… Get it?? His initials …
I went to school in Kingston for five years and never went to Bellevue House. My sister has lived in Kingston for ten years and only went to Bellevue House for the first time as part of some escape room adventure. So it was about time we actually went to Bellevue House for its historical significance!
Sir John A. Macdonald, our lovely first Prime Minister, lived at Bellevue House back when his political career was just taking off. He was a prominent lawyer and budding politician in Kingston, but due to his wife’s ill health, he moved to the “outskirts” of the city so that his wife could enjoy the fresh lake air. (I find this so funny because Bellevue House is still within walking distance of downtown … a long walk, but a walk nonetheless!) Johnny Mac only lived here for about a year (1848-1849) due to the cost of renting the house and also because the fresh air didn’t seem to help his wife much.
Since it was Canada Day, there were a lot of fun activities to do! First, we sang the national anthem. There was also a sword-fighting demonstration/class, 19th century games to play, costumes to try on, quilts and tapestries to weave, and a random proclamation that I signed with a quill! (I didn’t get enough pictures; my apologies!)
Next, we went inside the house. I’m not sure if any of the furniture belonged to John A. Macdonald because several middle-class families lived in the house after he did, but the house has at least been restored to resemble what it might have looked like during the 1840s.
We spent a lot of time in the very large guest room (very large so that guests would stay there and think, “This is a very large room! I bet all the other rooms are this big!”, thus assuming somewhat incorrectly that the house was enormous and the owner very rich!) because there was a trivia game which taught me some fun facts and ignited a competitive spirit within me!
If you live in the Kingston area, Bellevue House is a pretty interesting place to visit, and it’s free for the rest of the year if you have a National Parks Discovery Pass!
Bellevue House / 35 Centre Street, Kingston / website