• By: Ali Matthews

Hallowe’en at Stornoway

Every Hallowe’em Ottawa trick-or-treaters are granted special access to some of the most prestigious addresses in the country.

While 24 Sussex, the Prime Minister’s official residence, will not be playing host this year because it is awaiting a massive renovation, the doors of Rideau Hall and Stornoway, the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition, will be open for business. Hallowe’en business, that is.

As Leader of the Opposition and Interim Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, this is Rona Ambrose’s first year, and likely last year, hosting Hallowe’en at Stornoway, so she is embracing it. “We’re so excited to see the kids dressed up,” said Ambrose. “We also invited all MPs, Senators and staff to stop by with their kids to trick or treat. It will be fun to hand out all the candy!”

Leader of the Opposition Rona Ambrose welcomes kids to Stornoway for Halloween in Ottawa, Ontario, October 31, 2016. Photo by Deb Ransom
Leader of the Opposition Rona Ambrose welcomes kids to Stornoway for Halloween in Ottawa, Ontario, October 31, 2016. Photo by Deb Ransom

The previous Leader of the Conservative Party, Prime Minister Stephen Harper always got into the Hallowe’en spirit but never made a habit of dressing in costume. This year, Ambrose plans to not only dress up, but like any good social media maven, she is taking it to the next level. “I’m dressing up as Snapchat… you know, the ghost avatar,” explained Ambrose. ”And I’ll have a cutout of my Snapchat code so people can scan it when they stop by and follow me at rona.ambrose on Snapchat.”

Her costume is a direct reflection of the work she is doing by using social media to bring young people into the Conservative Party and politics on the whole. “Canadians consume their news in multiple ways now, and a lot of that is done through social media platforms,” said Ambrose.”I have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and of course Snapchat – we choose the platform that we want to use, depending on what message we want to share, and the audience we want to target.”

Her favourite social media platform though? “I love snapchat because you can have so much fun with the filters and videos.”

Of course, this is more about just her party’s message. “We always want to get more young people involved in politics and understanding how their Parliament and democracy works,” explained Ambrose. “So if we can share that message with them how they like to consume it, its a win-win for everyone!”


Ambrose’s partner J.P. Veitch, a former professional bull rider for 22 years and rodeo advocate, is never one to shy away from an opportunity to have fun. After all, he did wear a t-shirt that read “Stornoway Pool Boy” at the last Conservative Convention. So, naturally he will be decked out as a bullrider.  “The cool part is he’s wearing his own stuff,” said Ambrose. “We’re bringing his chaps, boots and hat back from Calgary that he wore when he won bullriding events.”

And Ambrose’s kids will also be in on the action, “our kids are still little so they are dressing up; one as a hippie and the other as a floating ghost!”

Trick-or-treaters are welcome to come by Stornoway, 541 Acacia Avenue in Rockcliffe Park from 5:30 – 7:00 pm this Hallowe’en night. And don’t worry, Ambrose is prepared; “[Trick-or treaters] can expect lots of candy!”