National Press Building
June 15, 2021
The Parliamentary Precinct is not only where laws are made, but it is the physical expression of our commitment to democracy and the principle of freedom. It is also an important place where Canadians gather to express themselves and to celebrate.
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) take seriously its responsibility to modernize the Precinct, a nationally significant collection of buildings in the heart of Canada's Capital and the highest concentration of heritage buildings in the country. It comprises 35 crown-owned buildings, which include the buildings located on Parliament Hill and those in the three city blocks located immediately to the south (known as Blocks 1, 2, and 3). The Blocks are bounded to the north and south by Wellington and Sparks Streets, and to the East and West by Elgin and Bank Streets.
The Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) is a multi-decade strategy to restore and modernize the Precinct, preserving it for all Canadians, ensuring it meets the needs of a modern and evolving Parliament and making it greener, safer and more accessible. The LTVP establishes the framework for PSPC’s major initiatives and comprises multiple concurrent projects of varying sizes and duration, including large-scale heritage restorations, new construction projects, smaller fit-up and information-technology-related works, as well as planning initiatives. The LTVP is now being updated -shifting from the building-by-building strategy to a campus approach that will better support the safe and efficient operations of Parliament. The redevelopment of Block 1-2-3 is part of the LTVP.
The National Press Building is a multi-tenant building within Block 3, which is bounded by O’Connor Street to the east and Bank Street to the west. Built in 1917-1918, the building is currently occupied by the Parliamentary Partners, including The Senate of Canada, the House of Common, the Parliamentary Protective Service as well as the Press Gallery, one media tenant and federal public servants.
PSPC has recently met with the Press Gallery and the House of Commons to start discussions about path forward for the planning and visioning activities required for the future redevelopment of the buildings in Block 3, including the National Press Building. The process will include additional consultations with all key stakeholders, including the Press Gallery. As we are still early in the planning exercise, it is premature to speculate on what the long term vision will be.
Until the major redevelopment of the National Press Building occurs, PSPC will continue to invest in the building to ensure it is safe and functional. In 2018, PSPC worked in partnership with Press Gallery representatives and the House of Commons to construct a new “Hot Room” spanning two floors of the building. In the past year, the roof was replaced, the main entrance door was refurbished, and common areas on floors 2, 3, and 4 were updated. This coming year, more refresh work is planned including repainting one of the stairwells. PSPC will continue to collaborate with the Press Gallery and the House of Commons to review plans for additional investments to the building ahead of its major rehabilitation.
Canada’s media are essential. The Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad contribute in an important way to the democratic process, and are core to a well-functioning Parliament. PSPC is committed to continue leasing space in its buildings to media organizations wishing to do so. Currently, PSPC is leasing space to 3 media tenants in the Precinct, including in the National Press Building.
PSPC has a good working relationship and open communications with the Press Gallery and all other tenants in the building. We provide 24/7 responses to any building emergencies such as leaks and other urgencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has not impacted our ability to respond to tenant requests or perform maintenance in the building.
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