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Parliament Hill
Ottawa > Arts & Entertainment > Attractions > The Mackenzie King Estate

A national gem tucked away in Gatineau Park

As the 10th prime minister of Canada, who served for more than two decades, William Lyon Mackenzie King left an indelible mark on Canada’s history. A person who loved nature, history and architecture, Mackenzie King had his summer home in the Gatineau Hills, where he spent every summer for close to 50 years.

The 231-hectare Mackenzie King Estate is located in the heart of Gatineau Park, a superb natural environment,located just 15 minutes from Parliament Hill. Managed by the National Capital Commission (NCC), the Park is endowed with hundreds of kilometres of trails, forests with more than 40 species of trees, abundant wildlife and numerous lakes typical of the hills of the Canadian Shield. Park visitors enjoy many summer and winter outdoor activities in the tranquility of this protected natural environment.

Visiting this magnificent Estate provides a glimpse into King’s love for horticulture, landscaping, romantic gardens and architectural ruins. Visitors to the Estate can discover King’s two summer havens, Moorside cottage and Kingswood cottage, located along Kingsmere Lake.

Over the years, the Mackenzie King Estate has become a first-class historical destination. Residents and visitors in Canada’s Capital Region come to this unique Canadian heritage site to experience the peaceful setting, discover the romantic atmosphere of the Victorian era, and learn the story behind the complex public figure who marked Canadian history for half a century.

Mackenzie King first came to Kingsmere in the early 1900s. Enchanted by its beauty and peacefulness, he built his first summer cottage, Kingswood. In 1921, King was elected prime minister of Canada. In 1928, he moved to a larger summer cottage, Moorside, which he felt was better suited to his lifestyle as prime minister. Moorside became the gem of his estate, and he spent a great deal of time embellishing its grounds and gardens. In the late 1930s, King renovated and winterized an old house that he called “the Farm.” Once he retired from his career in politics, Mackenzie King spent the last years of his life in this new home until his death on July 22, 1950.

In his last will and testament, Mackenzie King bequeathed the Estate to Canadians. The Farm now serves as the official residence of the speaker of the House of Commons.

A national gem tucked away in Gatineau Park From 1950 to 1958, the Federal District Commission and, since 1958, the NCC have been responsible for managing, preserving and promoting the Mackenzie King Estate. This cultural attraction welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year.


  • Mackenzie King began his purchases that would establish Kingsmere Estate in 1903. He bought a small piece of land and built a one-bedroom cottage, calling it Kingswood.
  • He subsequently purchased the neighbouring farm, cottages and land. In 1932, the Estate covered an area of 231 hectares.
  • The Estate’s ruins include stones from the original Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa (which burned in 1916) and from Westminster Palace in England.
  • The former prime minister collected seeds and plants from all over the world for use at Moorside and the Farm. He planted seeds of American walnut, cherry trees from Japan and acorns from the royal oaks of Windsor in the United Kingdom.
  • Like the ruins, the Estate’s gardens are landscaped specifically to suit King’s tastes. More information about King’s inspirations, influences and numerous contemplated projects for his Estate are revealed in the book entitled Mackenzie King Estate in the “Guide to the Gardens of Quebec” series, which is available at the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre.
  • In April 1927, Mackenzie King’s government formed the Federal District Commission, the predecessor of the NCC, and expanded Canada’s Capital Region to include both shores of the Ottawa River.
  • On July 1, 1938, King’s government secured the Gatineau Park project by purchasing the first parcels of land.
  • On January 3, 1947, Mackenzie King was the first person to obtain Canadian citizenship.
  • Mackenzie King holds the record for the greatest number of years as prime minister, nearly 22 years.
  • In 1948, King retired as prime minister of Canada and spent the last two years of his life at the Farm (Kingsmere), enjoying and renovating his properties.
  • In 1950, a few months before his death, King was made an honorary member of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and Town Planners. The Society recognized him for advancing the profession of landscape architecture in Canada, through his vision of the development of the national Capital and in his choice of Jacques Gréber, a French planner skilled in landscape architecture, to draft the master plan for the region. King was also honoured for demonstrating personal skills in landscape architecture as revealed in the development of his country home at Kingsmere.
  • The Estate celebrated its 100th anniversary in September 2003. In recognition of the centennial celebrations, Canada Post Corporation presented the NCC with a commemorative stamp of Gatineau Park. The stamp, which features a portion of the collection of ruins surrounding the Estate, was selected as part of a series of 10 stamps highlighting various attractions in Canada.
  • In April 2004, the NCC and the Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Firm were given a National Merit Award from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects for the Mackenzie King Estate Cultural Landscape Conservation Management Strategy.
  • The Estate is a member of the Quebec Gardens’ Association.


