Harrington Lake

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Harrington Lake
General information
Architectural style Colonial Revival style
Town or city Gatineau, Quebec
Country Canada
Coordinates 45°33′14″N 75°55′46″W / 45.55389°N 75.92944°W / 45.55389; -75.92944Coordinates: 45°33′14″N 75°55′46″W / 45.55389°N 75.92944°W / 45.55389; -75.92944
Construction started 1925 [1]
Client Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Macpherson Edwards
Owner The Queen in Right of Canada
Landlord National Capital Commission
Technical details
Size 16 room home on 5.4-hectare (13-acre) property
Design and construction
Architect Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Macpherson Edwards
Lac Mousseau
Location Gatineau Park, Quebec
Coordinates 45°34′10″N 75°57′24″W / 45.56944°N 75.95667°W / 45.56944; -75.95667
Basin countries Canada

Harrington Lake estate is the name of the official country retreat of the Prime Minister of Canada and also the name of the land which surrounds it. It is located near Meech Lake – where the Meech Lake Accord was negotiated in 1987 – approximately 35 kilometers northwest of Ottawa, in an area known as Gatineau Park, amidst the Gatineau Hills in Quebec. The estate is not open to the public, but the Mackenzie King Estate, the retreat of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King at Kingsmere, is a tourist attraction a few kilometers further south in the park.

Besides the cottage, the Harrington estate consists of three other buildings:

  • staff cottage
  • upper guest cottage
  • lower guest cottage
  • boat house and paddleboat dock
  • long dock (located the northeast of the retreat)

The lake itself and the area around it are also referred to as Lac Mousseau. The name Harrington is thought to be a misspelling of Hetherington, the name of a family which settled in this area. The French name Mousseau comes from another early settler to the area, Louis Mousseau.

The retreat is accessed by Chemin de Lac Meech with an armed (by the RCMP) gatehouse at the driveway of the retreat.


The cottage was built for lumber baron (Lieutenant Colonel) Cameron Macpherson Edwards in the 1920s when he acquired the land that the home was built upon. The lake and the property (including neighbouring land belonging to William Duncan Herridge and Stanley Healey) had been acquired by the Queen in Right of Canada in 1951, in order to build up preserves of natural areas around the capital. In 1959, supporters of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker suggested that he needed a quiet place to go fishing, not too far from Ottawa, and, later that year, Harrington Lake was chosen as the site for an official country residence for the Prime Minister. During the first prime ministership of Pierre Trudeau, his then-wife, Margaret, added a vegetable garden, which, according to Kim Campbell's autobiography Time and Chance, still provides the house with fresh produce.

Campbell was also the only Prime Minister to have spent her entire term in office residing at Harrington Lake. Initially, Campbell took up residence at Harrington Lake so that her predecessor, Brian Mulroney, could continue to reside at 24 Sussex Drive until renovations on his new private residence in Montreal were completed. Once Mulroney vacated 24 Sussex, Campbell had not finished moving to that address before her party was defeated in the 1993 election.


Other than the Edwards', the residents of the cottage have mainly been the Prime Minister:

Since 1959, the retreat is now used by the Prime Minister:

See also[edit]


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