Nature and science

Woodside National Historic Site

Historic nature

Learn about the nature of the historic grounds of Woodside National Historic Site from the late-1800s to the mid-1900s to today.

An urban oasis

Woodside offers an urban oasis near downtown Kitchener, Ontario. The house is surrounded by a beautiful park with wooded areas, gardens, lawns, and serene pathways. Stop by the lily pond and admire the tulip tree planted by John King over 110 years ago.

You can now walk up the lane through the 4.65 hectares (11.5 acres) of wooded grounds, gardens, and lawn. The site is perfect for picnics and afternoon strolls. It is easy to imagine that it is summer and that the year is 1891. In the autumn, you will be dazzled by the property ablaze with fall colours. The grounds in the winter months are a peaceful place for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or just walking around and admiring the winter wonderland.

The landscape today at Woodside tries to re-create the landscape of the 1890s. It is based on historic photographs, letters from the Mackenzie King Papers, early surveys and the site itself. It is not completely restored nor reproduced to that time period, however, many of the garden, woodland, and landscape features have been re-created for visitor interpretation and enjoyment.

"...yesterday I started at the front lawn to get it cleaned up, that is the lawn down by the lily pond and to take away all the sticks and stones, the old branches of the trees, etc. then I went at levelling the manure in the kitchen garden ..."
Excerpt from family letter, William Lyon Mackenzie King to his father, May 1, 1888, Berlin.

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