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Rideau Hall Governing a garden


Rideau Hall private garden — Lower Terrace. R


ideau Hall has been the official residence of all governors general since 1867, and workplace since 1940; however, it was originally built as a family


house in 1838. The main residence is comprised of 175 rooms covering almost 9,000 square metres. The property includes 27 other buildings, 32 hectares of grounds and six greenhouses. Located just minutes from downtown Ottawa, it is a national gathering place where the gover- nor general honours Canadians for their excellence, hosts foreign dignitaries and, as the representative of the Queen in Canada, carries out the duties of head of state. In 1986, Rideau Hall was designated a classified heritage property by the federal heritage buildings review office, the designa- tion with the highest heritage significance in Canada. Of the six official residences in Canada’s capital region,


Rideau Hall is the most significant in terms of the histo- ry of its buildings and grounds, and the most extensive in terms of its size and complexity. The grounds, which combine aspects of a British country estate with those of the Canadian landscape, encompass some 32 hectares (79 acres) of wooded parkland and 20 historic buildings, featuring a visitor centre, a Ceremonial tree collection,


18 • Fall 2016


heritage rose garden, and historic commemorations. The building is surrounded by a 2,500-metre-long Victorian cast iron and cast stone fence erected in 1928. It is also the only official residence open to the public, with over 150,000 Canadian and international visitors each year. Since 1986, the National Capital Commission has been


managing the buildings and grounds of Rideau Hall for the benefit of all Canadians. The extensive grounds are divided into five distinct areas: The wooded entrance park. This is characterized by


a winding road which creates an element of surprise as guests approach Rideau Hall and unfolding scenic vistas with mature trees in informal groupings within an open lawn. Visiting dignitaries to Rideau Hall, such as Queen Elizabeth and Emperor Akihito of Japan and many other heads of state have been asked to plant a tree. As such, 125 trees with small commemorative plaques at their bases, each listing the name and position of the dignitary plant- ing it, are present along the main drive. In 1981, the Foun- tain of Hope was built in front of Rideau Hall in memory of Terry Fox. The entrance park’s most recent addition was established in 2000: the Canadian Heritage Garden


localgardener.net


All photos courtesy of the National Capital Commission.


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