Houses of Parliament - Centre Block, Ottawa, Canada

John A. Pearson & Jean Omer Marchand
Date Built
Completed by 1922. The Peace Tower was finished in 1927.
Wellington Street, Ottawa
The building shown above is the home of Canada's Federal Government.  It is one of three buildings located on this site, between Wellington Street and the Ottawa River, known as Parliament Hill.  The separate East and West Blocks, that contain the offices of parliamentarians, are just out of view in the image above.  The appropriately named Centre Block contains the debating chambers for the House of Commons and the upper house, known in Canada as the Senate. 

The original Centre Block building was erected in the 19th century but on February 3, 1916, a devastating fire destroyed all but the northwest wing and the library.  The library is the circular building seen in the image above.  On the day of the fire, an employee had the presence of mind to close the door to the library saving its collection of irreplaceable books.  For the next four years the business of running Canada moved to the nearby Victoria Memorial Museum while work got underway on the site to build a new Centre Block.    In 1920 the parliamentarians moved back into their new home.

The prominent feature of this modern Gothic Revival building is the centrally located Peace Tower named in commemoration of the country's commitment to peace. 

A memorial Chamber is located on the third floor of the tower.  The Parliament website says that, "The Memorial Chamber is dedicated to the memory of Canadians who have died in military service. The Tower was constructed by a nation grateful for peace while the Memorial Chamber testifies that the struggle for peace comes at the cost of human life. The Memorial Chamber was designed out of a response to the profound devastation wrought by the First World War. This monumental event created the need for a national memorial – a place of reflection and solace to remember the sacrifice of the many Canadians that fell in Europe between 1914 and 1918. Since, this memorial has grown to include the names of all Canadians who have died in military service in past and present conflicts."  The Peace Tower is also home to a 53 bell carillon.

The House of Commons Chamber is located at the west end of the Centre Block. 

This rectangular room features white oak and Tyndall limestone from Manitoba.

The Senate Chamber is located at the eastern end of the Centre Block. 

In contrast to the Commons' subdued green, this room is resplendent in red and gold.

Above the chamber is the magnificent coffered ceiling decorated in gold leaf.  As the Parliament website explains the ceiling is decorated with, " ... the French fleur-de-lys, the English lion, the Irish harp, the Welsh dragon and the Scottish thistle, together with Canadian maple leaves reflecting the nationalities of Canada’s early European settlers. Two massive bronze chandeliers, weighing approximately two tonnes each, hang from the ceiling."

- More interior views -

Below is the portrait of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

Inside and out, the building is decorated with elaborate sculptures of creatures both real and imagined.

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