Government House is temporarily closed as work is underway on long-needed upgrades and refurbishments. Under the management of the Real Property division of the Ministry of Citizens’ Services, the renovations are expected to take about one year, from August 2020 to September 2021. Staff has moved to a temporary office, where support for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and Government House will continue.
During renovations, the grounds of the estate will remain open to the public. Visitors must adhere to the most up-to-date recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer and social distancing is strongly encouraged. In the interest of public safety, there may be occasions when partial or complete closure of the grounds may be necessary. These will be announced on the Lieutenant Governor’s website and social media profiles.
Please note that starting on Oct. 5, 2020, the main gate entrance to the grounds at Government House and connecting driveway will be closed for construction. The gate will be inaccessible until December 24, 2020.
As part of the renovations, a new fire protection system and a replacement emergency generator are being installed in the house to provide full fire protection of the building. This investment assures health and safety matters of patrons and residents are addressed, and that Government House will be a pillar in the community for many years to come.
A security upgrade is also underway to help further ensure the safety of the Lieutenant Governor, staff, patrons, and the many dignitaries that visit the residence. This enhancement will not limit the public access to the grounds in any way or change the esthetics of the house.
These improvements continue implementation of a prioritised five-year plan to address significant issues and to update Government House facilities undertaken jointly by the Government House Foundation and B.C.’s ministries of Finance and of Citizen’s Services.
Completed projects include:
• In 2019, the Real Property Division completed the design of four large projects which will be implemented over the next three years. These projects will provide significant improvements to the facility, and include specifications for a new mechanical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, along with the installation of a new generator for emergency preparedness, a new fire protection system, and an improved security system for the house.
• Also, in 2019, part of the grounds received a new look with installation of a new rose arbour at the entrance of the Victorian Rose Garden.
• In 2018, Citizen’s Services Real Property Division concluded a major maintenance upgrade to Government House. This work included a roof replacement on the main building, primary flag pole replacement, the refurbishment of the portico’s roof and repair of nine chimneys.
• Also in 2018, the Ministry of Citizen’s Service’s Real Property Division, in collaboration with Government House, undertook a major renovation of the exterior facade of the rear of the main building. This included upgrades to the windows, gutters, paint and doors of the house. It is worth mentioning that part of the project included a suitability review of all proposed products that were to be used in the works, to ensure compliance with the existing appearance of Government House.
• In 2017, the first major project of the five-year plan saw the design and installation of an accessible ramp in front of Government House as well as accessibility upgrades to washrooms inside the facility.
These phased upgrades will ensure that Government House is more sustainable for years to come. The upgrades will provide an improved environment for the more than 150 significant events that are typically held each year at the Ceremonial Home of all British Columbians.
The Government House Foundation is grateful to the Lieutenant Governor and Government House management, B.C.’s Ministry of Citizen’s Services and Ministry of Finance, the Friends of Government House Gardens Society, and other local partners for their contributions to the ongoing upgrades taking place on the property. We are also grateful to our neighbors, visitors, volunteers and other stakeholders who so graciously support us as well.