Bellevue House, built between 1838 and 1840 for businessman Charles Hales, was one of several elegant villas built on the outskirts of Kingston in the mid-19th century. Its spacious landscaped gardens, vista over Lake Ontario, and its slightly exotic Italianate design with an irregular plan, tower, verandahs and decorative eave fringe reflect the picturesque taste both in architecture and landscape design.
In 1848-49 Bellevue was leased to John A. MacDonald, then a member of the Legislative Assembly and receiver general for the Province of Canada. Bellevue was purchased by Parks Canada in 1964 and is now operated as a national historic park. It has been restored to the late 1840s period.