Laurier House National Historic Site of Canada
The Will of William Lyon Mackenzie King
W.L.M. King on front steps of Laurier House 1935© National Archives of Canada / c-124517
King said on a number of occasions that, although Laurier House had been bequeathed to him outright, he felt an obligation under the terms of Lady Laurier's will to leave the property to his successor as leader of the Liberal party. King's successor, after his retirement in 1948, was Louis St. Laurent who remained in office until 1957. St. Laurent, however, did not inherit Laurier House when King died in 1950. It is not known when he changed his mind but, in his will, the beneficiary whom King named instead was the "Government and people of Canada". St. Laurent, however, unlike Laurier and King, was not faced with the problem of finding his own accommodation, for the problem of housing for Canada's political leaders was solved when 24 Sussex Drive became the residence for the prime minister and "Stornoway" for the leader of the opposition.
"Lost a great and good friend" King passes away.© Toronto Daily Star / Les Callan 1950
The bequest of Laurier House to the people of Canada was an extraordinary gift that King made in the belief that as the years pass, the citizens of Canada will take an increasing interest and pride in the preservation of a house occupied through many years by two of Canada's Prime Ministers and reminiscent of an environment that was a part of their daily lives.
The bequest also included most of the contents of the house: King's papers and books, furnishings, gifts that he had received during his political career and the "historical gifts" belonging to Sir Wilfrid Laurier that Lady Laurier had willed to King.