Margo Roston

Margo Roston is Diplomat’s culture editor.

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The house the elephants protect

| September 27, 2015 | 0 Comments
The house the elephants protect

Wandering along the northern end of Acacia Avenue in Rockcliffe Park, you’ll notice a wonderful display of sophisticated embassy residences, from Japan and Korea’s stone mansions to India’s brick Victorian and Iran’s more modern Arabic architecture. And then you come upon a distinctive large white stucco house with two stone elephants guarding the driveway. The […]

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A home called Ballybeg

| June 23, 2015 | 0 Comments
A home called Ballybeg

Ballybeg is the anglicized version of the Irish word for “little town.” The large stone Rockcliffe house that bears that name may not exactly fit the translation, but it is as much a hub of activity today as it was in the days of admiral Sir Charles Kingsmill, who, during the First World War, commissioned […]

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A Manor House mansion for the Holy See

| January 5, 2015 | 0 Comments
A Manor House mansion for the Holy See

When you arrive at the end of Manor Avenue in Rockcliffe Park, you can’t help but gawk. You have to pinch yourself to realise the white-turreted gatehouse with the beautiful arch, stone crest and antique lamp is not situated in France. Nor is the elegant tree-lined driveway beyond, nor the looming stone mansion at the […]

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Vietnam’s home away home away from home

| September 26, 2014 | 0 Comments
Vietnam’s home away home away from home

Vietnamese Ambassador To Anh Dung and his wife, Tran Phi Nga, meet photographer Dyanne Wilson and me at the door of their Glebe home. Ms Tran is wearing a traditional hand-painted silk Ao Dai, a national dress that bears a slight to the exterior of their heritage house whose architecture is Spanish. But inside, the […]

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The UAE’s multi-purpose residence

| June 22, 2014 | 0 Comments
The UAE’s multi-purpose residence

Ambassador Mohammed Saif Helal Al Shehhi is the third ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to live in the distinctive Rockcliffe home that overlooks charming Rockcliffe Park and the Ottawa River. The house was once the focus of gossip by the chattering classes as it was the first of the many über-sized homes that now […]

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New Zealand’s official home away from home

| April 20, 2014 | 0 Comments
New Zealand’s official home away from home

In winter, you might notice a snowman at the front door of a new, contemporary home on a modest street in Rockcliffe Park. Next to it is an official-looking flagpole, proudly bearing the flag of New Zealand. The message: a family lives here — and so does the country’s head of mission. The high commissioner, […]

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Peru’s residence: authenticity on Island Park

| January 5, 2014 | 0 Comments
Peru’s residence: authenticity on Island Park

It is impossible to meander along Island Park Drive without noticing the impressive brick and half-timbered residence of Peruvian Ambassador Jose Antonio Bellina. Situated on a large corner lot, the home was built in 1928 for Stafford Kirkpatrick and designed by leading Ottawa architect Werner Edgar Noffke, the man whose landmark buildings include the Korean […]

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A condo full of Croatian culture

| September 30, 2013 | 0 Comments
A condo full of Croatian culture

Croatia’s Ambassador Veselko Grubisic, his wife, Marta, and their three children live on Sussex Drive, or the capital’s Mile of History, as it is known. Their heritage condominium is a stone’s throw away from the National Gallery, across the street from the U.S. embassy and strategically located on the edge of the vibrant ByWard Market. […]

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A home full of Chilean charm

| July 5, 2013 | 0 Comments
A home full of Chilean charm

Looking from the street at the Rockcliffe home of Chile’s ambassador, it’s hard to reconcile what you see with the flamboyant atmosphere that greets you inside. The rather severe two-storey redwood and yellow brick exterior hides a warm joie-de-vivre inside. Built by Ottawa land developer Harold Shenkman and his wife, Belle, a well-known arts philanthropist, […]

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La pièce de résistance

| October 4, 2012 | 0 Comments
La pièce de résistance

French Ambassador Phillipe Zeller and his wife, Odile, live in one of the most opulent and beautifully situated embassies in the nation’s capital — a granite edifice built on an escarpment above the Ottawa River. The French government bought the property from Arthur Blackburn in 1931 for $80,000 and in 1936, prime minister William Lyon […]

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