Historic Bellevue House reopens – Canada.ca

New exhibits and extensive restoration completed at former Sir John A. Macdonald residence.

May 18, 2024                                 Kingston, Ontario                           Parks Canada

Following an extensive renewal of the building and its exhibits and programming, Bellevue House National Historic Site welcomes visitors to explore this historic site that tells broader, more inclusive stories about Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.

Today, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, along with Rodrick Daniel Maracle, Chief of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, announced the reopening of Bellevue House at a ceremonial event held in Kingston, Ontario.

The new experience invites visitors to explore Sir John A. Macdonald’s role in forming the Dominion of Canada, and his actions as prime minister, and to understand the lasting legacies of the Victorian system that existed in Kingston and in Canada from the 1840s through Confederation.

Parks Canada formed working groups with Indigenous partners, culturally diverse members of Kingston and area communities, historical and conservatory experts, and other collaborators to share stories and develop new exhibit content. As a result, the new presentation of the historic house provides a more inclusive interpretation of the past. Through self-guided or guided tours and special events and programming, visitors are encouraged to engage with stories that reflect the diverse lives lived in the 1800s, including those of Indigenous, racialized, working-class, and upper-class individuals. Themes of wealth and power, incredible achievements and feats of engineering, and personal loss and tragedy, are interwoven with issues such as colonial expansion, racism, misogyny, and exploitation.

Understanding Canada’s shared history is an ongoing process, and Bellevue House National Historic Site offers new opportunities for those interested in engaging with the past. Visit Bellevue House National Historic Site this summer to experience history, engage with many voices, reflect on the complex legacy of Sir John A. Macdonald, and join the conversation about Canada’s first prime minister.


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