Rideau Hall, Ottawa

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 Reviews

1 Sussex Dr

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  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    Rideau Hall - a heritage site.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 12, 2013
    Rideau Hall.
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    Rideau Hall is the residence of the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston (2013). Rideau Hall has been the residence and workplace of the Governor Generals of Canada since 1867. Rideau Hall was built in 1838 by Thomas McKay (and for him), who got the masonry contract to build Rideau Canal.

    The Governor General represents Her Majesty Queen Elizabet II in Canada and takes on the responsibilities of head of State on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II.

    The beautiful Rideau Hall building is a classified federal heritage building.

    The Governor General greets foreign Heads of States here at Rideau Hall. There are beautiful gardens by Rideau Hall, where visiting Heads of States have planted trees. One can walk around the gardens and read the names of different Heads of States, who have visited through the years - see my next tip.

    There are guided tours, free of charge, of the residence, where one can visit the public rooms of Rideau Hall, where the Governor General welcomes dignitaries and Head of States and honours Canadians. I visited Rideau Hall with my Canadian friends in September. In September and October Rideau Hall is open to visitors by reservation weekdays from 10:00-16:00 and weekends from 12:00-16:00. There are different opening hours for different months (check their website for opening hours).

    There is a tent in front of Rideau Hall where we met the tour-guide and got the tickets for a guided tour. The tour-guide was so cheerful and knowledgeable, like every tour-guide on the guided tours I joined. I must hand it to them that they know how to make visitors feel welcome. She led us through the public rooms, which were so magnificient. We visited the Tent Room (1876) which was built as a tennis court, the Long Gallery, the Reception Room and the Main Entrance. It was so tastefully decorated and regal. A virtual tour of Rideau Hall. A highly recommended visit.

    Rideau Hall is accessible by wheel-chairs and they lend them out on-site. We needed one for my friend and they were extremely helpful.

    No photos were allowed inside Rideau Hall.

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  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    The gardens at Rideau Hall.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 11, 2013

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    Jules L��ger.
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    I particularly liked one part of the Rideau Hall gardens - the leaves with all the names of the Governors General for 50 years. It was made on the 50th Anniversary of Canadian Governors General from 1952-2002 - since Vincent Massey´s appointment in 1952 Governors General have been Canadian citizens.

    Queen Elizabeth II unveiled this monument on her Golden Jubilee visit to Canada.

    I find this small garden so cute with all the leaves with the names of the Governors General - I just had to make a special tip on this :)

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    Rideau Hall - trees planted by heads of state.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 11, 2013

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    Nixon.
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    Many of the trees in Rideau Hall gardens are planted by head of states and known people who have officially visited Rideau Hall. Many of the trees have been planted to mark important events. The tour leader of Rideau Hall told us that one head of state didn´t get to plant a tree as he/she was not on an official visit.

    It is fun wandering around looking at the plaque,s seeing which head of state or wife of a head of state planted the trees. I found a tree planted by Jaqueline Kennedy in 1961 - a Red Oak. Ronald Reagan planted a Silver Maple in 1981. William J. Clinton planted a Sugar Maple in 1995. Nelson Mandela planted a Sugar Maple in 1998. And there were so many, many more, I wanted to take a photo of all of them.

    There are more than 10.000 trees on the grounds by Rideau Hall, some of them older than the Confederation.

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  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    Rideau hall - art work in the garden.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 11, 2013

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    The Totem Pole.
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    There is a lot of interesting work of art in the gardens by Rideau Hall.

    My first photo is of the Totem Pole. It is made by the Kwkwaka´wakw people on the Pacific coast. It was given as a present in 1946 to Governor General Lord Alexander when he was named Honorary Chief Nakupunkim. It has the thunderbird on top, a man holding a salmon and a sisuti, which is a double headed serpent.

    My second photo is called Inukshuk from 1997. It is an Inuit stone marker which the Inuits erect in the Arctics. The name Inukshuk means "acting in the capacity of a human" - and their purpose was to lead the way for travellers, marking place of reverence or warning of danger. In Iceland we erect cairns for that purpose, but I like this structure more, as it looks like a human being.

    These are the most prominent art work in the garden, but there are many more. There is the Canadian Heritage Garden with a fountain, rose gardens and a curved pillar structure with all the major events in Canada´s history over the centuries. It is quite informative and well made.

    There is also a rock with a plaque with 4 men on it - it commemorated the twenty-fifth Anniversary of Canadian Governors General (1952-1977).

