Rideau Hall is, since 1867, the official residence in Ottawa of both the
Canadian monarch and the Governor General of Canada. It stands in Canada's
capital at 1 Sussex Drive, with the main building consisting of approximately
175 rooms across 9,500 m2 (102,000 sq ft), and 24 outbuildings around the
grounds. While the equivalent building in many countries has a prominent,
central place in the national capital (for example Buckingham Palace, the White
House, and the Royal Palace in Amsterdam), Rideau Hall's site is relatively
unobtrusive within Ottawa, giving it more the character of a private home.
Most of Rideau Hall is used for state affairs, only 500 m2 (5,400 sq ft) of
its area being dedicated to private living quarters, while additional areas
serve as the offices of the Canadian Heraldic Authority and the principal
workplace of the governor general and his or her staff—either the term Rideau
Hall, as a metonym, or the formal idiom Government House is employed to refer to
this bureaucratic branch.
Officially received at the palace are foreign
heads of state, both incoming and outgoing ambassadors and high commissioners to
Canada, and Canadian Crown ministers for audiences with either the viceroy or
the sovereign, should the latter be in residence. Rideau Hall is likewise the
location of many Canadian award presentations and investitures, where prime
ministers and other members of the federal Cabinet are sworn in, and where
federal writs of election are dropped, amongst other ceremonial and
Rideau Hall and the surrounding grounds were
designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1977. The house is open to
the public for guided tours throughout the year.