Hours & Admission
ADMISSION BY DONATION
Victoria Day to
Seven days a week
9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday to Sunday
9 AM - 4 PM
Special Closure Dates
Christmas Decorating - Nov. 13 - 17
Christmas Eve – closed at 12 pm
Christmas Holidays - Dec. 25 & 26
New Year’s Eve – closed at 12pm
Maintenance - Jan. 8 - 12, 2018
For groups of 10 or more, please call
Our Favourite Artifacts
Original China, Crystal and Silver
Found in the Dining Room
Heather Salloum, Executive Director and Private Secretary for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor
“For as long as I can remember, I have loved beautiful china, crystal, and silverware,” Ms. Salloum said. “My mother, grandmother and aunts instilled this appreciation in me, I think, and I take much delight in “setting a table” and enjoying the settings in others’ homes.”
The china, crystal, and silverware in the Museum Dining Room always make me stand and stare. I have imagined people using the dinnerware and sitting around that grand table. I have told, hundreds of times, the story of the official who was ill on the day of the auction, resulting in the vault remaining locked and the contents untouched.
“Several times a year, the Dining Room is used for special hospitality events, and I feel a sense of “history in my midst” when sitting in that room. Naturally, we do not use the House china, crystal, and silverware, as they remain treasured artifacts of the Museum; but, having them on display pulls us into the past in a gentle way.”
Victorians were known for their indulgence and extravagance in everyday lives which included formal dinners. Dining at Government House included 7 to 10 courses of food, all richly prepared. Dinner was served “à la Russe” which meant that dishes were served by the servants and were kept on a side table, not placed on the dining table. The only dishes placed on the table were filled with olives, pickles, radishes, etc., as well as fruit and small pastries.
Menus were almost always written in French and presented to each guest at the table. This is an example from the 1901 visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later to become King George V and Queen Mary):
Vegetables, side dishes and fresh rolls would accompany the meat courses.
Utensils and Glasses
For each course, there was a separate and specific utensil and glass:
Another piece of china important to note was the salt cellar. It was a small, individual salt dish with its own spoon for adding salt to any course. Salt cellars were used before salt shakers became popular in the 1950s and were usually placed between two people to share or each guest received their own. The salt cellar and pepper shaker was placed above and to the left of the service plate.