Government of Canada officially hands over the newly restored and modernized West Block facility to House of Commons
House of Commons receives key for January move-in date
November 8, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Public Services and Procurement Canada
Public Services and Procurement Canada is restoring and modernizing the buildings on and around Parliament Hill to preserve these heritage treasures for future generations of Canadians.
Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, handed over the ceremonial keys to Parliament Hill’s West Block and the new Visitor Welcome Centre to the Honourable Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House of Commons.
The event marks the culmination of years of collaboration with the House of Commons to restore the 19th century West Block and modernize it for the 21st century needs of a modern Parliament. The new Visitor Welcome Centre is the first new building on Parliament Hill since the Centre Block re-opened almost a century ago.
The rehabilitation of the West Block, including the new Chamber infill, required the careful integration of traditional craftsmanship, such as that of stone masons and carvers, as well as cutting-edge technologies like laser cleaning and 3D digital modelling. The inspired design and exceptional workmanship will serve as a model for the restoration of heritage parliamentary buildings on the Hill and abroad.
The restored West Block will house legislative facilities for members, House officers and House officials; the interim Chamber; four new committee rooms; the Parliamentary Dining Room; a cafeteria; and a satellite library managed by the Library of Parliament, among other support services.
This project created over 5,000 jobs in a broad range of industries, from architecture and engineering to manufacturing, trades and construction.
“The handover of the West Block and Visitor Welcome Centre is a major milestone in the work we are doing to restore and modernize all of our Parliament Buildings so they are safer, greener and more accessible, and can continue to serve as the seat of our democracy and proudly welcome future generations of Canadians.”
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility
“The West Block has been part of the Parliamentary Precinct for more than a hundred years, and today, thanks to the efforts of Public Services and Procurement Canada, it also becomes the temporary home of the House of Commons and of those who represent the people of Canada.”
The Honourable Geoff Regan
Speaker of the House of Commons
The West Block had not had significant work done on it for over a hundred years, since it was built between 1859 and 1906.
The complete restoration of the West Block required a combination of artisans, stone masons and other skilled workers to carry out the work.
Laser technology was used to clean the stone by vaporizing the contaminants and providing a uniformly clean surface.
The size of the West Block building in 2010 was approximately 15,000 m². In 2018, the West Block is now roughly 26,000 m², including the courtyard infill and other additions. The Visitor Welcome Centre, Phase 1, is an additional 5,700 m². Together, they provide an approximate total area of 31,700 m², effectively doubling the space originally available.
The scope of the West Block rehabilitation project also included plans allowing for the expansion of the available space, acknowledging the fact that the facilities would serve not only the needs of the current Parliament but also those of many subsequent Parliaments in the decades to come.