Please check the FAQ section below for answers to the most common questions about the Lieutenant Governor and Government House.
Address: 1401 Rockland Avenue
Victoria, British Columbia V8S 1V9
The Government House grounds are open every day from sunrise to sunset. Free parking is available onsite.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I address a letter to the Lieutenant Governor?
The Honourable Janet Austin, OBC
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
1401 Rockland Avenue
Victoria, British Columbia V8S 1V9
The salutation is “Your Honour”.
How do I get a photograph of the Lieutenant Governor?
You can download a high-quality JPEG file from the website and print it. Although these photographs may look fine on your computer screen they may require some manipulation in a graphics program to print with correct sharpness and colour values.
To download to your computer,
right click on the image and select
“Save Target As…”
“Save Link As…”
depending on your browser.
How do I nominate someone for a Canadian Honour, the Order of Canada or the Order of British Columbia?
Nominations for awards under the Canadian Honours System are administered by the Chancellery of Honours in Ottawa. Information on the nomination process for the Order of Canada and other Canadian Honours is available here.
Nominations for the Order of British Columbia are through the Honours and Awards Secretariat in the Office of Protocol.
How do I arrange for birthday or anniversary greetings from the Lieutenant Governor?
All congratulatory messages are coordinated through the Protocol and Events Branch of the Government of British Columbia. Contact them to request greetings.
What is the difference between “Lieutenant Governor” and “Lieutenant Governor in Council”?
“Lieutenant Governor” is The Queen’s representative and is defined in the Constitution Act, 1867 as the Chief Executive Officer of the Province. The Queen is the Queen of Canada and our Head of State. The Lieutenant Governor is appointed by the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada, for a period of not less than five years, to represent Her Majesty in the Province of British Columbia.
The Lieutenant Governor’s primary role is to uphold the constitutional framework for the Province by:
- Ensuring that the province always has a premier and a government;
- Opening, proroguing, and dissolving the Legislature;
- Delivering the Speech from the Throne at the opening of each session;
- Appointing and swearing-in members of the Executive Council (Cabinet) with the advice of the premier;
- Giving Royal Assent to all measures and bills passed by the Legislative Assembly;
- Signing Orders in Council, proclamations, authentications, and other official documents.
The Honourable Janet Austin is the 30th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. In addition, the Lieutenant Governor celebrates, inspires and connects British Columbian through awards ceremonies and other special events. The Lieutenant Governor also works to promote and profile the history, achievements and culture of British Columbians.
The phrase “Lieutenant Governor in Council” refers to the Lieutenant Governor acting on and with the advice of the Executive Council or Cabinet. As a final step in passing laws or enacting Orders in Council, the Lieutenant Governor approves decisions made by Cabinet and normally recommended to the Lieutenant Governor by the Premier. This process underpins the stability in our political system while ensuring that elected representatives govern.
As the Lieutenant Governor takes advice from Cabinet, requests to change laws or bills should be directed to Cabinet members or the appropriate ministry.
How long is a Lieutenant Governor’s term of office?
The Lieutenant Governor serves at the pleasure of the Governor General. According to the Constitution Act, 1867, a Lieutenant Governor’s term of office is for a minimum of five years. A Lieutenant Governor remains in office until replaced so a term of five to seven years is not uncommon.
Is Government House open to the public?
The grounds are open from dawn to dusk, but as Government House itself is both a private residence and working office, it is not open to the public on a daily basis. The House is open by invitation only for over 200 events each year. Government House opens its doors to the public annually on the morning of January 1st for the New Year’s Day Levee. Open houses are also held at various times throughout the year. Information on dates and times of these events, as well as other public events at Government House, are posted on this website nearer to the date.
How do I book a tour of Government House?
Tours are conducted for schools, non-profit groups and organizations interested in the history of Government House and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Tours must be booked in advance and are subject to availability. Information on how to book a tour is available here.
How and when is it appropriate to wear my medals?
Invitations to events at Government House will indicate if medals are to be worn. The general rule is full-size medals during the day and miniatures for evening events or when black-tie and ladies equivalent is suggested. Detailed information on wearing medals is available here.
How do I volunteer at Government House or in the Gardens?
It is only thanks to the many dedicated volunteers that Government House can run in a cost-effective manner. Volunteers perform many functions at the House including maintaining the gardens, flower design, tour guides, tea servers at the Cary Castle Mews and running the gift shop in the summer months. All volunteers belong to the Friends of Government House. Contact the Friends to find out the different ways to get involved with their activities.
Can I get married at Government House or on the Grounds?
Marriage ceremonies are not allowed to take place on the grounds or in the House. Photographs are permitted in the gardens. There is no sign-up/registration, no charge, and it is on a first come-first served basis. Photos are not permitted on New Year’s Day.
How do I write to Her Majesty?
If you wish to write to Her Majesty The Queen, you may forward your correspondence to:
Her Majesty The Queen
London SW1A 1AA
The letter should be addressed to Her Majesty The Queen.
The salutation is “Your Majesty”.