Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gatineau in the Fall

In the fall of 1900, a young man, his head filled with dreams and ambitions, climbed the Gatineau hills on his bicycle. He stopped near Kingsmere Lake. Intrigued by the similarity between the name of the location and his own, he decided to build what would become known after his death as the Mackenzie King Estate.

This man, William Lyon Mackenzie King, grandson of the rebel leader William Lyon Mackenzie, was already dreaming about becoming Prime Minister of Canada. To reach his goal, he worked his way up. He was Deputy Minister of Labour in 1900, Member of parliament in 1908, Canadian Minister of Labour in 1909 under Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Leader of the Liberal Party and the Opposition in 1919, and elected Prime Minister of Canada in 1921. he remained Prime Minister for close to 22 years and still holds the record for longevity.

A few months before King's death, the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and Town Planners awarded him an honorary membership in recognition of his contribution to the planning and development of Canada's Capital and his skill in landscape architecture.

King the politician was also an artist deserving of wide recognition for his work as a landscape architect. His government left a significant legacy to the capital of Canada, including such key elements as the Gréber Plan, Gatineau Park and Kingsmere Park, which later became the Mackenzie King Estate.

The Moorside Cottage
In 1928 King moved his summer home to Moorside, where, until 1943, he received such distinguished guests a Winston Churchill and F.D. Roosevelt. At Moorside, he expressed his romantic nature by laying out formal flower beds, a rose garden, a rock garden, a flower-filled pond and by planting thousands of trees. He also erected picturesque ruins.
Today, in Moorside cottage, there is a cozy pine paneled tea-room where you can enjoy a delicious lunch.
[National Capital Commission]

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