In Ottawa, 2019 will be a big year for the Centre Block building at Canada’s Parliament: Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is set to embark on the largest heritage restoration project the country has ever seen, with a goal of preserving this majestic piece of the nation’s history for generations to come. Learn more about what’s set to happen at Centre Block and how these ongoing improvements affect Parliamentary tours for students.
Built between 1916 and 1927, the Centre Block building is possibly Canada’s most important national symbol. An icon of Canadian democracy and a popular student group travel destination, Centre Block has inspired millions upon millions of people who visit Parliament Hill. Ottawa Tourism has shared some important updates for group travelers:
- Guided tours of the Centre Block will continue until its closure, confirmed for January 2019, and there will be no overlap in guided tours of Centre Block and those of the Government Conference Centre and West Block.
- Tours of the Senate at the Government Conference Centre and the House of Commons at West Block will begin once both Chambers begin operations in these locations, planned for late January 2019.
- Until the closure of Centre Block, individuals and groups with fewer than 10 people can get same-day tickets for tours as of 9 a.m. daily at 90 Wellington Street. Groups of 10 people or more can currently reserve tours online at Visit Parliament until December 31, 2018.
- A new online reservation and ticketing system is being developed to enable advance booking for guided tours of the Senate at the Government Conference Centre and the House of Commons at West Block. The system will allow visitors to check availability in real time and well in advance of their visit to Parliament. Separate tickets will be available online for guided tours of these two interim locations, in addition to tickets for East Block tours in summer.
- The tour schedules for the Senate in the Government Conference Centre and for the House of Commons in West Block are under development. More information about tour options and schedules for the Senate and House of Commons interim locations will be available on visit.parl.ca in fall 2018.
- During construction: PSPC is collaborating with stakeholders and will continue to work closely with the Parliamentary Partners (House of Commons, the Senate and the Library of Parliament) to ensure a continued positive visitor experience is maintained on Parliament Hill as they move forward through the rehabilitation project. PSPC is working with the House of Commons on a plan to ensure the Dominion Carillonneur can continue to play the carillon for as long as possible during the rehabilitation project. At this point, it is too early to say how long the Peace Tower will be closed as the project is still in the early stages.
- The Centennial Flame will continue to burn throughout the construction period.
Visit Renovation Details to follow along with the rehabilitation progress.
Information provided by Ottawa Tourism.
Photo courtesy of Amy L Charles.