Rehabilitating the East Block

The East Block is the most intact of Parliament Hill's heritage buildings. It is also one of the world's finest examples of High Victorian Gothic architecture. The East Block was built in two major campaign periods. The first portion was completed in 1865, which includes the main West and South wings (referred to as the 1867 Wing). In 1910, a second wing was added to the east side to enclose the courtyard.

As part of the Long Term Vision and Plan, the rehabilitation of the East Block will consist of two separate phases. The first phase will include masonry repairs to four of the areas of greatest concern within the 1867 Wing. This includes urgent repairs to the southwest tower, the southeast tower (agriculture entrance), the south entrance and the Governor General's entrance. In addition, Public Services and Procurement Canada will implement an enhanced maintenance program until the building is fully rehabilitated.

For the second phase, the Department is assessing options for advancing the balance of work and full rehabilitation of the East Block. The full rehabilitation will address the remaining exterior work that was not completed in the first phase, including the 1910 Wing, completing the seismic upgrade for the entire building, linking the building with the future Visitor Welcome Centre and replacing existing interior building systems with modern systems. The building will also be upgraded to comply with modern building standards and functional requirements to meet the accommodation needs of the Senate of Canada. The building will be vacated during the rehabilitation work.

Phase 1—Exterior work

View enlarged image of the East Block's masonry

While the interior of the East Block is in good condition, portions of exterior require an overhaul from foundation to roof. The rehabilitation of the northwest tower, which was completed in fall 2013, served as a pilot project for the upcoming masonry repairs within the East Block's original wing. Its exterior has some of the most remarkable examples of stonework and ironwork in Canada. Much of the work requires special care and will be performed by heritage masons. These craftspeople will use traditional techniques and hand tools.

Major work on the 1867 Wing was last performed in the 1970s. Areas within this wing are displaying signs of deterioration, such as cracked stones, worn carvings, corroded ironwork and damage from water infiltration. The work involves heritage masonry work, seismic reinforcement, the restoration of stained glass, leaded windows and exterior doors, as well as the replacement of some of the cooper roof and the conservation of ornamental ironwork. Recapitalization work is expected to begin in 2017.

Rehabilitation details

Here is a snapshot of the exterior work that is currently planned for the rehabilitation of the East Block (Phase 1).

Full rehabilitation of the East Block (Phase 2)

Here is a snapshot of the full building rehabilitation planned for the East Block (phase 2):

More information

Date modified: