This 231-hectare country estate belonged to Canada’s 10th and longest-serving prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King. After spending almost 50 years (1903–1950) beautifying and expanding his property, King bequeathed his beloved estate to all Canadians.
Throughout the year, there are events, activities and a Tea Room to enjoy a nice afternoon at the estate. Sadly, all of this is canceled for 2020 but we are hopefully that next summer brings new changes.
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How to get there
While I traditionally follow my GPS like gospel, it was a bit of a let down this time. We were asked to make a turn onto Gatineau Parkway, which is currently closed, and we weren’t the only ones confused by the misdirection.
Thankfully, I had done my research before leaving the house and we wanted P6. Simply follow the road signs and you will be taken into the backcountry of Gatineau park and taken directly to your parking destination. This will lead you along Chemin Kingsmere and Chemin Swamp
Mackenzie King Estate
Mackenzie King Estate is a beautiful place with easy, lovely and short trails. It is very informative of Mackenzie King’s life at the estate.
At the bottom of the estate, you will find two picturesque ruins; the Window on the Forest, the Arc de Triomphe and the Abbey Ruins, as they are titled — that King pieced together over the years from the remnants of other buildings. Some of the stones were salvaged from the fire that destroyed the Parliament Buildings in 1916, while others were obtained from fragments of the British Houses of Parliament he somehow recovered after it was renovated.
The arch of Arc de Triomphe was created from the entrance pillars of the old British North American Bank Note Company in downtown Ottawa. Other parts of the bank provided the pillars and lintel for the Window-on-the-Forest ruin that separates the flower gardens from the more natural area
Follow the tree line to a small trail up the hill and you will come across the Abbey. These are more great sets of ruins that Mackenzie King amassed for this collection.
Behind the Abbey, there is a small trail that leads into the woods. Follow this and bare right. You will soon find a tunnel that leads to a parking lot. You are going in the right direction.
Follow the trail signs and bare left, you will soon find yourself at the top of the waterfall, with an incredible view from the lookout.
You are welcome to continue your descent and find more amazing angles, or double back and turn left at the fork, to continue on to the Lauriault Trail. The sign reads 150 m to the waterfall, 1.5 km to the Lauriault lookout or 900m back to the Mackenzie King Estate.
Once you have left the waterfall, it is mostly an uphill hike. The trail is worn and smooth, with very little rocks as obstacles. The incline is also gentle enough to make the whole thing child friendly, though a hiking carrier is required for little ones.
Once you have reached the lookout, there is a large bench to rest your feet before continuing. The lookout, however, is not the top of the trail. There is a little more uphill to climb before your descent begins.
The Lauriault Parking Lot and Mulvihill Parking Lot are much closer to the lookout if you want to take a short way up. Simply continue past P6 on Mackenzie King rd and turn right on Champlain Parkway, if it is open.
In order to return to your car at P6, you will cross another parking lot and start the Mulvihill trail. This is a very gentle, mostly even ground trail that takes you back to the bottom of the Mackenzie King Estate. Walking back along the road is an option as well, favoured by the cyclists, but the hiking trail is shaded and much cooler in the summer months.
Bring on a hike
This 2 hr, 5 km hike is not for the unprepared.
Because the kids like to run along trails so much and it is impossible to stop them, we have decided to bring mini first aid kits with us. Without fail, there will be at least 1 child that takes a tumble and requires a band-aid
- Proper shoes
- Bug spray
- First aid kit