The Farm is the official residence of the speaker of the House of Commons. It has been used as an official residence since 1955. Located at Kingsmere, in the Gatineau Hills, this rural property consists of a renovated farmhouse and five outbuildings surrounded by 1.74 hectares (4 acres) of fields and forests. This residence is closed to the public, but a virtual tour is available.
Virtual Tour of the Farm
A Family Property
The Farm was built in the mid-19th century by Henry Fleury, a pioneer who settled at Kingsmere with his family. Their farm property included a farmhouse, several outbuildings, fields, forests and a disused mica mine.
In 1927, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King bought the land to transform it into a distinguished property as part of his country estate. King already owned nearby cottages and woodlands.
A Prime Minister’s Hobby Farm
The property, which he dubbed “the Farm,” became a hobby farm. The “gentleman farmer” built new farm buildings, planted gardens and an orchard, and consulted agricultural experts from the Central Experimental Farm for tips on caring for his sheep, bees and crops. King also hired a farmer/caretaker to live in the farmhouse.
A Prime Minister’s Retreat
In 1935, King decided to renovate the farmhouse as a year-round country retreat. He built two new wings, and introduced heating and indoor plumbing.
In the 1940s, King made the Farm his preferred country getaway, calling it his “real home.” While he sometimes welcomed family, friends and distinguished guests, the Farm was mainly a personal sanctuary, where he could relax in privacy and commune with nature.
A National Legacy
After his retirement in 1948, William Lyon Mackenzie King spent an increasing amount of time at the Farm. It was also there that he died, on July 22, 1950. King left his entire 231-hectare Kingsmere country estate, including his residence at the Farm, to the government and people of Canada. In his will, King expressed the wish that most of his estate become a public park. Indeed, the Mackenzie King Estate is now a centrepiece of Gatineau Park. The former prime minister also expressed the wish that his successors use the Farm as a retreat where they could escape the pressures of public life, as he had done. Since another official residence (24 Sussex Drive) had been chosen for the prime minister, the Farm became the official residence of the speaker of the House of Commons.
Today, the Farm is a quiet place where the speaker of the House of Commons can retreat from the political activity of Parliament. Since 1986, the residence has been managed by the NCC.