Buildings near Parliament Hill: History and design
There are a number of buildings located near Parliament Hill that serve Parliament. Learn about the history, art and architecture of these heritage buildings.
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100 Wellington Street
100 Wellington has it all: it’s an architectural gem, in a unique location, with a special history.
The building was built between 1931 and 1932 to house the United States Embassy. It is prominently located across from Parliament Hill. The historic building is designed in a classic Beaux‑Arts style and finished in limestone. The building was designated as a Classified Federal Heritage Building in 1985. It received the designation for its:
- architectural importance
- historical associations
100 Wellington was vacated in 1998 when the United States Embassy moved to its current location.
The building’s balanced composition is centred on its main entrance. The main façade features:
- finely carved limestone details
- gate posts with iron railings
- arches and light fixtures
- wood entrance doors
- multi-paned windows that open and close
The interior features heritage elements, such as:
- marble walls
- the original 1930s elevator
- mahogany panelling throughout
The building’s grand character is enhanced by significant natural sunlight from the many windows on its three sides. These windows also provide stunning and unique views of Parliament Hill.
Future use of the buildingOn June 21, 2017, following a broad consultation process, the Government of Canada announced the future use of the building. 100 Wellington will become a space for Indigenous Peoples.
The Justice Building holds the offices of 85 members of Parliament and their staff. The building is located at 284 Wellington Street, west of Parliament Hill.
There are masonry repairs taking place on the building until winter 2019. As well, the weeping tiles are being replaced and waterproof membranes are being installed, so there will be visible construction on the exterior until 2022.
In 2018, windows and roofs and some exterior stairs were repaired.
The Justice Building was built from 1935 to 1938.
Originally, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police lived and worked out of the building. The building was renovated between 1998 and 2001 to become office space for some members of Parliament and their staff.
The Justice Building became a Recognized Federal Heritage Building in 1988. It received the distinction for its historical, architectural and environmental values.
The Justice Building was built on Wellington Street because the federal government wanted to develop the street into a grand avenue worthy of a national capital. Federal planning studies done between 1904 and 1938 had this as one of their goals.
The building was designed in the Château architectural style. This style was used in many of the grand hotels of the day. It was based on designs by the architectural partnership of C.J. Burritt and Allan Horwood. Thomas Fuller supervised as the chief architect.
The Valour Building provides temporary office space for 62 members of Parliament and their staff. It serves this role while the buildings on Parliament Hill are being rehabilitated.
Built in 1972, this building is a perfect choice for temporary relocation space. It is located at 151 Sparks Street, very close to Parliament Hill.
Before it was to be used by the House of Commons, the building was renovated by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). PSPC upgraded the building’s exterior and its mechanical and electrical systems. We also added three new committee rooms. The members of Parliament moved in to their offices in the building in December 2010.
Honouring our troops
On May 8, 2014, on the eve of the ARCHIVED - National Day of Honour, the office tower was renamed the Valour Building. It was renamed to commemorate the heroic contributions and ultimate sacrifices made by military heroes and Canadian civilians during Canada's mission in Afghanistan.
A plaque on the building honours 20 recipients of the Star of Military Valour, the highest decoration awarded during Canada’s 12-year mission in Afghanistan.
The Victoria Building is a federal government office building that currently houses 40 offices for senators. The building also has four Senate committee rooms. It is located at 140 Wellington Street, directly facing Parliament Hill.
History and architecture
The Victoria Building was designed by John Albert Ewart. It was built from 1927 to 1928.
The red brick and limestone building was one of the first high-rises in Ottawa. Built by the Wellington Investments Company, it was leased by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1938 to 1964. In 1973, the federal government purchased the building.
The building became a Recognized Federal Heritage Building in 1987. It received the distinction for its historical, architectural and environmental value.
The building was the first home of the Embassy of France. The embassy was located there from 1928 to 1939.
The Victoria Building remains largely unchanged and matches the urban character of the city's Wellington Street corridor in front of Parliament Hill. It is a familiar landmark to residents and parliamentarians.
