For more than four decades, Mackenzie King spent most of his summers at the Estate. He gradually expanded and beautified the grounds, and eventually came to own 231 hectares (2.31 square kilometres) of land. In 2013, the cottages were restored, and now feature interactive exhibits that take visitors back in time to King’s era.
After falling in love with the landscape around Kingsmere Lake, King purchased land there in 1903, and built the first of several cottages. The area came to be known as Kingswood.
Visit the exhibits in the restored Kingswood cottages. They will take you back in time to the early 1900s to see how the young King spent his summers before he became prime minister.
You can relax in the guest cottage, and entertain yourself as King’s guests may have done, with a game of checkers. Or you can spend your time outdoors, pose for a picture on the carriage by the Kingswood garage or visit the shores of Kingsmere Lake.
In 1928, while in his third term as prime minister, King moved to Moorside. At this large, elegant cottage, King received guests such as Winston Churchill and Charles Lindbergh. King also laid out formal flower beds, and gathered a collection of picturesque ruins from Canada and abroad. He also made trails through the forest, which we still enjoy today.
Inside the Moorside cottage, you can visit the museum showcasing King’s life and work at the Estate and as prime minister of Canada during the 1930s and 1940s.
Outside, you can stroll through the formal gardens, enjoy a picnic on the grounds, go for a hike along the Waterfall Trail, or marvel at the beautiful ruins. In need of some refreshment after all of this exploring? Visit the Mackenzie King Tearoom, located on the main level of Moorside Cottage.
During the last years of his life, King gave free rein to his passion for architecture. He devoted himself to restoring a 19th century farmhouse and transforming it into an elegant year-round residence. He settled at the Farm in 1943, and died there in 1950, only two years after he retired from politics.
The Farm is now the official residence of the speaker of the House of Commons and is not accessible to the public.
Upon his death, King left the Estate as “…a public park in trust for the people of Canada.” It is around the Estate that his government established Gatineau Park, the Capital’s conservation park. Come explore this beautiful legacy!