Arts & Culture

None so unusual — Rideau Hall’s the Tent Room

After the government purchased the land in 1868, the former MacKay family home (built in 1838 by stonemason Thomas MacKay) was added to extensively, creating a patchwork of styles, but none so unusual as the Tent Room.

Resembling a candy cane or a popcorn box, it was created by the Earl of Dufferin (Canada’s third governor general) to host indoor parties reminiscent of outdoor events held in England’s more accommodating weather. The room also doubled as a tennis court. Later, portraits of key figures in Canada’s sports history replaced tennis racquets and balls: Lord Stanley, who donated “the cup,” and Earl Grey, who donated the other (CFL) “cup.” Elsewhere, Glenn Gould’s practice piano occupies a corner of the Long Gallery, while the Ballroom bedazzles guests with its one-tonne chandelier (12,000 crystals) given to Canada by England for its aid in the Second World War.

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