Canada's eccentric Prime Minister Mackenzie King would hold séances at his home - Laurier House, now a National Historic Site


Ottawa - Eccentric William Lyon Mackenzie King served a total of 22 years as Prime Minister of Canada. After he died in 1950 the public learned that he was a spiritualist and would hold séances in his home, seeking guidance from his dead mother, his dogs and colourful deceased personalities from Leonardo da Vinci to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The fact that he he owned and used both a Ouija board and a crystal ball was published in Time Magazine in 1953. King lived in Laurier House (as had Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier). As Prime Minister, at the house he entertained the powerful and famous from Winston Churchill to Roosevelt, DeGaulle, Shirley Temple and the Dionne quintuplets. Among the unique mementos there today - in his bedroom is the prayer stool of Mary Queen of Scots. King's crystal ball in is his third-floor study. Laurier House photos courtesy of Ottawa TourismCrystal Ball Laurier House OttawaWhere: Laurier House is located at 335 Laurier Ave, a residential neighbourhood close to Parliament Hill. It's now a National Historic Site operated by Parks Canada and the public can visit year-round.In the News: King often expressed his wish to communicate with the living after he died. On March 6, 1977 the CBC recorded this seance at Laurier House: CBC seance . He's buried in Toronto's Mount Pleasant Ottawa Laurier HouseCemetery.




Lucy Izon

Canada Cool is produced by award-winning Canadian travel writer & speaker Lucy Izon. Her travel stories & reports have appeared in numerous leading North American publications including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and Chicken Soup for the Traveler's Soul. Bio page

Canada’s Coolest:

Welcome to a new feature on Canada Cool. I'll be presenting different 'Coolest' lists with my favorites and I encourage you to nominate suggestions from your own experiences. You can Twitter @CanadaCool or email Let me know what makes your suggestion exceptionally cool. Remember, by contributing your comments you are giving Canada Cool permission to quote you. Only a selection of submissions will be included, but all comments and submissions are greatly appreciated!

The first feature is: Canada's Coolest Single Day Scenic Drives

Here are some of my favorites...

Icefields Parkway - the world's most accessible glacier

The Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park, Alberta - This 229 km (142 mi) Rocky Mountain route from Banff/Lake Louise to Jasper passes 100 frozen rivers and nudges the base of the Athabasca Glacier - the most accessible glacier in the world. You can stop and explore it. It spills down from the Columbia Icefield, an area of ice so massive that you could fit the entire population of North America on it with each person getting at least a square metre of space.

Algonquin Moose Viewing

The Corridor, Algonquin Park, Ontario – this 56-km stretch of Hwy 60 cuts through the southwest section of Algonquin Park. Less than three hours north of Toronto the park is a nature-lover's paradise with 7,725 km of lakes, rivers, forest, trails, camping, comfortable lodges and 2000 km of canoe routes. Offers hiking trails to stop and enjoy, but what makes it really cool is that it’s one of the best places in North America to spot moose (especially in May and June). And, on Thursday nights in August up to 600 cars will gather to listen to wolves howl.

Cape Breton Cabot Trail drive

The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – Driving this 303 km (187 mile) route is like riding a roller-coaster: the road snakes around hairpin turns, rises to heights over 365 metres (1200 ft), weaves around headlands revealing spectacular coastal scenery, and plunges down to sea level taking you into the heart of small fishing communities. The most dramatic scenery is between the Cape Breton Highlands National Park entrance near Cheticamp and Pleasant Bay, so go slow. And, plan some flexibility into your schedule, so you can drive it on a clear day.

And here are some of your nominations for 'Canada's Coolest Single Day Scenic Drives'...


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