About the Centre Block project

The Centre Block is closed for renovations. This is the largest, most complex heritage rehabilitation project ever seen in Canada and is one of the largest in the world. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) will use innovative approaches and technologies throughout the project. When the Centre Block reopens, it will be ready to meet the needs of a 21st-century Parliament for years to come.

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An essential investment for the future

PSPC is restoring and modernizing the Centre Block.

From the time the Centre Block opened in 1920, only minor repairs have been made to this iconic Canadian building. Short-term fixes were no longer a cost-effective option for preserving the building. It needed major repairs to bring it up to modern safety, environmental and accessibility standards and to make the building functional for parliamentarians. The Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons. Chapter 3,: Rehabilitating the Parliament Buildings predicted the Centre Block would experience "total failure" sometime between 2019 and 2025.

The Centre Block had outdated systems and suffered from crumbling mortar, damaged sculptures and stained glass, as well as aging water pipes. Earthquake proofing and security are also issues that must be addressed, and the original electrical system cannot safely handle the multitude of modern technology required to support the operations of Parliament.

Learn more about the condition of the Centre Block.

Enlarged image of rust-coloured stains cover a stone carving of a man on a horse

Some stone carvings are damaged by water leaks (click to view enlarged image)

Enlarged image of an old ventilation system in a basement

The ventilation system is at the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced (click to view enlarged image)

The Centre Block project is part of a group of other important reconstruction projects involving the triad (Centre Block, West Block and East Block).

Learn more about the Centre Block and its history on the web page The Centre Block: A Canadian icon.

A complex undertaking

The Centre Block project will include:

Visit the web page latest progress on the Centre Block project for details.

Facts and figures about the Centre Block project

See visual representations of some of the work we’re doing as part of this historic project.

Enlarged image of an infographic about demolition, abatement, excavation and heritage protection at the Centre Block. See long description below for details.

An infographic about demolition, abatement, excavation and heritage protection at the Centre Block (click to view enlarged image)

Image description

A digital 3D drawing of a Gothic building with the following words surrounding it:

Centre Block rehabilitation project: Demolition, abatement, excavation and heritage protection

Heritage assets protection

Restoring and preserving over 20,000 heritage assets

100,000 artifacts uncovered and preserved

About 1,226 square metres of linen ceiling removed for restoration

Over 170 heritage light fixtures, some weighing over 1,540 kilograms, removed for restoration, catalogued and stored

50 high heritage rooms to be restored, containing unique and irreplaceable works of Canadian art:

  • 15 frescoes
  • 10 Pusterla murals
  • 17 Crisp murals
  • 8 war paintings

Over 1,600 windows to be replaced, and approximately 250 stained-glass windows to be restored

500 devices monitoring vibration and associated impacts in order to protect the heritage fabric

Site preparation

70,000 square metres to be rehabilitated

About 46,600 pounds of copper to be removed so that the roof can be rehabilitated and restored

20,000 square metres of masonry surface to be rehabilitated, which represents approximately 365,000 stones

9,427 square metres of marble floor to be removed, which represents 35,000 marble tiles

Over 20 million pounds of designated substances (such as asbestos) to be removed

Over 8,000 stones from the Vaux Wall removed, catalogued and stored

Approximately 40,000 truckloads of bedrock to be excavated in order to construct the new Parliament Welcome Centre

Enlarged image of an infographic about economic and operating benefits of the Centre Block project. See long description below for details.

An infographic about economic and operating benefits of the Centre Block project (click to view enlarged image)

Image description

A digital 3D drawing of a Gothic building with the following words surrounding it:

Centre Block rehabilitation project: Economic and operating benefits

Modernizing the Centre Block

Canada's Parliament to shift from one of the worst performing assets to a model for sustainability:

  • Target net-zero greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduce energy consumption by 75%
  • Reduce indoor water consumption by 50%

Protect built heritage and preserve health and safety by adding base isolation system to reduce earthquake force by 60% on building

Parliament to operate more safely and efficiently through the installation of modern security and information technology systems

Millions of visitors come to Parliament Hill every year; the new Parliament Welcome Centre will double the capacity for visitors to come inside the Centre Block

Making Parliament universally accessible and inclusive:

  • new central entry
  • improved and simplified navigation
  • wider corridors
  • gender-neutral washrooms
  • accessible path of travel to all public spaces

Creating jobs

Investing in Canada's Parliament has helped to create more than 4,000 jobs nationally, and will create over 70,000 in areas such as:

  • engineering
  • construction
  • architecture and interior design
  • masonry
  • restoration

Over 500 companies from across Canada already working on the project

400 workers on site daily, to increase to 1,500 at the project’s peak

Initial internships with 50 students from 10 Canadian colleges and universities to date

New Parliament Welcome Centre

New underground complex that connects the Centre Block with the East and West Blocks to support more secure and efficient parliamentary operations

Add 32,600 square metres of space to address the needs of parliamentarians and to improve the visitor experience

Temporary homes for Parliament

While the Centre Block undergoes restoration and modernization, the new Senate of Canada Building houses the Senate. Similarly, Parliament Hill’s West Block is now the interim home of the House of Commons Chamber.

Enlarged image of the exterior of a recently renovated former train station originally built in the 1920s

The exterior of the renovated Senate of Canada Building (click to view enlarged image)

Enlarged image of a long room with red carpet and wood paneling. There are 3 rows of wooden desks and chairs placed stadium-style on either side of the room

The interim Senate Chamber in the Senate of Canada Building (click to view enlarged image)

Enlarged image of a large room with stadium-style seating

The interim House of Commons Chamber in the West Block (click to view enlarged image)

Public programming continues

The Centre Block is closed to visitors and tourists during construction. We’re working closely with partners and stakeholders to maintain activities, including:

We’re also committed to ensuring that the Dominion Carillonneur can continue to play the Peace Tower carillon for as long as possible during the renovations. The playing of the bells will continue until at least the summer of 2021, as long as it is safe to do so. The Canadian flag will continue to fly on the Peace Tower throughout the project.

Although live tours are currently suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, during construction on Parliament Hill, you will be able to book guided tours of:

For virtual tours, visit Parliament: The Virtual Experience and the Senate virtual tour.

Renovating the Centre Block

View the video: Renovating the Centre Block

Learn about the iconic Centre Block and the project to restore and modernize it (click to see the video)

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