    There are rocks with information plaques in many more places. I add additional tips on interesting features of the garden.

    The gardens are open to public daily from 08:00 until one hour before sunset.

    There is a Visitor centre and gift shop by the entrance to the gardens by Sussex Gate. There is an exhibition on the role of the Governor General and the history of Rideau Hall.

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  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    Rideau hall - trees planted by queens.

    by Regina1965 Updated Nov 6, 2012

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    The trees in Rideau Hall´s gardens are planted by head of states and well known leaders. Some of them are planted by queens.

    I found 2 trees planted by Queen Elizabeth - but in one plaque she is called Queen Elizabeth and in another she is called Queen Elizabeth II. She planted a Sugar Maple in 1939 and a Red Maple in 1957.

    I also found a Red Oak planted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (Holland) in 1988. As I cannot add 6 photos I only add the plaque with her name.

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    Changing of the Guard at Rideau Hall

    by yooperprof Written Oct 13, 2012
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    Canada is a monarchy! We might know that, but what actualy does that mean? Well, for one thing it means that the Canadians can put on their own version of "pomp and circumstance" when they please. Watching the changing of the Guard at Rideau Hall provides an excellent reminded of the importance of ceremony and tradition in Canadian government. Rideau Hall is the home of the Governor-General, who is the representative of Queen Elizabeth as the official "Head of State" of the Canadian Confederation. The Governor-General signs all legislation into law, represents Canada as international gatherings, and also serves all of the ceremonial domestics functions as the representative of the Canadian government and peoples.

    A tour of Rideau Hall offers visitors a great way to understand the changing role of the Governor- General over time. There have been Governors-General since 1867, when the Canadian Confederation was officially formed. Originally all of the holders of the office were from Britain itself, usually men of high social standing in the aristocracy, or even members of the Royal Family itself. In the 1930s, it became standard practice for holders of the Governor-Generalship to be Canadians themselves, and more recently, the Governors General have come from a wide variety of the diverse ethnic and linguistic groups in Canada. Portraits of the Governors-General are on display here, along with the public rooms where Canadian officials entertain visiting dignitaries from around the world.

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  • kris-t's Profile Photo

    Rideau Hall

    by kris-t Written Sep 17, 2011

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    Rideau Hall
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    Rideau Hall, one of Ottawa Attractions, was built in 1838 and has been the official residence of the Queen's representative to Canada since 1867.

    The grounds cover more than 32 hectares (79 acres) and feature a magnificent greenhouse and ornamental gardens.

    Visitors can take a self-guided tour or book one of the many guided tours offered from 10a to 4p during the summer months.

    Price: Free for everyone

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    Rideau Hall

    by Jefie Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Entrance to the grounds in the wintertime
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    Rideau Hall has been the official residence of the Governor General of Canada since the country's birth in 1867. Visitors are free to walk around the residence’s beautiful grounds (88 acres), and it is also possible to join one the free guided tours of the residence (sorry, no pics allowed). During summer, tours are offered daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (weekends only from September to October and from April to June).

    Rideau Hall is located on Sussex Drive, about 3.5 km away from Parliament Hill. If you have enough time, I would recommend walking to Rideau Hall as this will allow you to walk by many other nice residences, including many embassies and the official residence of the Prime Minister located at 24 Sussex Drive.

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  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Guest Houses (7 Sussex)

    by mikey_e Written Dec 28, 2009
    Official Guest House
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    As the Official Head of State, it is the role of the Governor General to welcome visiting Heads of State (in general the PM takes care of Heads of Government and the appropriate Minister meets his/her counterparts visiting the country). In order to accommodate properly the visiting dignitary, the two guest houses on Sussex Drive are put into use. These structures are of a traditional Canadian architecture and meant to highlight the country's heritage luxury style (so, no modern architectural feats here). The structures are not necessarily high on the list of must-see tourist sites for Ottawa, but they do form a part of the Official Residences complex (that, ironically, is an unofficial term) on Sussex.

