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Summer Reading Fun at Rideau Hall

Summer Reading Fun at Rideau Hall

If you are looking for a fun, free AND educational activity to do with your kids this Friday or Saturday, may I suggest swinging by Rideau Hall and visiting Frontier College’s Summer Reading Tent? My kids and I went recently to check it out and we all had a blast.


Summer Reading Fun at Rideau HallPin
Busying colouring under the Reading Tent


Volunteers from Frontier College, Canada’s oldest national literacy organization, are on hand every Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  to read and do various other fun literacy activities under the (delightful) shade of a large Reading Tent on the grounds of Rideau Hall.

As a former Frontier College volunteer, I was excited to learn about the program, launched in 2012 by their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston, and eager to bring my children to check it out.

The Reading Tent was just as I remembered my Frontier College experiences: eager, friendly, trained volunteers who are simply keen to read with kids and share their love of literacy.

My eldest – four and a half – bonded immediately with one of the volunteers, and quickly settled down to a series of books with her. Meanwhile my youngest – just under two – pulled up a chair and coloured away happily while another volunteer read to her. Every now and then she graced him with an acknowledgement or babble of excitement at one of the photos.


Summer Reading Fun at Rideau HallPin
Summer Reading Fun at Rideau Hall


The former volunteer in me knows how much that’s appreciated – so I was pretty thrilled that my youngest decided to kindly acknowledge his efforts.

All around us, other volunteers were doing the same with other kids and there was a happy, creative and fun buzz in the air.

Some parents chose to read with their kids as well, while others sat at the nearby picnic tables and took a load off while their kids were happily entertained. I made a note to bring a friend next time we visit so as to have someone to catch up and relax with while my kids read.

Finally, the Reading Tent is just one of the activities you can do during your visit. While we were there, my kids also played at the nearby play structure on the grounds; wandered through the gardens; enjoyed watching the Ceremonial Guard; and were delighted by the totem pole, fountain, flowers and various others finds. We even saw a fox.



We had free, nearby street parking, easy access to water fountains, and a beautiful FREE afternoon out as a family.

I encourage you to check it out! We’ll certainly be back.

For more information, you can visit Rideau Hall’s activity’s web page; email guide@gg.ca or call 613-991-4422 or 1-866-842-4422 (toll-free).


Louise lives in Alta Vista with her husband and their two daughters: ages four and two. She works full-time for the Federal Government. She's a former competitive swimmer, enjoys running for fitness, is trying to enjoy cooking and is actively involved in the Carleton University Alumni Association. She likes to write, so: blog hobby. You can visit her blog at http://babygatesdown.wordpress.com.

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  1. Great first post! Thanks for sharing this activity, Louise! I would have never known about this program had you not posted about it. I may swing by and check it out before the summer’s through!

    • Thanks for the kind words on the post – as for the program, I hope you do. It really is a nice afternoon out. To be honest, I went to check out the tent, but my kids and I had fun just exploring the grounds and playing at the park too.

    • It was – for a bit I was wondering if we were going to make it to the reading tent given how much fun my kids were having at the play structure. But once I got them there and sitting down to read, they were all good.

    • I laughed when I was surfing about prior to writing this and saw pictures of the fox in question on the GG’s Twitter feed. I’m guessing there were a number of visitors who thought that was a fun discovery.

  2. I am off this Friday with my kiddos, so this will work out nicely! I didn’t know this was happening – thanks for the info!:)

    • It looks like the weather’s clearing up too, so hopefully it’s a nice weekend for it. Hope you enjoy your visit if you make it out!

  3. I visited my son recently (England) and he lives on an estate in a city. However, much to my surprise there were foxes in the backgarden – and not just once but every day around 8:30 pm and 4:30 am. Needless to say, I only saw them in the evening 🙂 but my son, a keen photographer, saw them regularly in the mornings too.

    • I hope he got some good pictures – the one above is the best one I got of the fox we saw. Always fun when you see something slightly unexpected.


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