Supreme Court Building
Supreme Court of Canada
Cour suprême du Canada
Links and documents
1938/01/01 to 1940/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Supreme Court Building is a massive granite building whose design is clearly rooted in the classical tradition. Its main facade is defined by a seven bay central core flanked by two projecting pavilions that echoes the principal public spaces within. The building is crowned by steep Chateau style copper roofs. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Supreme Court Building was designated as a Classified heritage property because of its strong historical associations, its impressive architectural design and detailing, and its status as a national landmark. At the time of its construction, its siting and design were central to the establishment of the new governmental precinct west of Parliament Hill. Its symbolic prominence has increased over the years with the expansion of the Supreme Court's influence and power. As home of the Supreme Court of Canada and of the Federal Court, it has become a familiar symbol of the justice system in Canada at its highest level.
Ian Doull, Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 87-034; Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 87-034.
Key elements that define the heritage character of this property include, for example:
-the careful design and execution of a formal progression from the large landscaped forecourt through the impressive entry sequence and into the magnificent interior
-the carefully proportioned, symmetrical design both inside and out, which is enhanced by the use of elegant materials to create a dignified sense of occasion and presence;
-the landscape setting, which carries vestiges of the Beaux-Arts schemes proposed for the entire western precinct by planners in the first decades of the century;
-the balanced approach roads, with the large central green, the formal planters and urns, and the circular plaza with fountain at the rear of the building;
- the exterior of the building, with its two distinct elements: the severe classical granite-clad base and the borrowed "chateau" roof, added by the architect at the government's request to maintain a vocabulary established by the original Parliament buildings;
- in the interior areas, the entry stairs, vestibules and halls, including the Main Hall, and the courtrooms which open off them.
Government of Canada
Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy
Classified Federal Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Courthouse and/or Registry Office
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection