OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau will not be moving into 24 Sussex Drive, the official residence of the country’s leader and where he spent his childhood, just yet.
Trudeau’s office said the incoming prime minister, who had not renewed the lease on his Ottawa home long before the Oct. 19 election that swept him to power, and his family will live in a 22-room house called Rideau Cottage instead.
The 147-year-old official residence has long been in need of repairs. Most prime ministers have declined to authorize big renovations under their watch for fear of being accused of over-spending.
“It oppresses its residents - though they are required by the unbreakable codes of populism to deny any problem — and it doesn’t uplift the nation. Frankly it doesn’t even do much for the neighborhood,” Maclean’s magazine once wrote about the building.
“It has no fire sprinklers. Its walls are lined with asbestos. Its plumbing and wiring would not pass muster in any other house in Ottawa. It is drafty. Its air conditioners make a racket. It has, by all accounts, hideous carpeting on the stairs.”
Trudeau, who lived as a child in the official residence as the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, will make decisions about the building once he has been briefed by officials, his office said in a statement on Monday.
Rideau Cottage is located across the street from 24 Sussex on the Rideau Hall grounds where Canada’s governor general, the representative of Queen Elizabeth II, Canada’s head of state, resides.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr and Randall Palmer; Editing by Paul Simao