The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Rideau Hall in Ottawa

Educational tours of the residence and the grounds are provided to school groups, from Grade 5 to adult students. This site, where Canada’s governors general have lived and worked since Confederation, 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. Rideau Hall is a working residence, so the holding of official events may require unforeseen changes to your visit.

Educational Tours of the Residence

Tent Room Tent Room
Photo: Rideau Hall

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

Duration: 60 minutes
Period: From September to June
Reservations: 613 991 4422 or 1 866 842 4422 or

Educational Tours of the Grounds

Totem Pole Totem Pole
Photo: Rideau Hall

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.

Duration: 45 minutes
Period: In September and October, and from April to June
Reservations: 613 991 4422 or 1 866 842 4422 or

Picnics and Other Drop-In Activities on the Grounds

Picnickers Picnickers
Photo: Rideau Hall

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.

Duration and period: The grounds are open all year round, from 8 a.m. until one hour before sunset; the Visitor Centre is open in May and June, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Reservations: No reservations required

Ice Skating

Skaters on the Rideau Hall Skating Rink Skaters
Photo: Rideau Hall

Before or after your tour of the residence in the winter months, bring your students to skate on our historic 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 a small, heated hut on site where you can leave your bags, have a snack (if you brought one) and tie your skates.

Duration: 90 minutes
Period: From January to March, in the afternoons, depending on the weather
Reservations: Please see the How to Reserve section

Address, Detailed Schedules and Exhibitions

Please see our Visit Us section.

To Learn More About Rideau Hall
Canada’s Capital Region | Rideau Hall
Canada’s Historic Places | Rideau Hall

Date modified: August 5, 2017