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Bellevue House National Historic Site

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Bellevue House was once the home of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister. Discover the important role that Macdonald played in creating the country of Canada and the challenges, defeats and triumphs of the nation's first leader.

Restored to the 1840s and staffed by costumed interpreters, the house and gardens are kept much as they would have been during the time that Macdonald lived here with his wife and infant son. Built in the Italianate Villa Style of architecture, asymmetrical in shape, with decorative balconies and a three-story central tower, Bellevue contrasted with the traditional Georgian architecture of Kingston houses. Macdonald spoke of it as "the most fantastic concern imaginable."

What You'll See

Historic House

  • There was nothing in Kingston even remotely similar to Bellevue House. In fact, at the time that Bellevue House was constructed, there was nothing like it in the Province of Canada. Furnished as it would have been in Sir John A. Macdonald’s time, the historic home also features items that hold a direct link to Canada’s first Prime Minister.

Heritage Garden

  • The grounds of Bellevue House today are much as they were when the Macdonald’s lived here almost 150 years ago. In keeping with the theories of landscaping popular in the mid-nineteenth century, the grounds were intended to beautify the property and harmonize with the style of the house. Costumed interpreters tend to the grounds and garden using practices and tools of the period, and planting varieties of vegetables and herbs appropriate to the 1840’s.

Visitor Centre

  • Delve into the history of Sir John A. Macdonald and discover his early life in Kingston and his beginnings as a lawyer. Discover the important role that Macdonald played in creating the country of Canada and the challenges, defeats and triumphs as the nation’s first Prime Minister.