Restoring The Hill
Restoration of Canada’s Parliament Buildings
PWGSC is undertaking a major program to preserve and rehabilitate Canada’s historic Parliament Buildings. The buildings must be restored structurally, modernized to current building standards, and rehabilitated to provide functional parliamentary and visitor facilities that meet the technical expectations of the 21st century. Initiated in 2002 with the beginning of construction on the complete restoration of the Library of Parliament, the program is now concentrating on the rehabilitation of the core historic parliamentary buildings – the triad of the West Block, Centre Block, and East Block – as the first priority. Work to these buildings includes rehabilitation of their exteriors, including repair and replacement of damaged masonry, windows, and sculptural components as well as completion of a seismic upgrade. The interiors will undergo complete restoration, including replacement of the electrical, mechanical, and life safety systems, ensuring that the buildings will meet existing building codes and remain operational for years to come.
New facilities both on and off of Parliament Hill will ensure existing and future accommodation and security needs for the operation of Parliament and visitors are in place. Future work will include the rehabilitation of the grounds and landscaping.
A Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) was established to provide a coordinated approach to the restoration and modernization of the Parliament Buildings. It focuses on the rehabilitation of the heritage buildings and site, the long-term accommodation requirements of Parliament, and the creation of a safe, secure and welcoming environment for everyone working and visiting Parliament Hill.
The LTVP is composed of a series of rolling Five-Year plans. First and foremost, the plan covers the renovation of the core historic parliamentary buildings — the triad of the West Block, Centre Block and East Block, followed by the rehabilitation of the other buildings within the Precinct.
- West Block
- Wellington Building
- Sir John A. Macdonald Building
- East Block
- Centre Block
- Confederation Building
- Library of Parliament
- Parliamentary Grounds and Security
The West Block, which shows signs of significant deterioration, was vacated in 2011 so that work to rehabilitate the heritage building could begin.
Both the interior and the exterior of the building will be rehabilitated, which will include the restoration of the masonry, modernization of life-safety systems and seismic upgrades. The rehabilitation will include construction of a permanent courtyard infill and the first phase of a visitor welcome centre. The courtyard infill will accommodate the House of Commons chamber, which will be temporarily relocated to the West Block during the rehabilitation of the Centre Block.
The interior demolition and abatement phase of construction is currently underway and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2012.
The West Block is scheduled to reopen in 2017.
The Wellington Building, a sophisticated example of Beaux-Arts design, is being transformed from administrative office space to provide temporary accommodations for Parliamentarians and their staff as work continues on Parliament Hill.
The complete rehabilitation of the building will include the replacement of the electrical, mechanical, and life-safety systems and the restoration of its exterior.
To date, the abatement, demolition, and seismic upgrades have advanced well and work has begun on the building’s windows, masonry, wall stabilization, life-safety systems and roofing.
The rehabilitation of the Wellington Building will be completed in 2015.
Sir John A. Macdonald Building
Once rehabilitated, the Sir John A. Macdonald Building will house the Confederation Room, a ceremonial room which is being relocated from the West Block, along with smaller meeting spaces.
The planned work includes the rehabilitation of the original building’s masonry, electrical, and mechanical and life-safety systems, as well as the construction of a new addition along Wellington Street. Work has begun on selective demolition and abatement.
The building is scheduled to re-open in 2015.
The exterior rehabilitation work underway on the East Block aims to preserve the building’s distinctive characteristics. Planning and building investigation work is underway and will include an upgrade to the masonry work on the 1867 Wing of the building. Rehabilitation work has also begun on the Northwest Tower, which will include structural and seismic reinforcement and the installation of a new copper roof.
Planning for the major rehabilitation of Centre Block is currently underway. The work is scheduled to begin in 2018. The building will have to be emptied prior to initiating the rehabilitation. Until the major rehabilitation begins, ongoing maintenance and repair work is being carried out.
Major work on the Confederation Building, whose exterior remains virtually unchanged since it was built in 1932, will begin once the rehabilitation of the West Block, Centre Block, and East Block is complete.
The building will eventually undergo a restoration of the exterior masonry and the replacement of the roof and the installation of upgraded mechanical systems on the interior so that it can continue to provide accommodations for Parliamentarians and their staff.
The domestic water system is currently being upgraded and some repair work to its windows has been completed.
Library of Parliament
Completed in the spring of 2006, work on the Library of Parliament included a total rehabilitation of the building’s exterior and interior. From leaks in the roof to crumbling mortar in the walls, the exterior of the Library of Parliament was totally restored. The Reading Room of the Library of Parliament, which has often been called "the most beautiful room in Canada", required rehabilitation – everything from the plastered dome above to the intricate parquet floor and basements below.
Parliamentary Grounds and Security
The Parliament Hill grounds are one of the best original Canadian examples of urban and institutional landscape design.
The plans for the Parliament Hill grounds include a number of improvements to the landscaping and upgrades to security features. As the major rehabilitations of the three main buildings on Parliament Hill are completed, the landscaping around them will also be upgraded. Enhanced security features include the installation of bollards and the infilling of the heritage wall at the East and West Gates, which will restore them to their original state.
Currently, construction is underway on a number of grounds projects, including the rehabilitation of the stone wall and adjacent walkway that runs along the edge of Parliament Hill and the reconstruction of the Victoria Lookout, which offers a bird’s-eye view of the Ottawa River.
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