About Roselawn House
In 1841 David John Smith, a lawyer and son of Peter Smith, a pioneer merchant, bought three lots from Queen's College and built an elegant country home. It was a fashionable area, north of the Governor General's residence and near where the College had a site. A few years later, falling land values, foreclosures and builders' demands for payment caught rich and poor alike, and Smith had to mortgage Roselawn to meet his debts.
When he died in 1848 his executors put the big house up for auction, but the sale was not closed until 1851, when it was bought by Henry Smith Jr, a lawyer who later became Solicitor General and Speaker of the House, and was knighted in 1860. In 1888, the Smith heirs sold Roselawn and it remained in private hands for many years.
From 1948 to 1969 it was the official residence of the Commandant of the National Defense College, and senior officers from the services of Canada and her allies were entertained in its gracious rooms. Big trees and a 'wide expanse of green lawn' still surround Roselawn. A long high stone wall extends from the west side of the house to an archway that gives access to the yard where stone outbuildings once stood.
A wide veranda which ran across the front of the house until about 1960 has been replaced with a smaller portico and a screened area to the east side. The classical doorway opens into a wide hall, and fine stairs are lit by a large Venetian window. Roselawn has retained its elegance both inside and out.
In 1970, Roselawn was acquired by Queen's University, which had originally sold the land to Smith in 1841.
After extensive renovations and additions, the building was officially opened in November 1974 as the University's Centre for Continuing Education.
Roselawn House is now the iconic central building of the Donald Gordon Conference Centre.
From The Donald Gordon Conference Centre web site.
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