Educational Activities

A school group and a guide-interpreter looking at a Totem Pole Carved in the traditional Kwakiutl style by Mungo Martin) on the grounds of Rideau Hall

Educational tours of the residence and the grounds are provided to school groups of all ages. Rideau Hall gives civics and history lessons a sense of place.

All of our activities are free of charge, but we ask that you make your reservation at least 48 hours in advance. Because Rideau Hall is a working residence, official events may require unforeseen changes to your visit.

Reservations: 613-991-4422 or 1-866-842-4422 or guide@gg.ca

Educational Tours of the Residence

From September to June
Duration: 60 minutes

Visiting the past and the present, from one State room to the next, students will experience a memorable journey through space and time during this guided tour. They will see where official activities take place, including swearing-in ceremonies for Cabinet ministers and Order of Canada investiture ceremonies. They will view the portraits of former governors general and learn how these men and women have marked our history.

Throughout the tour, students will discuss the governor general’s responsibilities with the guide-interpreter, including keeping watch over Canada’s responsible government and honouring those who have served others or brought credit to the country. In this way, students will gain a better understanding of the role the governor general plays in our parliamentary democracy and in our society.

Educational Tour of the Grounds

In September and October, and from April to June
Duration: 45 minutes

Take an educational tour of the grounds and enjoy some fresh air, all while increasing your students’ understanding of the themes you have addressed in class. Accompanied by a guide-interpreter, they will explore the site to discover the past and learn about the current functions of the official residence. Students will be encouraged to discuss questions related to the role of the governor general, including Canada’s constitutional monarchy, diplomatic relations and cultural diversity. Fountains, ceremonial trees and sculptures await you along meandering pathways, making it an engaging and enjoyable stroll.

Picnics and Other Drop-In Activities on the Grounds

Grounds: open year-round, from 8 a.m. until one hour before sunset
Visitor Centre: open in May and June, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
No reservations required

Extend your visit to Rideau Hall by having a picnic on the grounds. Tables, shaded areas and vast expanses of lawn give you the perfect chance to relax and stretch your legs. You can also roam the grounds freely with your students: interpretive panels and a self-guided tour brochure highlight the major historical aspects and main features of the property. Finally, come to our Visitor Centre to see our exhibition on the role of the governor general.

Please note that there is no space inside the residence for you to hold your picnic, should the weather be uncooperative. However, from May to October, a limited number of tables are available for use under the tent attached to the Visitor Centre, which also has washroom facilities.

Ice Skating and Winter Pavilion

From November to March, in the afternoons, depending on the weather
Duration: 90 minutes
Reservations required 

Before or after your tour of the residence in the winter months, bring your students to skate on our outdoor rink, which former governor general Lord Dufferin built for the first time in 1872. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to combine an educational activity with a sports activity. There is also a heated shelter on-site—a Winter Pavilion where you can leave your bags, have a snack (if you brought one) and lace up your skates as you learn the history of winter sports at Rideau Hall through a small exhibit.