Visit the boyhood home of Canada’s tenth Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King at Woodside National Historic Site in Kitchener (then Berlin). Take in this beautifully preserved Victorian home, which is filled with King family heirlooms and period reproductions.
Sitting on 11.5 acres of mature forest, this historical property is a must-see in Waterloo Region. Visitors can enjoy Victorian games like crokinole, bagatelle, and discovery basket, as well as audio-visual presentations about the King Family’s time at Woodside.
Enjoy a number of things to do, such as taking in the scenic landscapes and crisp autumn leaves at A Victorian Thanksgiving, which offers a tour of the home, grounds, and an authentic Victoria Thanksgiving experience. Visiting over the Christmas holidays? Have a very merry Woodside Christmas by touring the seasonally decorated home and take a walk across the scenic winter wonderland.
The gardens and landscaping at Woodside National Historic Site are meant to re-create the 1890s and are based on photographs, letters, and early site surveys. Take a stroll, or plan a picnic on-site, admire the lily pond, or the tulip tree planted by John King 110 years ago.
There is an opportunity for students to earn valuable hands-on experience in a setting beyond the classroom and the textbook. They learn about William Lyon Mackenzie King’s life, political career, life in the early 1890s, and take in items such as kerosene lamps, corsets, and wood stoves.
The home itself was built in 1853 by James Colquhoun, a British barrister who was new to Canada. After Colquhoun passed away in 1877, the home was occupied by various tenants, including the King family. The Kings only lived in the home for seven years from 1886-1983, and by the early 1940s, it was in danger of demolition. The Mackenzie King Woodside Trust was established by a group of citizens with the purpose of preserving and restoring the home.
Reflecting later in his life, Mackenzie King stated “the years that left the most abiding of all impressions and most in the way of family associations were those lived at Woodside.”