It wasn’t the kind of morning that you would drag your kids through so fortunately as empty nesters we wandered at a leisurely pace through Laurier House. Lucky us as there were a couple of unhappy children there that we didn’t need to worry about.
We were super pumped to show our Canada 150 passport but as she said it’s free so it doesn’t really matter but they are recording postal codes so they know who does visit.
We spent considerable time outside comparing the 1903 photo to the current state of the house and dissecting what these changes made to the impact of the overall impression. The original version has much cleaner lines.
The young girl in costume in the war-time kitchen was a hoot and so in character. The kitchen has just recently been redone to reflect what rations meant to the average household during the Second World War. I guess they felt it had more relevance than what William Lyon McKenzie King would have fed his guests plus there weren’t s lot of records around for that apparently. It was interesting to note the statistics about the resurgence of home front gardens (as they are once again doing) and what the housesoldier had to contend with. I’m not convinced I want to make her vegetarian loaf but with meat rationed city folks didn’t have a lot of options.
The original owner was a jeweller with several children. Supporters of Wilfred Laurier bought the house for the couple in 1903 and they entertained in style here until his death in 1909. She remained there for 2 years before she died and bequeathed the house to William Lyon McKenzie King. They were childless so as a close friend who was rising to power it made sense to them. He worked with local supporters for the funds and then did a fairly significant renovation before he moved into the house. He lived there until his death in 1950 at his estate (the cottage from Wednesday’s pictures). As he never married and had no descendants he bequeathed the house to the Government of Canada.
He was a meticulous man in all regards and arranged supper seating plans and designed the menu for the cook. He had moved his political staff to part of the third floor and so during the war years there was a constant barrage of people and information streaming in. He had used the old storage room as his breakfast room and the wireless sits were it always did as he listened to Sir Winston Churchill.
What isn’t dubious is the quality of work that both these men put into their vision and their role as Prime Minister. Canada was indeed left richer by their leadership.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Canada Day 150 Celebrations from Parliament Hill 🇨🇦❤️🇨🇦