Home of Canada
's prime minister
The house at 24 Sussex was built in 1866 by lumber baron and member of Parliament Joseph Merrill Currier as a wedding gift for his bride. He called it "Gorffwysfa," which is Welsh for "place of peace."
It's a big old stone mansion; it's obviously a nice place to live, but lacks the grandeur of, for example, the American White House. But then, it doesn't serve the same ceremonial and practical functions -- it's just a place for the PM to live and, sometimes, entertain. The grounds, nearly four acres, are not open to the public.
The government of Canada bought the house when it went on the market in 1943, and renovated it. The house became the prime minister's official residence in 1951, when Louis St. Laurent moved in. His predecessor, William Lyon Mackenzie King, who'd been in office for 24 years with only very brief breaks, had owned and lived in the house once occupied by his political hero, Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
The property was last assessed at about $5 million Cdn.
24 Sussex backs onto the Ottawa River, just northwest of Rockcliffe Park, Ottawa's ritziest neighbourhood. The closest neighbours are the French ambassador's residence, the South African high commission, and Rideau Hall, where Canada's Governor General lives.
Like all official residences in Ottawa, 24 Sussex is maintained by the National Capital Commission. New prime ministers get a certain budget to redecorate with. There are periodic little scandals associated with this process. Prime minister Pierre Trudeau was accused of minor corruption for accepting free installation of a swimming pool from a political crony; when they moved out, Brian Mulroney and his wife, Mila, were accused of making off with furnishings and dishes that didn't belong to them.