The Centre Block: A Canadian icon

The Centre Block building is the home of Canadian democracy and a source of national pride. History is reflected in the building's majestic architecture, design and decor. It's easy to see why Canadians and tourists feel awe when they visit the Centre Block.

A place for all Canadians

The Centre Block is home to the House of Commons and Senate Chamber. It also includes offices for the speakers of both chambers, members of Parliament, senators, senior administrators and committee rooms.

Canadians may recognize the House of Commons foyer from media scrums. Other popular areas include ceremonial spaces, like the Hall of Honour, the Rotunda and Confederation Hall. And at more than 92 metres high, the Peace Tower is also a popular tourist attraction.

The Centre Block is not just a place for politics. It is the setting for royal visits, concerts, the Changing of the GuardNorthern LightsCanada Day celebrations and state funerals. Canadians also gather here to protest, hold rallies, and even exercise.

A symbol of courage and resilience

The Centre Block was built between 1859 and 1876.

On February 3, 1916, fire broke out in the reading room. There were 7 people killed, including 1 member of Parliament. All of the Centre Block burned down, except for the Library of Parliament. In fact, the library is the only part of the original Centre Block we see today.

The rest of the Centre Block was rebuilt after the fire. The building kept its Gothic Revival style, and included more floors than before.

The Centre Block partially reopened in early 1920 as a "beacon of optimism for the post-war age." In 1927, the completed tower was renamed the "Peace Tower" as a national symbol of remembrance.

Enlarged image of the Centre Block fire from far away

The Centre Block fire from far away (click to view enlarged image)

Enlarged image of the Centre Block fire close up

The Centre Block fire close up (click to view enlarged image)

Enlarged image of fire fighters spraying Centre Block

Fire fighters spraying Centre Block (click to view enlarged image)

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