Canadian Parliament Buildings - History and Facts | History Hit

Canadian Parliament Buildings

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Canadian Parliament Buildings have been the seat of the country’s Parliament since the 19th century.

Peta Stamper

25 May 2021
Image Credit: Megapress / Alamy Stock Photo

About Canadian Parliament Buildings

The Canadian Parliament Buildings are the seat of the country’s Parliament located in Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, Canada. Much of the Parliament Buildings were destroyed in 1916 during a fire, but the Gothic feel of these buildings still remains albeit with many a modern addition.

Today, you can tour the various blocks of the Canadian Parliament Buildings, one of the word’s best examples of the Gothic Revival style.

Canadian Parliament Buildings history

In 1858, Ottawa was picked as the capital of the United Province of Canada by Queen Victoria, however, the small town needed more space for a House of Commons and Senate. Several years later in 1860, Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, laid the cornerstone of the Canadian Parliament Buildings overlooking the Ottowa River.

Guided by the recently completed British Parliament in London, the buildings were to be designed in the Gothic Revival style. Competition winners were each awarded a block to build: a Centre Block and 2 administrative blocks. The Victorian Gothic Parliament Buildings were built of local materials and featured pointed arches, spires and rubble-course stonework. The parliament officially opened on 6 June 1866 – just in time for Confederation in 1867.

Disaster struck in February 1916 as a fire raged through the House of Commons reading room and into the surrounding buildings. All that remained was the Parliamentary Library. Rumoured to be an act of sabotage mid-Word War One, the accidental fire threw the Canadian Government into alarm. However, by July, the new buildings with concrete walls and a steel frame were being built, sympathetic its the Gothic predecessors.

Canadian Parliament Buildings today

Today, the accessible Parliament Buildings are an enduring national symbol for Canada. They have been modernised over the years to allow for more office space, alongside sensitive conservation to preserve the important public landmarks.

The grounds are dotted with statues of notable political figures who have shaped Canada and provide a nice open space to admire the Gothic architecture. When the buildings are not undergoing restoration, you can take a tour of the Centre Block – make sure you see the beautiful library.

Getting to the Canadian Parliament Buildings

Located on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, the Canadian Parliament Buildings are easily found when wandering the city. The city train line 1 stops at Parliament, and buses 11, 17, 22-29, 31-38, 40, 41, 45, 47, 48, 55, 59, 67, 85, 87 and more all stop along Wellington Street, just outside Parliament Hill.

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