West Block

West Block

Did You Know?

  • Year Built: 1859-65
  • Approximate Size: 17,353 m2
  • Current Occupant: Vacant (under rehabilitation)
  • Future Occupant: House of Commons

The West Block is one of the three Parliament Hill buildings that form a national historic site, along with the East Block and Centre Block. It was designed by Thomas Stent and Augustus Laver in 1859 and was officially opened in 1866. It has an elegant exterior in the Gothic Revival style. Two additions were later constructed, in the same style, to accommodate the increasing population of Ottawa. The Mackenzie Wing and Tower were completed in 1878 and the Laurier Tower and Link were completed in 1906. Major renovations to the interior and exterior of the building were completed in 1965.

Besides its unmistakable architectural value, the West Block also served several core parliamentary functions before it was vacated in January 2011 to proceed with its complete rehabilitation. Before it was vacated the West Block housed offices for the prime minister, ministers, members of Parliament and employees; committee rooms; and an important ceremonial feature—the Confederation Room. Once the rehabilitation is completed in 2017, the building will regain some of its core functions such as housing offices and committee rooms.