Explore the West Block

The West Block is one of the three Parliament Hill buildings that are part of a National Historic Site. The other two are the East Block and the Centre Block. The West Block opened in 1866. It was first designed to be used by the federal public service. As parliamentarians required more space, a wing and towers were later added.

Today, we are rehabilitating the West Block because of the extent of deterioration. The building is being repaired and updated for a modern Parliament, and its heritage characteristics are being preserved.

History and architecture

In 1859, the architects Thomas Stent and Augustus Laver designed the West Block in a Gothic Revival style. It was designated a Classified federal heritage building in 1987.

As Canada grew, two large additions were built: the Mackenzie Wing and Tower in 1878 and the Laurier Tower and Link in 1906. The West Block was completely renovated in 1965.

The West Block was emptied for vital rehabilitation in 2011.

Before then it housed the offices of the Prime Minister, Cabinet, members of Parliament and their staff. It also housed committee rooms and the Confederation Room. The Confederation Room was an important room for ceremonies and parliamentary functions. These functions are now held in the Sir John A. Macdonald Building.

Once the rehabilitation of the West Block is completed in 2017, the West Block will house the interim House of Commons Chamber, 52 parliamentary offices, four committee rooms and support space.

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