Built sometime between 1838-1840 this lovely home belonged to one of the most important men in Canada. Sir John A McDonald, Canada’s first prime minister. Bellevue House has two other names Tea Caddy Castle and Pekeo Pagoda. It was called Pekeo Pagoda because of the original owner, Charles Hale.
Charles Hale came from the British isles and moved into Bellevue with his wife and child in 1839. He was part of a small active group known as Wesleyan Methodist. In 1841 Kingston became Canada’s first capital city.(later became Ottawa because of the Rideau Canal.) Hales and his family moved out and rented the house out to wealthy people such as government workers. In 1842 the capital was changed to Montreal, the Hales moved back to the Bellevue house. During this time Charles lost his son Charles Junior at 5 months old. His wife Elizabeth fell into a depression and died of heart break 2 weeks later. The house was put up for sale a few years later and It was sold to the McDonald family.
Sir John A. McDonald was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1815. He eventually moved to the British North America with his family when he was a young child. His father was a successful merchant in the Kingston Area so he was able to send his son John to the finest schools. At 19, John opened his first law business. In 1843 he was elected to become a legislature of the Province of Canada. He moved around quite often downtown Kingston so most properties were owned for offices or he resided in. (most of Downtown remains the same as it did in the 1800’s) in 1848 his law business made so much money he could afford to move his family into a grander home. They moved to a home on the outskirts of Kingston known as the Bellevue house. His first wife Isabella, had been sick for many years so the doctors believed the fresh air from the country area of Kingston and the breeze from off the lake would be beneficial on her health. Due to her poor health she remained in the morning room that they converted into a bedroom since she could not climb the stairs to the master bedroom. Normally that would be odd back then but it helped her oversee running everything that went on in the household. John and his son would stay by her side most of the time. John would read to her when he was by her side and it gave her time to play with her son. The air did not end up helping Isabella. John and Isabella’s son John junior passed away at 1 year old. John’s work became strained and his law partner passed away leaving debt behind. It was so strained, The McDonald’s had to move within a year of moving in. They moved in with John’s mother and sister somewhere downtown. John took up a political career and unfortunately could not continue caring for his sickly wife as much as he used to.
In 1854, John helped create the Liberal-Confederation party which quickly rose into power and 3 years later he became the premier of Upper Canada. (Ontario/Quebec boarder) In 1857 Isabella passed away due to her illness. (Her illness is unknown) In 1867 on July 1st John A. McDonald became Sir John A. McDonald as he was knighted by Queen Victoria and Canada became it’s own country, separating from Britain. He remained in office until death. He built a strong country and he extended it all the way to British Colombia. (the east and north coming long after he passed) Although an eccentric character he was not without many faults which are part of Canada’s dark history. Bellevue house is now a tourist attraction.
Many of the staff members who work at the Bellevue house do not feel comfortable being alone in the house. Many people report seeing a women and a child walking around the house or a man standing by the master bedroom window. Many believe the man to be Sir John A. and the women and child to be his first wife and child. However it could be Charles Hale and his late wife and child as well. On many occasions the master bedroom bed has an imprint in it but no tourists or staff members had been upstairs. The bed however, is out of reach to all tourists. The alarm in the master bedroom often goes off even when no one is in the house. A closing staff member reports hearing a tatting shuttle. (which is like crochet) Staff members often learnt his practice, however the house was empty except for the closer. A young boy who came with his parents came running down the stairs crying because the women in the bedroom holding a baby disappeared. More recently a couple was visiting and were exploring opposite ends of the cellar when they both felt a drop in temperature suddenly. The husband was talking to a lady but to his wife he was talking to the air. His wife asked him what he was doing and he replied by saying he was talking to a lady but he noticed she had disappeared. Was this women Isabella or maybe Elizabeth Hale? Was the man Charles Hale or Sir John A.? Was the child Charles Jr or John Jr.?