  • Visit the restored cottages.
  • View films on Mackenzie King’s life and times.
  • Take a guided tour through the museums and property.
  • Stroll through the gardens.
  • Photograph the collection of ruins.
  • Enjoy a light meal at the Mackenzie King Tearoom.
  • Discover King’s favourite trail: the Bridal Veil Falls.
  • Join costumed volunteer guides for a visit to the gardens at Moorside on weekend and holiday afternoons, between Canada Day and Labour Day.
  • Join in the activities organized by the NCC at the Estate.


Summer Hours of Operation
From May 19 to September 5, 2011, the Estate will be open:

  • Wednesdays through Mondays, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
  • Tuesdays, museums closed, grounds open to the public

Fall Hours of Operation
From September 6 to October 16, 2011 the Estate will be open:

  • Wednesdays through Mondays, 10:30 am to 4:30 pm
  • Museums are closed on Tuesdays, the grounds remain open to the public

The Mackenzie King Tearoom is a very special place to hold receptions, especially for weddings and anniversaries. The Tearoom is open every day, from 11 am to 5 pm. For more information or reservations, please call 819-827-3405.

Please note: Although there is no fee for non-commercial visitors to the Estate, there are vehicle access fees for parking areas in Gatineau Park. Day passes are valid for the day at all parking lots where payment is required.
$8 Day pass: car
$30 Day pass: minibus (20 passengers or less)
$50 Day pass: bus
$70 Season pass: car (access to all Gatineau Park beaches and Leamy Lake beach, as well as Mackenzie King Estate)
Free access to the Estate’s parking lot for school groups participating in guided or non-guided activities.
GUIDED TOURS: May 19 to September 5

Regular guided tours for visitors (no reservation necessary):

  • English tours at 10 am and 2 pm
  • French tours at 11 am and 3 pm

Commercial groups and private tours (reservations required):

  • Minimum charge $60 for groups up to 20 people, $3 per additional person.
  • Available by reservation only. Subject to availability.

For reservations, call the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre at 819-827-2020 School groups (reservations required):

  • Free of charge.
  • Vehicle access fees waived for school groups.
  • Maximum 35 participants

For reservations, call the youth programming reservation line at 1-800-461-8020

2011 PROGRAMMING ACTIVITIES: May 19 to October 16, 2011
May 19 Opening of Mackenzie King Estate (museums closed on Tuesdays)
July 1 Canada Day activities
July 30 to August 1 The Estate in Bloom
September 3 to 5 Labour Day weekend activities
September 30 to October 16 Fall Rhapsody at Mackenzie King Estate and throughout Gatineau Park


  • From the Parliament Buildings, go west on Wellington Street and cross the Portage Bridge.
  • Immediately after the bridge, turn left onto Alexandre-Taché Boulevard and follow it to the Gatineau Park entrance, which will be on your right. Once in the Park, follow the signs to Mackenzie King Estate.
  • From the Champlain Bridge, heading north toward Gatineau, turn right onto Alexandre-Taché
  • Boulevard and follow it until you reach the Gatineau Park entrance, which will be on your left. Once in the Park, follow the signs to Mackenzie King Estate.
  • From the Alexandra Bridge, take Boulevard des Allumettières up to the Promenade de la Gatineau
  • exit. Then follow the signs to Mackenzie King Estate.
  • From Highway 5 or 50, take the exit for Hull-Centre-Ville and then Maisonneuve Boulevard. Turn right onto Boulevard des Allumettières up to the Promenade de la Gatineau exit. Then follow the signs to Mackenzie King Estate.

For more information on Mackenzie King Estate or activities offered in Gatineau Park, the public may contact the NCC at 1-800 465-1867, 819-827-2020, 613-239-5090 (TTY) or 1-866-661-3530 (toll-free TTY), stop by the Gatineau Park Visitors Centre located at 33 Scott Road, in Chelsea, or visit the NCC’s website at

For photos, story ideas or guided tours of the Estate, media are asked to contact NCC Media Relations:

Jasmine Leduc
NCC Media Relations
613-239-5410 (Office)
613-608-3119 (Cellular)

Jean Wolff
NCC Media Relations
613-239-5703 (Office)
613-797-0279 (Cellular)

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