Step Back in Time at Laurier House National Historic Site #ParksCanada

| September 7, 2018 | 3 Comments

Step Back in Time at Laurier House National Historic Site #ParksCanada

Nestled in the vibrant neighbourhood of Sandy Hill, Laurier House is one of Canada’s National Historic Sites. It was home to two of Canada’s Prime Ministers and contemporaries Sir Wilfred Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King. What makes this site a must-visit is that it is the one in Canada where visitors can experience a residence while sitting in office. I was asked by Parks Canada if I would like to step back in time by taking a tour of this great home. The history buff in me could not pass up this opportunity!

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Front of Laurier House Historic Site.

 

Laurier House was originally built in 1879 and is an example of the Second Empire Style. It was purchased in 1898 by friends and supporters of the Liberal Party for their newly elected Prime Minister, Wilfred Laurier. He and his wife, Zoe, lived there until each of them died (Wilfred Laurier in 1919 and Zoe in 1921). Zoe left the home to fellow William Lyon Mackenzie King in her will and he took over the residence until his death in 1950.

Welcome home!

Stepping into this home was like stepping back into history. Once we passed the foyer, I noticed these two fluffy friends on a table in the hallway. Miranda, our guide around Laurier House informed us that Parka the Beaver and Pat the Irish Terrier were on hand to make younger visitors feel less anxious while touring this site. Their fuzzy faces made me feel more at home when I saw them.

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Stuffed Parka the Beaver and Pat the Irish Terrier at Laurier House.

 

More personal rooms to explore

One of the rooms that spoke to me was the Master Bedroom. Both Laurier and King used this space as their bedrooms while they inhabited this residence. We were careful to not disturb any of the artifacts while in this room. The furniture, the artwork, and the collection of canes in the room put into perspective what these men were like away from their roles as leaders of Canada.

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

The bed in the Master Bedroom at Laurier House.

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Furniture in the Master Bedroom at Laurier House.

 

Sunny. Bright. Homey. These are three ways to describe how I felt when we visited the Breakfast Room. While King used this room to start a day of leading a nation, the Lauriers had used this space as the housekeeper’s room. I could see why King loved being in this room to start his day. It feels like a peaceful area to take your first meal of the day.

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Prime Minister King’s Breakfast Room at Laurier House.

 

A more hands-on experience

The Kitchen is the one room that could not be put together in the same style as it was when Laurier and King lived at Laurier House. Instead, it iserves as a Canadian homefront kitchen that would have existed during World War II. A housewife welcomes visitors to this part of the house and shares what life was like for women during this era in Canada.

 

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

The Homefront Kitchen at Laurier House.

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Items on a table in theHomefront Kitchen at Laurier House.

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Items on a counter in the Homefront Kitchen at Laurier House.

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Sink area of the Homefront Kitchen at Laurier House.

 

I really enjoyed this part of Laurier House as it is one of the most interactive spaces throughout the site. Visitors learn about topics such as rationing, recycling, working outside of the home, and how they volunteered to do their part to contribute to the war effort. The refrigerator was a fun feature in this space. Visitors are able to sneak a peek inside to see how Canadians traditionally would have stocked this appliance. It was so interesting to see the differences and the similarities between a kitchen during this era and the ones that we have in our homes.

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Collage of the Homefront Kitchen refrigerator at Laurier House.

 

It’s tea time!

The last spot we visited was the L-shaped veranda of Laurier House. It was a perfect spot for visitors to sit and hide from the heat of the day. Comfy chairs and tables make it easy to enjoy this area of the house. 

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Setting on the veranda at Laurier House.

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Sitting area on the veranda at Laurier House.

 

An added bonus to the tour I had to Laurier House was the Sweet Picnic Tea on the Veranda Experience this site offers visitors for an extra charge. This service happens during July and August from 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm. A selection of self-service tea accompanies each basket to fully enjoy a warm summer afternoon.

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Collage of tea service during Sweet Picnic Tea on the Veranda Experience at Laurier House.

 

 Visitors indulging in this experience will each receive the following treats in your picnic basket:

  • 1 Orange-seasonal berry Madeline
  • 2 Delicate Shortbread Cookies with Brown Butter Glaze
  • 2 Spiced-Vanilla-Coco Cookies
  • 1 Chamomile Biscuit Roll.

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Collage of treats to enjoy during Sweet Picnic Tea on the Veranda Experience at Laurier House.

 

More reasons to visit Laurier House

Whiskey Tasting

Laurier House offers other experiences for visitors to enjoy. They have a Whiskey Tasting to host a premium whiskey and food pairing evening on September 7thfrom 7:00 pm  –  9:00 PM. An event like this goes well with this historic site because it goes along with the character and culture heritage of this site. It also compliments the era in which whiskey was popularized. Local and imported cheeses, hand crafted chocolate, and locally baked goods will also be served.

The cost of this experience is $125 (plus tax) per person, and only happens once a year.

Fact or Fiction Evening

Do you think you know a lot of Prime Ministers Laurier and King? Attending a Fact or Fiction Evening is a must! Attendees must compete against each other to figure out which of the stories presented by the host of the night. Players can test their knowledge about these Prime Minister’s lives. Light refreshments are served during this event.

The cost of this experience $14.70 per person, and reservations are required. Dates for the 2019 season of this event will be available soon. Reservations for this event can be made by calling Laurier House at 613-992-8142 or on their website.

A historic site to visit again and again

There are so many things for visitors to enjoy at Laurier House. Touring the various house that two Prime Ministers called home makes you feel as though you are stepping back into time. The rooms Take visitors back in time to when these two Prime Ministers lived. Exploring the interactive kitchen is a fun learning experience. The Sweet Tea Picnic on the VerandaExperience was a delicious affair. I could go back again and again to this historic site to take in more of it. There really is A LOT to learn about this home that housed two of Canada’s leaders. I cannot wait to visit again!

 

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

Step Back in Time at Laurier House Historic Site #ParksCanada

 

Would you like to find out more about Laurier House?  You can check them out on Parks Canada’s website.  We also connected with Parks Canada on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube pages!

Which room at Laurier House would you most like to visit?

 

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Category: Attractions, Attractions & Venues, Blogs, Ottawa & Surrounding Area, Reviews, Themes, Thursday Reviews, Weekly Themes

About the Author ()

My name is Lian Wright. Born in Toronto, I came to Ottawa as a student to study Political Science at Carleton University, and came away with an Honours Degree, and decided to stay. I'm a huge sports fan, have a love of reading, and like experiencing new things whenever I can. I am now a mother of three children (11, 1 and 7 months old) and am kept constantly on my toes. My blog, Pieces of Me, is my way of sharing what I have enjoyed and encountered in my life so far as a mother. So far, being a mom has had it's expected ups and downs, but that's what makes being a parent so fulfilling for me. I've loved and learned from what's happened so far, and I can't wait to see what's in store for me next. I hope you enjoy the journey with me!

Comments (3)

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  1. Calvin says:

    Prestigious and historic! Very fancy

  2. Debbie White-Beattie says:

    This place is absolutely gorgeous! I love that they didn’t gut all of the beauty, charm and history which most do today.

  3. Kristi says:

    What a beautiful house. I would love to see it in person!

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