24 Sussex is in literal shambles

When 24 Sussex Drive, the Prime Minister’s official residence since 1951, was shut down over health concerns last year, we thought, “How bad could things possibly be?” 

The answer: mountains of dead rodents bad. 

Driving the news: Documents from the National Capital Commission (NCC) obtained by The National Post detail the decrepit conditions of 24 Sussex, including mould, corroded plumbing, asbestos, and so many mouse carcasses that it affected the building’s air quality. 

Catch-up: 24 Sussex has not received a substantial upgrade in over six decades and has basically been left to rot. The last prime minister to live there was Stephen Harper, and when Justin Trudeau took office, he said “no thanks” and moved into nearby Rideau Cottage.

  • In 2021, the NCC estimated it would cost $36.6 million to restore the abode merely to “good condition.” The NCC also proposed starting from scratch and replacing it.      

When asked about the fate of the 155-year-old limestone-clad home at a press conference on Wednesday, Trudeau said that consultations are ongoing and that it was important to “balance the historical heritage nature of that building and the needs of government.”

Why it matters: Official residences are more than just places where world leaders sleep and throw pool parties, they hold a valuable place in diplomacy and optics on the world stage. 

  • Canada is seemingly the only Western country with one that’s unlivable. Last year, the NCC found 24 Sussex “falls far short” compared to official residences of allies.  

Bottom line: Canadians are split on whether to renovate, rebuild, or just rip it down for good, but most will agree that 24 Sussex’s sorry state is a national disgrace.–QH