to it with the leaves changing. The cottage was lovely and we would love to visit this beautiful place. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend.
    World of Animals

  21. A very nice cottage, great fall colours and a lovely long sign. Wonderful images, William.

  22. A nice getaway from the affairs of state. If those are snowshoes over the fireplace, I wonder if King ever used them.

  23. He must have really looked forward to getting out to there when he could!

  24. @Red: he was an extraordinary man.

    @Grace: it's an appropriate description for a daschie!

    @Gattina: it's a wonderful place to come and visit.

    @Sandi: they were at their glory.

    @Maria: thank you!

    @Iris: cold is good!

    @Sami: yes, the house in town feels different. Moorside is different than the cottages are, yet all three fit King himself.

    @WoA: thank you.

    @Bill: it certainly is!

    @Catalyst: I imagine so. If not those, he's the sort who would have enjoyed snow shoeing.

    @RedPat: definitely. I think this estate is likely where he felt happiest.

  25. What a sweet house---I want to live there now. Nice story

  26. awesome. love the white accents ... so fancy. but rustic too. my kind of place! ( ;

  27. cozy space in great environment.

  28. I'll bet the sign rings true, feeling better upon walking around Kingswood!


  29. It's no surprise he would feel better in such a place. It's beautiful and the fall colors are gorgeous.

  30. How wonderful. I love the quotes and I like the colour of the guest cottage and pergola which is very pretty:)

  31. Such a lovely post William.
    The Autumn colours, the cottage, and the long sign... all great photographs.

    All the best Jan

  32. Gorgeous! And that cottage, how lucky their guests were.

  33. It is so lovely! I'm reading backwards (as is my wont these days) and just assumed from the later post that the Lake was named after him. Interesting that it precedes him.

  34. I am reading backwards, too! Did they charge admission on normal days? I wonder how it is funded.

  35. Gold, gold, gold... You have a wonderful autumn there!

  36. @MB: it's quite a place to visit.

    @Beth: I really like it.

    @Klara: definitely.

    @Happyone: indeed.

    @Janis: I agree!

    @Kay: I would be too.

    @Rosie: it's a wonderful place to visit.

    @Jan: thank you.

    @Denise: I agree!

    @Sallie: no, but you can see why it would have appealed to him.

    @Jennifer: it's partly funded by the government, as the NCC has jurisdiction, but they do have parking fees, which help things along in terms of funding.

    @Klara: we had a great one this year.