The Wellington Building is located across from Parliament Hill at 180 Wellington Street. Following the significant rehabilitation project, the Wellington Building was unveiled in 2016. It now houses offices for 70 members of Parliament. It also holds 10 committee rooms and a library.
History and architecture
The Wellington Building was designed in the Beaux-Arts style. It was designed collaboratively by American architect D. Everett Waid and J.A. Ewart, of Ottawa. Built for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the building features:
- three-storey Corinthian columns
- a cast steel and glass canopy entrance
- marble floors and walls
- coffered beam ceilings accented by cast plaster detailing
The main entrance lobby displays a dramatic ceiling mosaic created by American muralist Barry Faulkner. The mosaic is made up of thousands of coloured ceramic tiles. It symbolizes health and well-being and was considered one of the finest designs of the era.
Learn about restoring the lobby mosaic.
For a building built in 1927, the Wellington Building's efficient office layout and the designers' concern for workplace health were ahead of their time. Later add-ons from the 1950s, a period of rapidly changing architectural tastes, reflected the insurance company's growth at the expense of ornate exterior decor and detail.
The building used to have a tennis court on the roof for employees of the insurance company.
The federal government acquired the building in 1973. The Wellington Building became a Recognized Federal Heritage Building in 1986.
Learn about rehabilitating the Wellington Building.
Sir John A. Macdonald Building
This building is located at 144 Wellington Street, across the street from the West Block. PSPC recently rehabilitated the building. It is now the permanent home for large parliamentary meetings and functions.
The building was built in 1932 for the Bank of Montreal.
In 1973, the bank sold the building to the federal government, but remained the building's sole tenant until 2005. In 2012, the federal government renamed the building in honour of Canada's first prime minister.
The bank completed the building despite the Great Depression. The construction provided jobs for hundreds of workers.
The building was designed by Montreal architect Ernest Barott and is a harmonious blend of Beaux-Arts and Art Deco architecture and design.
Above the external doors and windows, limestone carvings depict Canadian industry and commerce. Decorations featuring Canada's wildlife and nature are found throughout the interior.
Given its age, condition, prominence and strategic location near Parliament Hill, work began in 2010 to rehabilitate and expand the nearly 80-year-old building. The project was completed in 2015.
Learn about rehabilitating the Sir John A. Macdonald Building.
This building is located at 229 Wellington Street, just west of Parliament Hill. It houses office space for government ministers and members of Parliament.
History and architecture
The Confederation Building was built between 1927 and 1932. It was the first major part of a new federal government precinct in the area west of Parliament Hill. The V-shaped Château‑style building was designed by the Chief Architect's Branch of the Department of Public Works.
The building's exterior walls feature course stonework, and the building is topped with a copper roof. Although the exterior is virtually unchanged since 1932, the building's interior was rehabilitated in the 1970s to house government ministers and members of Parliament.
The exterior of each wing of the building is decorated with stone carvings of a different species of Canadian wildlife. There are:
- mountain lions
- a bat
Based on its imposing size, prominent location and rich architectural details, the Confederation Building was designated as a Classified Federal Heritage Building in 1988.
Work to repair and restore elements of the Confederation Building began in 2011. Since that time, we improved the water system, updated the building’s elevators, modernized the electrical power distribution, and completed some repairs to the roof. Stabilization of the building's windows is ongoing and planned to be complete by fall 2020.
Rideau Committee Rooms
Originally built in 1992 to house the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the building located at 1 Wellington Street is now occupied by the Rideau Committee Rooms.
The building is located just east of Parliament Hill, between the Rideau Canal and the Fairmont Château Laurier. The Rideau Committee Rooms have been modernized to support parliamentary operations.
Architect Michael Lundhom originally adapted an old railway tunnel running alongside the Fairmont Château Laurier to create the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.
- Learn about restoring and modernizing the Senate of Canada Building
- Watch the video Transforming the Government Conference Centre
- See before and after photos in the Senate of Canada Building photo gallery
- Learn about restoring and modernizing the West Block
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