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Parliament Hill

From Academic Kids

The Centre Block, with the Peace Tower and Centennial Flame
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The Centre Block, with the Peace Tower and Centennial Flame
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ParliamentHillRespectstoTrudeau.jpg
Parliament Hill has been the site of many major events, which draw thousands to the lawn in front of the Parliament Buildings

Parliament Hill, officially known in French as Colline du Parlement, is a scenic location on the banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Canada. Its Gothic revival suite of buildings serves as the home of the Parliament of Canada. The best known building is the Centre Block, with its prominent Peace Tower, a national symbol. The richly decorated interior of the centre block contains allegorical scenes.

Contents

Parliament Buildings

The entire parliamentary precinct measures 112,360 square metres. It is bounded on the north by the Ottawa River, on the east by the Rideau Canal, on the south by Wellington Street, and on the west by a service road near the Supreme Court.

The current Parliament Buildings were built between 1865 and 1927. The West Block was built in 1865 and the East Block in two stages in 1867 and 1910. The Library of Parliament was opened in 1876, and the original Centre Block completed in 1878. The Legislature of the Province of Canada met for the first time in the new building on 8 June 1866, and the new Parliament of the Dominion of Canada began its first session there on November 6, 1867.


Great Fire

The Centre Block burned in 1916; the edifice was entirely destroyed except for the Library of Parliament, whose treasures were preserved by a quick-thinking librarian who was able to close its massive doors. The Centre Block was immediately rebuilt, being completed in 1920, with the Peace Tower, commemorating the end of the First World War, being completed in 1927. The centerpiece of the building is the Hall of Honour, the only place where Canadians can lie in state.

The Peace Tower is the most prominent part of the buildings. It replaced the 55-metre Victoria Tower, burned in the 1916 fire. Like the entire interior and exterior of the building, the tower is decorated with approximately 370 stone carvings, including gargoyles, grotesques, and freizes.

Future Plans

In 2012, the Centre Block is scheduled to be closed for five years for an extensive interior renovation. In preparation, the other buildings are being renovated and expanded first; the inner courtyards of the West and East Blocks will be enclosed, and temporary chambers for the Commons and Senate installed.

Major Events

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Pierre Trudeau lying in state
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Canada's 9/11 Memorial Service

Every July 1, Canadians gather on Parliament Hill to celebrate Canada Day. During the summer months, people gather to watch the Changing of the Guard on the lawn in front of the Parliament Buildings. A similar ceremony is also performed at Rideau Hall, the governor general's residence.

Among the major events Parliament Hill has hosted:

  • the millennium celebrations
  • Canadians lying in state. Among them:
    • Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau [1] (http://www.cbc.ca/clips/ram-lo/petricic_trudeau000930.ram) [2] (http://ctvbroadcast.ctv.ca/video/trudeau/smith_liesinstate_000930_hi.wmv)
    • Canada's Unknown Soldier
  • Canada's memorial service to honour the victims of the September 11 attacks in 2001, which Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, and U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci presided over and over 100,000 attended. [3] (http://www.cbc.ca/clips/ram-newsworld/ottawa_memorial010914.ram) While the rest of the world saw the service at the Washington National Cathedral, this simultaneous service--which Prime Minister Paul Martin called "the largest single vigil" ever seen in the nation's capital, [4] (http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news.asp?category=2&id=343) [5] (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0412/05/le.01.html) was televised live across Canada.

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