Ottawa Magazine


Rideau Hall

- —Matt Harrison

After the government purchased the land in 1868, the former MacKay family home (built in 1838 by stonemason Thomas MacKay) was added to extensivel­y, creating a patchwork of styles, but none so unusual as the Tent Room. Resembling a candy cane or a popcorn box, it was created by the Earl of Dufferin (Canada’s third governor general) to host indoor parties reminiscen­t of outdoor events held in England’s more accommodat­ing weather. The room also doubled as a tennis court. Later, portraits of key figures in Canada’s sports history replaced tennis racquets and balls: Lord Stanley, who donated “the cup,” and Earl Grey, who donated the other (CFL) “cup.” Elsewhere, Glenn Gould’s practice piano occupies a corner of the Long Gallery, while the Ballroom bedazzles guests with its one-tonne chandelier (boasting 12,000 crystals) given to Canada by England for its aid in the Second World War.

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