Diefenbaker Web tours the Diefenbaker Centre in Saskatoon: Week One.
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The Privy Council Chamber.
Photo: The Diefenbaker Centre

INSIDE THE MUSEUM
The photo on the right shows the Diefenbaker Centre's recreation of the Privy Council Chamber, and is one of two "room recreations" in the museum.

According to the guidebook, the room is set up to imitate how the real office (in the East Block of Parliament Hill) looked during Diefenbaker's first ministry. In Dief's day, the Privy Council was one of the high brances of the Crown in Canada, held much more political power than it does today. The federal Cabinet has prety much replaced the Privy Council in modern Canadian politics.
The Prime Minister's Office: fireplace. The Prime Minister's Office: table. The Prime Minister's Office: coat rack.

The second replica room is the Prime Minister's Office as it existed during Diefenbaker's term in office. As the Diefenbaker Centre was being built, the government decided to restore the East Block on Parliament Hill to its 1867 decor. This replica is "the only location in Canada to view this room as it existed throughout most of the twentieth century."

The guidebook points out several interesting features of the room:

  • The desk was originally made for Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who was the first Prime Minister to use the room. He's the one in the picture above the fireplace.
  • Everything on the desk is something that Diefenbaker actually used while he was PM.
  • Items on tables around the room that were gifts from world leaders, and souvenirs picked up by Dief on his travels.
  • There's a bust of Sir John. A. Macdonald, and a quote from Abraham Lincoln near it. Dief was a big fan of both of them.
  • You can't see it in these photos, but on one of the walls there's a stuffed blue marlin that Diefenbaker caught near Jamaica.
  • The hat on the hat rack was worn when Dief wa at a Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference in 1957. The cane comes from Dief's collection of 19th century canes.
  • The green chairs, the lights, and a small table are original items from the PMO.
  • Any of the replicas are darn close to the originals. They even went so far as to get a cast of the original ceiling.

The Prime Minister's Office: desk. Photos: Allen Gower

CONTINUE THE TOUR:
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BEHIND THE SCENES:
Have a sneak peak at some of the parts of Diefenbaker Centre that aren't usually out on display.

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AROUND SAKSATOON:
Visit the Diefenbaker Gravesite, the Diefenbaker Home, and other historic sites around Saskatoon.

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