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Feds double spending to renovate historic home of Sir John A. Macdonald

Sir John A. Macdonald is seen in this undated handout photo. Sir John Alexander Macdonald 1815-1891. THE CANADIAN PRESS/National Archives of Canada, HO

KINGSTON, Ont. — The home of Canada’s first prime minister is getting an extra $1.1 million from the federal government for promised renovations.

The Liberals originally promised $1.03 million in 2016 to help upgrade the site, known as Bellevue House, but once workers got a peek behind the walls, they realized more improvements were needed.

Instead of breaking the work up into separate projects, the government decided to simply expand the scope of work already underway. 

The plan is to completely replace the roof and update the wiring and electrical systems, and to repair the existing floors, walls and plasterwork on the ceiling.

The total estimated cost is currently $2.13 million.

While the work is ongoing, Bellevue House itself will remain closed to the public, although visitors can still roam the surrounding gardens and orchards.

Sir John A. Macdonald lived in the house with his family at the start of his political career before Confederation in 1867.

The future prime minister moved to the house in 1848 while his wife Isabella was ill, believing that the location in an early suburb of Kingston was better for her health and for their infant son.

In September 1849, under the weight of crushing expenses, the Macdonalds left the house near Lake Ontario for a smaller home in downtown Kingston.

The Canadian Press