Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Friday, 2 October 2020 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

© Coolcaesar/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Coolcaesar/cc-by-sa-3.0

Parliament Hill (French: Colline du Parlement), colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Its Gothic revival suite of buildings is the home of the Parliament of Canada and has architectural elements of national symbolic importance. Parliament Hill attracts approximately 3 million visitors each year. Law enforcement on Parliament Hill and in the parliamentary precinct is the responsibility of the Parliamentary Protective Service (PPS).

Originally the site of a military base in the 18th and early 19th centuries, development of the area into a governmental precinct began in 1859, after Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the capital of the Province of Canada. Following a number of extensions to the parliament and departmental buildings and a fire in 1916 that destroyed the Centre Block, Parliament Hill took on its present form with the completion of the Peace Tower in 1927. Since 2002, an extensive $1 billion renovation and rehabilitation project has been underway throughout all of the precinct’s buildings; work is not expected to be complete until after 2028.

Centre Block with Peace Tower © Arctic.gnome/cc-by-2.5 © Coolcaesar/cc-by-sa-3.0 East Block © flickr.com - Rick Ligthelm/cc-by-sa-3.0 East Block © Montrealais/cc-by-sa-3.0 © flickr.com - tsaiproject/cc-by-2.0 Parliament Buildings with Parliament Library © Peter Jakubinek/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Wladyslaw/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Parliament Buildings with Parliament Library © Peter Jakubinek/cc-by-sa-4.0
The 88,480 square metres (952,391 sq ft) area, maintained by the National Capital Commission, is named by the Parliament of Canada Act as Parliament Hill and defined as resting between the Ottawa River on the north, the Rideau Canal on the east, Wellington Street on the south, and a service road (Kent Street) near the Supreme Court on the west. The south front of the property is demarcated by a Victorian High Gothic wrought iron fence, named the Wellington Wall and in the centre of which, on axis with the Peace Tower to the north, sits the formal entrance to Parliament Hill: the Queen’s Gates, forged by Ives & Co. of Montreal. At each southern corner of the quadrangle are also smaller gates for every-day access. The main outdoor area of The Hill is the quadrangle, formed by the arrangement of the parliament and departmental buildings on the site, and laid out in a formal garden fashion. This expanse is the site of major celebrations, demonstrations, and traditional shows, such as the changing of the guard, or the annual Canada Day celebrations. To the sides of the buildings, the grounds are set in the English garden style, dotted with statues, memorials, and, at the northwest corner, a Carpenter Gothic structure called the Summer Gazebo, a 1995 reconstruction of an earlier gazebo, Summer House, built for the Speaker of the House of Commons in 1877 by Thomas Seton Scott and demolished in 1956.> Beyond the edges of these landscaped areas, the escarpment remains in its natural state. Though Parliament Hill remains the heart of the parliamentary precinct, expansion beyond the bounded area described above began in 1884, with the construction of the Langevin Block across Wellington Street. After land to the east, across the canal, was purchased by private interests (to build the Château Laurier hotel), growth of the parliamentary infrastructure moved westward along Wellington, with the erection in the 1930s of the Confederation and Justice Buildings on the north side, and then further construction to the south. By the 1970s, the Crown began purchasing other structures or leasing space deeper within the downtown, civic area of Ottawa. In 1973, the Crown expropriated the entire block between Wellington and Sparks Streets with the intent of constructing a south block for Parliament Hill. However, the government dropped this proposal and instead, constructed more office space in Hull, Quebec, such as the Terrasses de la Chaudière and Place du Portage. In 1976, the Parliament Buildings and the grounds of Parliament Hill were each designated as National Historic Sites of Canada, given their importance as the physical embodiment of the Canadian government and as the focal point of national celebrations. The Parliament of Canada Act renders it illegal for anyone to name any other area or establishment within the National Capital Region as Parliament Hill, as well as forbidding the production of merchandise with that name on it. Any violation of this law is punishable on summary conviction.

The Parliament Buildings are three edifices arranged around three sides of Parliament Hill’s central lawn, the use and administration of the spaces within each building overseen by the speakers of each chamber of the legislature. The Centre Block has the Senate and Commons chambers, and is fronted by the Peace Tower on the south facade, with the Library of Parliament at the building’s rear. The East and West Blocks each contain ministers’ and senators’ offices, as well as meeting rooms and other administrative spaces. Gothic Revival has been used as the unifying style of all three structures, though the Centre Block is a more modern Gothic Revival, while the older East and West Blocks are of a Victorian High Gothic (Canadian Parliament Buildings).

Read more on Visit Canada’s Parliament, Canada.ca – Parliament Hill, OttawaTourism.ca – Guided tours of Parliament and Wikipedia Parliament Hill (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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