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Your Capital

Read the book
Read the Book

The 443 parliamentarians who represent you in the Senate and the House of Commons meet in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.

The Seat of Government

Ottawa is the seat of Government. It is here, in the Parliament Buildings, that each Senator and Member of the House of Commons has an office. This is where federal laws are made, caucus meetings take place, lively debates arise, committee meetings and hearings are orchestrated, media scrums are held and many protests and celebrations are launched.

The original plans for Parliament included three buildings, which are now known as Centre Block, East Block and West Block. The Centre Block also features a large frontal tower and a round library attached to the back of the building. Over the years, the Parliament Buildings have continued to evolve to meet the requirements of a living Parliament.

A Brief History of the Parliament Buildings

  • 1859 - construction of Centre Block, East Block and West Block begins
  • 1865 - East Block and West Block are completed
  • 1866 - Centre Block is completed (not including the library and tower)
  • 1876 - construction of the Library of Parliament is completed
  • 1878 - Victoria Tower is completed
  • 1916 - Centre Block is destroyed by a fire; reconstruction of Centre Block begins
  • 1922 - new Centre Block is completed (not including the tower)
  • 1927 - Peace Tower is completed
  • 1967 - Centennial Flame outside Centre Block is lit
  • 1997 - East Block is renovated and modernized
  • 2006 - conservation, rehabilitation and upgrade of the Library of Parliament is complete
  • 2009 - rehabilitation of West Block begins
  • 2014 – rehabilitation of the Government Conference Centre (now called the Senate of Canada Building) begins
  • 2019 – Centre Block closes for major renovations. The Senate moves to the Senate of Canada Building, and the House of Commons moves to West Block
  • 2019 - Present – The work of Canada’s Parliament continues in interim locations for the duration of Centre Block’s closure

What’s in Your Capital?

In addition to housing Canada’s Parliament, Ottawa serves as the headquarters for many embassies, non-profit organizations, national organizations and institutions including:

  • National Gallery of Canada
  • Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Canadian Museum of Civilization
  • Canada Science and Technology Museum
  • Bank of Canada
  • Statistics Canada
  • Library and Archives Canada
  • National Research Council