Motion Would Open National Historic Site in Rivière-du-Loup to Public
OTTAWA, ONTARIO - Conservative critic for Canadian Heritage Peter Van Loan has placed a Private Member's Motion on notice that would acquire Sir John A Macdonald's summer home Les Rochers. The house, located in Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, was Macdonald's summer home from 1872 until his death in 1891. Macdonald hosted cabinet meetings and meetings with other important figures at the house. Issues such as developing the west, the cross-country railway and the Riel rebellions were all discussed at Les Rochers.
The property has been maintained to closely resemble how it would have looked throughout the Macdonald years. This adds to the suitability of the building for a museum about Macdonald's life and times. Les Rochers was designated as a National Historic Site by the previous government in 2015, in recognition of its importance. Van Loan's motion recommends that the government move forward on its acquisition and convert the location into a museum on Macdonald's contribution to Canada. With the 150th anniversary of Confederation coming in 2017, it is a perfect time for the government to take this step to preserve and promote Canada's history and heritage.
The house is currently owned by non-profit group Canadian Heritage of Quebec who acquired it to ensure this important piece of Canadian history would not be lost. They currently oversee its operation as a bed and breakfast.
“The Les Rochers bed and breakfast is an exceptional location for a museum about Sir John A. Macdonald's life. Many important decisions about our country's future were taken at this summer house. It's also here, in Notre-Dame-du-Portage, that the politician came to recharge,” said Bernard Généreux, MP for Montmagny-L'Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup. “The link between this place and the foundation of our country deserves some recognition.”
The location of Les Rochers also represents a little-known aspect of Sir John A Macdonald's life. While he is most commonly remembered as a representative of English Canada, he spent many of the summers following Confederation in Quebec. Macdonald's commitment to Confederation and a unified Canada is apparent in his personal life, a piece of history deserving of recognition in commemorating a great Canadian.
“Les Rochers was Sir John A Macdonald's second home for nearly 20 years and was a place of both relaxation and work, where critical decisions were made in the early years of our country,” said Peter Van Loan. “Macdonald is undoubtedly the most influential figure in the creation of our country. A museum in Rivière-du-Loup is an important way to ensure the public appreciates the significance of his life and legacy.”