The Farm has been the official residence of the speaker of the House of Commons since 1955.
This rural property is located at Kingsmere, in the Gatineau Hills. It consists of a renovated farmhouse and five outbuildings, surrounded by 1.74 hectares (4 acres) of fields and forests.
This residence is closed to the public.
A family property
The Farm was built in the mid-19th century by Henry Fleury, a pioneer who settled at Kingsmere with his family. Their farm property included a farmhouse, several outbuildings, fields, forests and a disused mica mine.
In 1927, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King bought the land. He transformed it into a distinguished property as part of his country estate. King already owned nearby cottages and woodlands.
A prime minister's retreat
In 1935, King decided to renovate the farmhouse as a year-round country retreat. He built two new wings, and introduced heating and indoor plumbing.
In the 1940s, King made the Farm his preferred country getaway, calling it his “real home.” While he sometimes welcomed family, friends and distinguished guests, the Farm was mainly a personal sanctuary, where he could relax in privacy and commune with nature.
A national legacy
After his retirement in 1948, William Lyon Mackenzie King spent an increasing amount of time at the Farm. It was also there that he died, on July 22, 1950. King left his entire 231-hectare Kingsmere country estate, including the Farm, to the government and people of Canada. In his will, King expressed the wish that most of his estate become a public park. Indeed, the Mackenzie King Estate is now a centrepiece of Gatineau Park. The former prime minister also wished that his successors use the Farm as a retreat where they could escape the pressures of public life, as he had done. Since Harrington Lake had been chosen for the prime minister, the Farm became the official residence of the speaker of the House of Commons.
Today, the Farm is a quiet place where the speaker of the House of Commons can retreat from the political activity of Parliament. The NCC has managed this residence since 1988.
Our work at the Farm is part of a broader long-term program to preserve, maintain and restore all the official residences under NCC management. In June 2021, we released the Official Residences of Canada: Asset Portfolio Condition Report. This document details the investment needed to restore each official residence to good condition.
The report shows that the Farm is in poor condition. It needs an investment of $1.34 million, to address just the deferred and accumulated maintenance of existing systems. This amount does not reflect work needed to meet new building codes and legislative requirements.
The proposed work includes the following:
- universal accessibility studies and upgrades
- replacement of some of the roof coverings
- replacement of the foundation and repair to exterior walls
- replacement of the porch
- replacement of air conditioning equipment
- replacement of electrical systems and wiring
- upgrades to the fire alarm system
- replacement of hardwood flooring.