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Rideau Hall is the Official Residence of the Governor General Of Canada. This residence was built in 1838 by Thomas MacKay a businessman on 80 acres of land near the Rideau river and waterfall and facing the Ottawa river. It is a neighbourhood of Official residences for ambassadors of various countries, the Prime Minister Residence is across the street, though for the last 5 years it has been unoccupied pending a final decision on its demolition or renovation. Rideau Hall today is much larger than the original building, many expansions over the years since 1867 have been made, every Governor General has lived at Rideau Hall. The house has 175 rooms in total, with many used for official functions. It also has beautiful green houses providing flowers year round for the house.

When a new Cabinet is sworn in or when the Prime Minister shuffles his ministers, they all come to Rideau Hall to be sworn in by the Governor General. This happened this week, Prime Minister Trudeau and the ministers of his Cabinet were sworn in by Governor General Mary May Simon in the Ballroom.

The Governor General H.E. Mary Mae Simon sitting in the front row with the PM to her right. The ministers all appear in rank of importance on this photo. Next to the PM is the Deputy PM and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, then the Foreign Minister, the Hon. Melanie Joly, etc… In his Cabinet or Ministry to use the official name, are 4 women occupying the most senior positions. Anita Anand as Minister of Defence and Mona Fortier as Minister of the Treasury Board. It is said also that this is the Queerest ministry in the history of Canada for the number of gay men and women.

The painting behind the group attracted my eye, usually the painting over the decades has changed depending on who is Governor General. The current painting is by Canadian painter Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923-2002) he was the most important signatory to the Refus Global Manifesto (1947). He participated in various artistic movement like les Automatistes, Lyrical abstraction and Tachisme. His paintings are amongst the most sought after in Canada and are found either in private collections or great museum around the World.

Point de Rencontre by Jean-Paul Riopelle. C.1963, oil on canvas, 4.28 x 5.64 metres (5 panels). Currently in the Ballroom of Rideau Hall. It is based on Riopelle’s interest in Canadian Indigenous Culture. Mary Mae Simon is herself an Innu.iop This impressive artwork is on loan from the Centre national des arts plastiques de Paris until 2024. It was most recently showcased at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as part of the Riopelle exhibition.

This is the largest painting ever produced by Jean Paul Riopelle. It was commissioned by the Government of Canada and inaugurated in February 1964 at the Toronto Pearson International Airport. In 1989, it was presented as a gift to France on the occasion of the bicentenary of the French Revolution and was on display at Paris’s Opéra Bastille.