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    The Seat of Canada's Head of State

    by mikey_e Written Dec 27, 2009

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    Rideau Hall
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    As a member of the Commonwealth and a subject territory of the British Monarchy, Canada's Head of State is still the reigning monarch of Great Britain. Given that the Queen cannot spend all of her time in Canada (thankfully - we have enough fiscal problems as it is), she is represented by the Governor-General. The GG, as she is commonly known in Ottawa, is largely a figurehead, although she does have the power to prorogate Parliament on the PM's request and can refuse to grant Royal Assent to Bills. The GG's spectacular residence, known as Rideau Hall, is located not far from the Prime Minister's House and the British and French Embassies on Sussex Drive. It is a massive estate where the majority of the grounds are open to the public. The best time to visit is in summer or fall, when the various gardens (including the rose garden) are in full bloom and you can enjoy all of the spectacular foliage. Many of the gardens are symbolic, representing gifts from dignitaries or events in Canadian history. There is also a cricket pitch, a reminder of one of the many British past-times that never took root in Canada. The Hall itself is off-limits to casual visits, but you can always take part in a guided tour through it; these are organized regularly in English and French. The house is more sombre than one might expect, as it is built of a dark grey stone. It looks much more like a French country manor than a British aristocrat's home. Nevertheless, the intricate carvings and flourishes are definitely worth a few shots.

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  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo

    a new Governor General - # 27 - aka Michaëlle Jean

    by kenHuocj Written Sep 27, 2005

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    the Honourable GG's Coat of Arms
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    Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean
    was installed today. Culturally i am close to the outgoing Calrkson and
    incoming Michaëlle Jean through my mother tongue links and my continent of birth;
    I as one living in Canada have mixed feelings of the political expediency
    of the appointments by the Ruling Political Party
    and certainly hope that both old and new Canadians will be reached and touched by the new GG
    and not oinly immigrants and visible minorities.
    I as a visible minority want to be part of the larger Canadian community,
    not a tribe with special needs and protection, rather, i want to be part of the mainstream
    and I respect and admire the older Canadians who have made this country unique
    and that Canadian trait is why i like being here

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    Rideau Hall

    by Blatherwick Written Sep 4, 2005
    Rideau Hall

    Rideau Hall is the official residence of the Governor General of Canada, and is the place of residence of the Monarch of Canada when visiting Ottawa. Tours are generally offered of the place on Saturdays and Sundays between 12 and 4. During the summer hours are between 10am - 1pm. Keep in mind that official events take precidence over you.

    The residence was built in 1838 to house Scottish stone mason, Thomas MacKay and his family, who occupied the residence until 1855. After Queen Victoria chose Ottawa in 1858 as the new capital of the Province of Canada, in 1864 Rideau Hall became the residence of the governor general of British North America, Lord Monck. In 1867 Lord Monck became the first governor general of the Dominion of Canada, and Rideau Hall has continued as the residence of his successors.

    The main entrance, completed in 1913, contains all the heraldic shields of the governors of Canada, beginning with Samuel de Champlain, the first governor of New France. There are portraits of the British governors general in the Tent Room and portraits of the Canadian-born governors general (beginning with Vincent Massey) in the Reception Room. Portraits of the spouses of the governors general are found in the Drawing Room.

    Today, the residence is used to officially receive foreign heads of state and both incoming and outgoing ambassadors to Canada. It is also the site of presentation for many Canadian awards, including the Order of Canada, the Order of Military Merit, and the Decorations for Bravery, customarily presented in the ballroom. It is also where the official ceremonies swearing in a newly chosen prime minister and his or her ministers take place, as well as the place where the writ of an election is dropped.

    Every time a Head of State or Head of Government comes to Rideau Hall on an official visit, they are asked to plant a tree. As such, the grounds of Rideau Hall are filled with trees that have small plaques at their bases listing the name and position of the planter.

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    A Visit to Rideau Hall

    by Lisser Written Jul 20, 2003

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    Rideau Hall is the official residence of the Governor General of Canada. It is the ome and workplace of every Governor General since Confederation in 1867. Rideau Hall is on 79 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, minutes from downtown Ottawa. You can tour the residence and gardens, watch the ceremonial guard change every hour or just wander through the grounds.

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    Rideau Hall (Government House)

    by sunnywong Written Feb 25, 2003

    Since 1867, this is the historic home and workplace of Canada's Governor General, the official representative of Canada's Queen, Queen Elizabeth. Thomas McKay, a stonemason who helped build the Rideau Canal, built the home in 1838. The grounds include 32 hectares of landscaped gardens, and feature the Canadian Heritage Garden, which uses roses and marble columns to illustrate key milestones in Canadian History. In the summer, enjoy tours of the residence, gardens and grounds. See the ceremonial guard (they change every hour on the hour), and outdoor concerts. In the winter, enjoy outdoor skating. Call for tour schedule or for group reservations. Grounds open daily 9 am to dusk, with residence tours offered summertimes from 10 am to 4 pm (except during official functions). Admission free.

    Website: http://capcan.ca/attractions/official_residences/rideauhall_e.html

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