Rideau Hall is an oasis of quiet in what can sometimes be a loud and boisterous experience in downtown Ottawa. Need a little peace and quiet? Visit the home of Canada’s Governor General.
It is not hard to get to. If you are standing in front of and looking at Canada’s Parliament Buildings then the road to Rideau Hall is just 1/2 kilometer or so east (to the right) of where you are standing.
You turn onto Sussex Drive, which is a left turn from where Wellington Street and Rideau Streets join just east of the Parliament Buildings. A Short Drive Along Sussex
Drive along Sussex Drive a couple of kilometers to where it turns into the Rockcliffe Parkway (itself worth leisurely strolling or driving along on a beautiful summer’s or crisp winter’s day) and immediately on your right is Rideau Gate, which is at #1 Sussex Drive. And yes, you do drive past #24 Sussex Drive, on your left, which is the home of Canada’s Prime Minister.
Turn right just before the official gates shown in the picture above, onto a residential street. Take the first left right, then the first left onto Mackay Street, and you should find no-charge street parking within comfortable walking distance of the entrance to Rideau Hall.
If you are staying in a hotel in downtown Ottawa, it is a worthwhile walk along Sussex Street, as you will pass by the American Embassy, the Basilica, the National Gallery, the Mint, and the Prime Minister’s house on the way. Canada’s Prime Minister lives almost directly across the street from Rideau Hall. You will want decent walking shoes as down and back from Rideau Street is about 5 Km, about 3 miles overall.
As you pass through the entrance gates of Rideau Hall know that you’re joining the royalty, international heads of state, Prime Ministers, Canadians and visitors from around the world in visiting this prestigious home and workplace of every governor general since Canada’s confederation.
Rideau Hall was built in 1838 as a mansion for wealthy stonemason Thomas MacKay. He helped build another of Ottawa’s major attractions, the Rideau Canal.
The grounds cover 79 acres (32 hectares) with low, rolling hills, winding paths, Sugar Maple and pine forests.
Though worth visiting any time you happen to be in Ottawa, visiting Rideau Hall during July and August will ensure that all visitor amenities are available for your visit.
Rideau Hall is a people place, offering visitors a skating rink open to the public (winter only, of course & weather permitting), beautiful gardens and greenhouse, a cricket pitch, a children’s play structure, and during the summer, the pageantry of the every-hour-on-the-hour changing of the ceremonial guard. Bring a picnic for you and your family. Stop at the visitor center and sign up for kids activities, and enjoy your lunch while the kids play in the adjacent play structure.
Canada’s North Symbolized
Scattered throughout the grounds you will find the symbol of Canada’s north – the Inuksuk. The Fountain of Hope on Rideau Hall grounds was built in memory of one of Canada’s relatively recent heroes, Terry Fox, famous for his run across Canada to raise funds to combat cancer. Mr. Fox lost his life to cancer about-mid-way in his run.
Rideau Hall Flags
Check out the flap pole at Rideau Hall. If the governor general’s flag is flying over Rideau Hall (a blue flag with a crowned gold lion holding a red maple leaf) then Canada’s current Governor General is in residence.
Admission to Rideau Hall is no-charge, and is paid for by the taxpayers of Canada. The hall and grounds are maintained by the National Capital Commission on behalf of the people and the Government of Canada.
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0A1
Toll free: (866) 842-4422