The Lieutenant Governor’s Suite comprises several state rooms and offices inside the northwest wing of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park in Toronto. It is a working office and serves as the setting for official functions and hospitality.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Suite is the venue of many significant constitutional events, such as the appointment and resignation of Premiers, the swearing-in of ministers, and the granting of Royal Assent. It is where the Lieutenant Governor hosts foreign heads of state and government, diplomatic and consular representatives, and distinguished visitors. The suite is also a place for the Lieutenant Governor to host community groups for awards ceremonies, receptions, and meetings.
The Lieutenant Governor has operated out of the Legislative Building since 1937, following the closure of Government House at Chorley Park. The suite occupies the former site of the Speaker’s apartment and Cabinet dining room in the Legislative Building, which were renovated for use by the Lieutenant Governor.
The first public event in the new Lieutenant Governor’s Suite was hosted on May 4, 1938. In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited the suite. Since then, The Queen and most senior members of the Royal Family have been frequent visitors when in Toronto.
— Elizabeth Dowdeswell (@LGLizDowdeswell) May 4, 2016
The foyer is the main entry to the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite and leads to the lounge, drawing room, and dining room. Visitors are greeted by portraits of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, and the Lieutenant Governor. A large portrait of Upper Canada’s first Lieutenant Governor, John Graves Simcoe, painted posthumously by Sir Edmund Wyly Grier, appears on the wall on loan from the Toronto Public Library. The oak hall table, console tables, and crystal chandelier come from Ontario’s former viceregal residence, Chorley Park.
The focal point of lounge is a stone fireplace surrounded by furniture from Chorley Park. The Lieutenant Governor hosts official and informal meetings in this warm, wood-panelled room, which is also open to visitors during receptions. The lounge features the desk of the Hon. Pauline McGibbon, Ontario’s 22nd and first woman Lieutenant Governor.
The drawing room is an elegant venue and the frequent setting of receptions. The settees, armchairs, side chairs, and window seat, designed in the Louis XVI style, were purchased in 1915 from the T. Eaton Company for the former viceregal residence at Chorley Park. During the end-of-year holiday season, a decorated evergreen tree is displayed in this room.
The dining room is the setting for formal luncheons and dinners hosted by the Lieutenant Governor. Sliding doors can be opened so that large dinners and receptions can extend into the adjacent drawing room. The oak table, chairs, and sideboard, all designed in the 17th-century Jacobean style, were made in 1915 for Chorley Park.
Lined by portraits of former Lieutenant Governors, the staircase connects the foyer to the landing on the second floor.
The landing serves as an informal sitting area for guests. On display are portraits of former Lieutenant Governors. Doorways lead to the music room, the Lieutenant Governor’s private office, and work space for staff.
The large red banner with the cypher and arms of George IV dates from the 1820s. The banner was originally created for George III, and was already en route to North America at the time of his death. Rather than replacing the III, made of expensive gilded silver wire, with IV, an additional roman numeral I was added, rendering the cypher as G IIII R.
The music room, the largest room in the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite, is the setting of awards ceremonies, swearing-in ceremonies, musical performances, film screenings, large receptions, and the Lieutenant Governor’s New Year’s Levee.
The Diamond Jubilee portrait of Her Majesty The Queen is featured above the fireplace, and portraits of the most recent Lieutenant Governors hang on the walls.
The piano in the alcove give the music room its name. Most furnishings, and the chandelier, came from Chorley Park. The colourful wool carpet was installed by hoisting it in through the alcove window. The fireplace has an oak mantelpiece with a Latin inscription meaning “These things one day it will be pleasant to remember”.
On special occasions of a less formal nature, this room is adorned with couches and coffee tables, sometimes with a DJ or live musician providing entertainment.
The office is the venue for official business and informal gatherings. In this room, the Lieutenant Governor may grant Royal Assent, hold audiences with the Premier and official visitors, and sign government documents. The office is adorned with art from the Government of Ontario Art Collection. The viceregal standard is displayed along with the flags of Canada and Ontario.