Parliament Hill, Complex
Parliament Buildings National Historic Site
Lieu historique national de la Colline du Parlement
Links and documents
1859/01/01 to 1865/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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.
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.
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
-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.
Government of Canada
Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy
Classified Federal Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Legislative Building
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
Parliament Hill, East Block
Rising above the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River, the East Block is a very fine example of the of the High Victorian Gothic Revival style. Built of Nepean sandstone and crowned…
Parliament Hill, West Block
The Parliament Hill - West Block is a highly picturesque, building of Nepean sandstone, mansard copper roofs, iron cresting, and Gothic detailing. Facing the centre lawn of…
Parliament Hill, Centre Block
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. …
Parliament Hill, Library
Inspired by the medieval chapter house, the Parliament Hill –Library is an octagonal stone building attached to the Centre Block. Designed in a highly romantic, Gothic Revival…