Explore the grounds and the Centennial Flame
The Parliament Hill grounds are the setting for national celebrations, political demonstrations and public ceremonies. Learn about the design of the grounds and about the Centennial Flame and its upcoming transformation.
About the grounds
In the late 1800s, architect Thomas Scott designed the grounds, which cover an area of 88,480 square metres. These designs included landscaping that would provide visitors with a mix of experiences. Visitors to the lawn can join in Canada Day celebrations. They can also demonstrate their support for a cause or watch the changing of the guard ceremony. More than 1.5 million visitors enjoy the grounds every year.
The Centennial Flame is a major feature on the Parliament Hill grounds. You will find it just inside the Queen’s Gate in front of the Peace Tower.
It was originally built as a temporary monument. Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson lit the flame for the first time on December 31, 1966, to open the celebrations of Canada's 100th anniversary of Confederation. Canadians loved the monument so much that it became a permanent feature.
Design of the Centennial Flame
The Centennial Flame burns atop a 12-sided fountain. Each side of the fountain has a bronze shield with the coat of arms of a province or territory. The year that the province or territory joined Canada is carved into the granite in front of the shield. The granite is also carved with the provincial or territorial floral emblem. The shields of the provinces and territories surround the flame to symbolize Canada's unity.
Adding the symbols of Nunavut
To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, we will be adding the symbols of Nunavut to the Centennial Flame. In fall 2017, we will begin the work to take apart and rebuild the monument to add a 13th side. Nunavut’s coat of arms, territorial flower, and the date it officially joined Canada, April 1, 1999, will be inscribed on the Centennial Flame, joining the other 12 provinces and territories that comprise our Confederation. The new structure will be unveiled and the flame relit in December 2017.
Coins for a cause
Every day, visitors make wishes and toss their lucky coins into the fountain. This money is collected and helps to fund the Centennial Flame Research Award. The award helps pay for disability research and reporting. The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities presents the award each year to a researcher with a disability.
Maintaining the Centennial Flame
The Centennial Flame burns year round, except when it is shut off for occasional maintenance. Public Services and Procurement Canada is responsible for operating and maintaining this national symbol.
The water in the Centennial Flame’s fountain never freezes. The flame keeps the moving water warm enough, even in Ottawa's cold winters!
Centennial Flame video
Canada Day 150 time-lapse video
This video was produced by taking images from the Hill camera during the evening of June 30 through the night of July 1st.
Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the Patrouille de France flyby over Parliament Hill video
A flyby over Parliament Hill featuring the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the Patrouille de France air demonstration team took place on May 2, 2017, to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary. The two plane formations made a deafening sound as they cut through the sky, leaving behind them a few slim streams of smoke, coloured red, white and blue.
Transcript of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the Patrouille de France flyby over Parliament Hill video
Start of clip.
(Low-angle shot of the sky above Parliament Hill)
(Two plane formations, flying North to South, one behind the other, make a deafening sound as they cut through the sky.)
(The second plane formation leaves behind a few slim streams of smoke, coloured red, white and blue.)
(Sound fades out)
(Fade to black)
(Public Services and Procurement Canada Wordmark)
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