When Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the new capital of Canada in 1866, Rideau Hall became the residence of the first governor general, Lord Monck. The house has been expanded numerous times since then, including the addition of a tennis court in 1872, as well as an ice skating rink and a tobogganing slide.
The main entrance, completed in 1913, contains all the heraldric shields of the governors of Canada, beginning with Samuel de Champlain, the first governor of New France. There are portraits of the British governors general in the Tent Room and portraits of the Canadian-born governors general (beginning with Vincent Massey) in the Reception Room. Portraits of the spouses of the governors general are found in the Drawing Room. Inductions into the Order of Canada are usually held in the Ballroom; sometimes they are held in the Reception Room. The prime minister and cabinet members also swear their oaths in the Ballroom, and diplomatic functions are held there.
While many of the rooms showcase Victorian British styles or Oriental styles, the Canadian Room is dedicated to Canadian art and culture. A greenhouse and flower garden, which also contains many Canadian symbols such as a totem pole from British Columbia, provide flowers for the Hall and the other government buildings in Ottawa.
The Queen of Canada also resides in Rideau Hall during official visits to Ottawa.
Other Canadian official residences