Visitors to Government House are attracted immediately by the beauty and charm of the Entrance Hall, Main Hall and Grand Staircase, and the ornate woodwork and plaster in this area of the residence. The entire area was refurbished and redecorated in the first major renovations to Government House in decades, which occurred in 1999 at the beginning of the term of The Honourable Peter M. Liba.
In a project initiated by Her Honour Shirley Liba, the Chatelaine of Government House at the time of the 1999 renovations, the wall-to-wall carpeting in this area was pulled up to expose the beautiful Manitoba oak flooring. The flooring was refurbished to its original state and now is complemented by area rugs which add to the richness and warmth of the halls. The wallcovering has a traditional design dating back to the early use of wallcovering.
- The elegant oak staircase curves up to the Second Floor, and the carpet on the staircase and upstairs hallways reflects the primary blue colour on the frieze surrounding the skylight area.
- Corner Chair – circa 1880-90 – ebonized walnut (in outer vestibule).
- Small Chair near Clock – circa 1910-15 – oak and other woods; factory made.
- Wardrobe – Fine Early English Victorian; a combination of plain and burl walnut, hand forged steel decorative hooks. In the mid 1970’s the back was extended to give more depth so that it could be used for coat storage.
- Grandfather Clock – One of the original pieces brought to Government House, this clock, made of mahogany, was crafted in England about 1870 or slightly later. It is termed a “Westminster Eight Bells”. Although many of these clocks were produced during the latter part of the 1800’s in England, and can still be found there, very few have found their way to Canada. They are extra large, very heavy and difficult to service. A distinctive feature is the picture on the top face that moves with the change of the moon. The pendulums are solid brass and so heavy that, if dropped, would go right through the floor. The quality and fine craftsmanship of this clock belongs to another era. It is simply not found today. The calibre of watchmakers able to service this type of clock is also a dying art.
- 2 Chairs flanking entrance arch – circa 1910-15 – carved oak.
- Pedestal – circa 1905-10. Empire design and holds the bronze bust of Queen Victoria.
- Large High-Back Chairs – circa 1880-90 – ebonized walnut, hand carved faces and lions heads.
- Sideboard – circa 1840-60 – plain and burl walnut. The original back has been removed and replaced with a low back. The original was probably a decorative shape that might have sat at least three feet above the top of the sideboard. Note the different designs of the hand-carved fruit.
- Porcelain Sculpture of the Indian Chief, “Wankan Tonkan”, by Helen Granger Young, a Manitoba artist, was a gift for the House’s 100th birthday.