Friday, April 17, 2009

Mackenzie King Estate

Mackenzie King Estate - Gatineau, Quebec

The Mackenzie King Estate was the country retreat of Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King. This historical estate, the legacy of Mackenzie King, belongs to all Canadians. Mackenzie King was Canada's 10th Prime Minister and held power for 22 years -- the longest ever for a Canadian prime minister.

King had some quirks - one of them being ruins, which he created on the Estate. To give his property a more distinguished appearance, King collected stones to erect ruins scattered through the gardens. If you look carefully, you can even find the Coat of Arms of the original Parliament Buildings in Britain.

The Estate is said to be haunted possibly because King died there or because of King's own psychic activities. King had an avid interest in spiritualism and sometimes invited mediums to his Estate for private consultations.

I visited the Estate last year with a friend. It was a glorious day in early May and the Estate was beautiful. There was still the starkness of winter, just being overshadowed by the new green of spring. I took this photo looking up the path towards some of the ruins. The shadows and strong light appealed and also gave a sense of the quiet of the place, broken only by footsteps on the dirt path and birdsong above our heads.


Jennifer Rose said...

looks like a great place to visit, thanks for the link

"Coat of Arms of the original Parliament Buildings in Britain."
really? thats neat and makes me wonder how he got it (i can't seem to find it on google)

Rose Welty said...

Such loose work here Jeanette...but still very recognizable...very nice.

Charlene Brown said...

You've done a great job of capturing the odd atmosphere at MacKenzie King's collection of ruins. Reminds me of a similar visit, on another brilliant day -- with the quiet broken not just by footsteps and birdsong, but the bewildered comments of American tourists, who had apparently never heard of this aspect our longest-serving Prime Minister's life, as they read the various information plaques.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Jennifer. Most likely King had a replica of the coat of arms created, as were all his ruins replicated pieces for the most part.

Its good to see where the line between abstract and representational art lies sometimes Rose. Its always interesting to see how simple strokes can indicate form and value.

Charlene, I can just imagine the chatter of the tourists as the facts about King were revealed. The Estate does have a unique feel to it.

laura said...

The bluey-whites and yellowy-greens in the foliage are so beautiful together! And the greys and pinks compliment them so subtly. Just lovely, so sensitive.