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24 Sussex Drive

From Academic Kids

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Side View of 24 Sussex Drive

24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada.

The house was acquired by the Government of Canada in 1943 and, like most official residences, is managed by the National Capital Commission. All prime ministers since Louis St. Laurent in 1951 have lived at 24 Sussex during their terms of office.

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24 Sussex Drive, front view

The house at 24 Sussex Drive was built in 1866 by Joseph Merrill Currier, a lumberman and Member of Parliament, for his wife Hannah. He called the home, Gorffwysfa, Welsh for place of rest. Previous prime minsters had lived at a variety of locations about Ottawa. Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Mackenzie King, for instance lived at Laurier House in Sandy Hill. See also list of Canadian Prime Ministers by residence.

It is a large limestone structure of 34 rooms set on 3.98 acres (16,000 m²) on the edge of the Ottawa River next door to the French embassy and opposite the main entrance to Rideau Hall, the Governor General's residence. The house is shaded by trees and hedges.

Several prime ministers have left their own marks on the building. Pierre Trudeau installed a pool for his frequent workouts. Brian Mulroney had a new closet installed to hold his wife's and his vast collection of Gucci shoes.

Unlike the White House or 10 Downing Street it is used almost exclusively as a place of residence and the Prime Minister's work is carried out at in the Langevin Building.

Security at 24 Sussex was overhauled following a break-in by a deranged man armed with a knife who tried to assassinate Prime Minster Chrétien. The man managed to scale the fence surrounding the property without being noticed by security. He then entered the house. The noise he made woke up Aline, the Prime Minister's wife, who locked the door to the bedroom. Chrétien famously prepared to defend himself with a sharp-edged Inuit carving. Fortunately, bodyguards responded quickly and arrested the man.

In November 2004, Prime Minister Paul Martin complained about the house's heating system. According to his statement, the century-old house gets "too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer".

Other Canadian official residences

External links

Prime Minister's Residence Official Website (http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/attractions/official_residences/sussex_e.html)

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