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Parliament Hill, Centre Block

Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/01/16

General view of the façade of Centre Block emphasizing the whole of its exterior, centred on the Peace Tower, 2010.; Parks Canada Agency/ Agence Parcs Canada, Catherine Beaulieu, 2010.
Interior view of the Centre Block showing the Gothic ornament of the building, 2010.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, C. Beaulieu, 2010
Interior view
Detail view of the Peace Tower of Centre Block emphasizing its conception as a symbol of Canada, 2010.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, C. Beaulieu, 2010

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1916/01/01 to 1927/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/03/28

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Housing the Senate and the House of Commons, the Centre Block in the Parliament Complex is an ordered, monumental building constructed in Nepean sandstone with copper roofing. Designed in a Gothic revival style, the clearly articulated exterior, with its grand public entrance through the soaring Peace Tower, and flanking entrances to the House of Commons and Senate Chambers, reflects a rational and well-ordered interior plan. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Centre Block was designated as a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its exceptional significance as a national landmark, and because of the ceremonial and iconographic design and detailing of the building itself. As the site since 1922 of both the House of Commons and the Senate, it has come to symbolize Canada's nationhood.

Robert Hunter, Parliament Hill Complex, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 86-052; Parliament Hill Complex, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 86-052.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage value of the site include:
-its conception as a symbol of Canada;
-the whole of its exterior, centred on the Peace Tower;
-its many public interiors and its ceremonial circulation spaces, which are inextricably entwined with its symbolic and practical functions as the seat of government, and thus embody its heritage character;
-its function as an example of the design methodology of the École des Beaux Arts applied to a Gothic design vocabulary;
-its clear functional layout reinforced by a carefully considered hierarchy of space;
-the Gothic ornament of the building, which does not aspire to a 19th century
picturesqueness, and which is carefully worked out to reinforce the clear reading of the building and its hierarchy of space;
-the on-going carving program in the building, which has become a small part of its heritage character (the original design of the building made ample provision for continuing decoration, which has generally taken the form of commemorative devices).




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Legislative Building

Architect / Designer

John Pearson



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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