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Parliament Hill, Complex

111 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/05/27

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Other Name(s)

Parliament Hill, Complex
Parliament Buildings National Historic Site
Lieu historique national de la Colline du Parlement
Parliament Hill Complex - Precinct
Parliament Hill Complex - Precinct

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1859/01/01 to 1865/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/11/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Parliament Hill Complex in Ottawa is composed of four Gothic Revival pavilions that together make up the Parliament Buildings. Surrounding an expansive lawn and overlooking swirling waters of the Ottawa River, the picturesque complex of matching yet different Gothic Revival designs displays a dazzling array of copper roofs, towers pinnacles and iron cresting against the skyline. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Parliament Hill complex is designated Classified because it is, in its entirety, a symbol of Parliament and Canadian government; because it is one of the better Canadian examples of design at a larger scale; and because it has been the site of numerous nationally significant events and ceremonies.

The foundation of the design of the Parliamentary Complex was the brilliant siting of the buildings on Barracks Hill. Viewed from the north, the design of the buildings and the treatment of the site together made a High Victorian picturesque composition of international significance. In its more formal southern aspect, the complex was rendered a fully harmonious whole by Calvert Vaux's simple but inspired retaining wall and lawns. The fence along Wellington Street is a significant design and an example of advanced craftsmanship.

Staff Report, 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

The character-defining elements of the Parliament Buildings should be respected, for example:

-the relationship between the buildings and the distinctive outdoor spaces around them, which is animated by the tension between its formal, almost austere, centre and its rugged, apparently wild, periphery;
-the Wellington Street fence, which is the original and defining iteration of the
Town/Crown dichotomy;
-the parliamentary lawns, which are the formal centre of the complex and whose essential character is simplicity approaching austerity;
-Calvert Vaux's graceful retaining wall and podium, the basic form-giving element of the space, reinforced by the circulation pattern and grades;
-the spaces between the buildings and the cliff, which were developed in the gardenesque tradition and spoke to Major's Hill Park, which was designed at the same time in the same tradition;
-the essentially wild state of the cliffs, necessary to the splendid image the Hill presents when viewed from the north.




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

Thomas Fuller



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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