The White House in Washington, D.C. is world famous for being the residence of the sitting President of the United States. Known to a lesser degree, but widely recognized throughout Canada, is 24 Sussex Drive – the Ottawa, Ontario residence of Canada’s Prime Minister. That is, of course, until now. Reports have described the 19th century structure as one that is practically uninhabitable.
As Catharine Tunney of CBC reports, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was raised at 24 Sussex Drive during his father Pierre’s tenure as Prime Minister in the early 1980s, isn’t likely to return to the “deteriorating, mouse-infested, hydro-draining and oft-spoofed official residence of Canada’s head of government”.
Originally named Gorffwysfa, which is Welsh for “place of peace”, the stone mansion which sits at 24 Sussex Drive is in desperate need of renovations. However, the Prime Minister is of the mind that taxpayer money shouldn’t go to the upkeep of the home of its nation’s leader.
“There’s a real challenge in this country,” Trudeau is quoted as saying in Tunney’s article, “Anything that a prime minister decides that they can potentially benefit from — that’s one of the reasons that that house has gone into the ground since the time I lived there — is that no prime minister wants to spend a penny of taxpayer dollars on upkeeping that house.” The Trudeau family lives in a nearby Rideau Cottage instead of the traditional home of the Prime Minister.
Tunney notes that an auditor’s report from ten years ago reported that a repair bill would run upwards of $10 million. The 35-room residence, in fact, hasn’t had any major renovations since 1951. “It also found the windows, plumbing, electrical systems, heating and air conditioning in poor to critical condition, and noted the home had no fire sprinklers and contained asbestos,” she reports.
As if this description of the Canadian Prime Minister’s intended home isn’t bad enough, the presence of asbestos in the mansion is yet another reason it has become so undesirable. In fact, there have been calls by former residences of 24 Sussex Drive for it to be torn down and replaced with a structure befitting the leader of a nation.
One such former resident is Maureen McTeer. The wife of former Prime Minister Joe Clark feels that the building isn’t worth saving, especially considering that its 1951 renovations stripped it of all of its original fixtures. In a separate CBC report by John Paul Tasker, McTeer also points out that the presence of asbestos at 24 Sussex Drive simply makes the residence unlivable.
“This residence is much more than just a house — or even a place where prime ministers live while they’re in office — it should represent an idea of Canada,” she is quoted as saying in an interview with Rita Celli on CBC Radio’s Ontario Today, “That’s why an old, crumbling building with asbestos, which we know is poison, really is so lacking of vision, if you will, and [does not reflect] who we are as Canadians.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are definitely of the mind that our nation’s leader deserves a better home. However, we also believe that all Canadians deserve to live in asbestos-free residences. For information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.