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Woodside National Historic Site of Canada


The Historic House

John King family at Woodside, Berlin, Ontario, ca. 1890
John King family at Woodside, Berlin, Ontario, ca. 1890
© National Archives of Canada/C-7333

Woodside was built in 1853 by James Colquhoun, a British barrister who had recently arrived in Canada. Following Colquhoun's death in 1877, it was occupied by a succession of tenants, among whom was the King family.

In the early 1940s, Woodside was in danger of demolition to make way for a housing development. A group of citizens organized the Mackenzie King Woodside Trust to preserve and restore the house in honour of Mackenzie King. The King family only occupied the house for seven years but the importance of those years for the young Mackenzie King may be judged by his later reflection: "The years that left the most abiding of all impressions and most in the way of family associations were those lived at Woodside." Woodside has now been reconstructed and restored to represent the period of the Kings' residence, 1886-93.

A Family of Six

For seven years (1886-93), a boy who was destined to become our tenth prime minister called Woodside home. His name was William Lyon Mackenzie King . Willie, as he was affectionately known by his family and friends, resided with his father, John, a lawyer, and his mother, Isabel, a noted hostess in the community. He had two sisters, Isabel (Bella) and Janet (Jennie), and a brother Dougall McDougall (Max) . They also had a much-loved family dog named Fannie.

King's Life

William Lyon Mackenzie King in college room
William Lyon Mackenzie King at the University of Toronto
© National Archives of Canada/C-7321
Graduation photo of William Lyon Mackenzie King
William Lyon Mackenzie King at University Graduation
© National Archives of Canada/C-2853
William Lyon Mackenzie King
William Lyon Mackenzie King as Prime Minister
© National Archives of Canada/71C-3-4

Born :
December 17, 1874, Berlin (Kitchener), Ontario

Died :
July 22, 1950, Kingsmere, Quebec

Education :
University of Toronto (B.A. 1895, LL.B. 1896, M.A. 1897)
Harvard University (M.A. Economics 1898, Ph.D. 1909)
University of Chicago (1896-97)
Occupation :
1909-1911 - Canada's First Deputy Minister of Labour
1914 - Appointed head of the Department of Industrial Relations, Rockefeller Foundation
1917-19 - Labour consultant, Rockefeller Foundation

Liberal Party Leader 1919-48

Prime Minister of Canada

  • December 29,1921 - June 28, 1926
  • September 25, 1926 - August 7, 1930
  • October 23, 1935 - November 15, 1948