Visitor Welcome Centre

Parliament Hill is one of Canada’s most important heritage sites and most popular tourist attractions. To improve visitor experience and enhance security to this iconic site, a new, fully accessible Visitor Welcome Centre will greet visitors to Parliament Hill beginning in January 2019. It is being designed and built in two phases, the first of which provides a seamless connection between the Centre and West Blocks. Once complete, the project will link all three core Parliamentary Precinct buildings: the West, Centre and East Blocks.

On this page

Building a more welcoming experience

The first phase of the Visitor Welcome Centre is a modern, four-level underground complex, designed to blend perfectly with the historical structures and natural surroundings of Parliament Hill.

View enlarged image of Artist’s rendering of the Visitor Welcome Centre Phase 1 entrance.

In front of the main entrance, a plaza will offer a gathering and waiting area for visitors. From there, visitors will enter through a subtle, yet elegant, main entrance on the west side of the Centre Block.

View enlarged image of Artist’s rendering of the interior of the Visitor Welcome Centre Phase 1.

Inside, they will find themselves in a bright and open space that provides a sophisticated and engaging entryway to Canada’s Parliament.

View enlarged image of Artist’s rendering of the entrances of the Visitor Welcome Centre.

Its 21st century screening facilities will help ensure their safety and the security of those working on Parliament Hill.

The Visitor Welcome Centre  includes:

View enlarged image of Artist’s rendering of the Visitor Welcome Centre Phase 1 gathering area.
View the interior of a building seen from the top of the stairs. There is a escalator and an elevator.
View enlarged image of A person walking in a white corridor with curvy walls.

Once screened, visitors will be off to discover the beauty and history of Canada’s Parliament buildings.

Construction of phase 1

The first phase of the Visitor Welcome Centre was built at the same time as the West Block restoration. Both projects will be completed in time to welcome visitors to Parliament in January 2019.

Construction of phase 2

There is more to come. A second phase will expand the Visitor Welcome Centre to the east, providing an easy and accessible connection between the West, Centre and East Blocks.

View enlarged image of the construction of Phase 1 of the Visitor’s Welcome Centre, with the Ottawa River, the Centre Block and the Peace Tower in the background.

Here is a snapshot of the construction:

Interesting facts

The cornerstone video

Watch the cornerstone video to follow the sourcing and inscribing of the cornerstone.

Transcript of the cornerstone video

Video length: 0:38 seconds

Start of clip.

(Light instrumental music plays in the background.)

(Aerial view of Queenston, Ontario.)

(Top view of a saw cutting through a stone.)

(View of 3 men extracting the large stone from the quarry.)

(View of an excavator lifting the stone using chains.)

(Side view of a carver inscribing the stone. The inscription reads: “This stone was laid by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston Governor General of Canada.”)

(Close-up of a tool inscribing the letter “R”.)

(Public Services and Procurement Canada signature is displayed.)

(Canada wordmark is displayed.)

End of clip.

A look inside the Visitor Welcome Centre

Have you heard of the Visitor Welcome Centre? Watch as 2 students invite you to take a closer look inside this site.

Visitor Welcome Centre video

Transcript of the Visitor Welcome Centre video

Start of clip.

(Light instrumental music plays in the background.)

(2 students stand in front of the West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.)

(Male student says)

You’ve heard of the West Block renovations.

(Female student asks)

But have you heard of the Visitor Welcome Centre?

(Female student says)

We asked Canada …

(Female student looks upward as 6 tweets appear on screen. She continues to say)

… and it seems like most of us don’t.

Text on screen: Nope, no idea!

Text on screen: What is that?

Text on screen: Say whaaaat?! Sounds interesting what is this place?

Text on screen (in French): No, I have not! What is it?

Text on screen: Nope!! What is it??

Text on screen: Sounds interesting, I’m intrigued! Tell me more!!

(Male student says)

So we’re here to show you.

(Male student looks towards the Visitor Welcome Centre construction site. An artist’s rendering of the completed front entrance is superimposed.)

(Aerial video of the Visitor Welcome Centre construction site.)

(Male student stands inside the Visitor Welcome Centre construction site. An artist’s rendering of the completed interior is superimposed.)

(Male student says)

The Visitor Welcome Centre will be the entrance to the West Block and the House of Commons Chamber.

(View from inside the Visitor Welcome Centre construction site. An artist’s rendering of the completed interior is superimposed.)

(Female student says)

It will house security and information for visitors to Parliament Hill.

(Female student stands below the Visitor Welcome Centre.)

(Female student says)

We invite you all to come visit this historic site once it becomes available to the public.

(View from inside the Visitor Welcome Centre construction site. An artist’s rendering of the completed interior is superimposed.)

(Artist’s rendering of the exterior of the Visitor Welcome Centre.)

Text on screen: Visitor Welcome Centre opening soon!

(Public Services and Procurement Canada signature is displayed.)

(Canada wordmark is displayed.)

End of clip.

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