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When 2 prime ministers swapped houses

In June 1979, Joe Clark and Pierre Trudeau were trading spaces.

PM Joe Clark and then-ex PM Pierre Trudeau were both on the move in 1979

Moving Day at 24 Sussex Drive

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42 years ago
1:03
In 1979, The National reported on the moving in of the Clark family's belongings to 24 Sussex Drive. 1:03

More than 40 years ago, Joe Clark and Pierre Trudeau were trading spaces.

That's because Clark had become the prime minister in the May 1979 election, which meant he would be moving into the official PM's residence at 24 Sussex Drive.

And Trudeau, as the Official Opposition leader, would be moving to Stornoway, where Clark had been living up until that point.

On June 14, 1979, The National ran footage of movers bringing the belongings of Joe Clark, his wife, Maureen McTeer, and their daughter, Catherine, into 24 Sussex Drive.

A child's swing set and a striped wing chair were among the items visible to the cameras.

"Although the Clarks' belongings fit into just two medium-sized moving vans, the couple won't have to worry about filling all 35 rooms in the prime minister's official residence," reporter Bill Casey told viewers.

"It's already well stocked with government-owned furniture and antiques."

Rooming with skunks, silverfish and weevils

Prime Minister Joe Clark and Opposition Leader Pierre Trudeau, seen here in a June 1979 photo, swapped residences after the election that year. (Peter Bregg/Canadian Press)

Casey noted a series of improvements would be made to Stornoway before Trudeau moved in.

"For one thing, they'll try and rid the house of silverfish and an overly friendly family of skunks," said Casey.

"But while the Clarks won't have to contend with those particular pests any more, they may run into some new ones at 24 Sussex Drive. The prime minister's official residence is reportedly plagued with weevils."

In either case, the tenants wouldn't be staying in their respective residences for long. The Tory government fell that December, leading to a spring election in February 1980 that returned Trudeau and the Liberals to power.

With Clark and Trudeau back in their old jobs, they would each soon be living in their prior official residences.

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