About the architectural design competition for Block 2

Read about the competition, why we are holding it and our hope for the future of the city block across from Parliament Hill.

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Location of Block 2

Block 2 is the city block immediately south of Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa. It faces the Centre Block and Peace Tower to the north. It is the threshold between city-owned and Crown-owned lands. The block is bounded by Metcalfe, Wellington, O'Connor and Sparks streets.

View enlarged image of a photo showing the location of Block 2 across the street from Parliament Hill.

A view from the Centre Block's iconic Peace Tower showing Block 2. (Click the image to view enlarged version.)

The design competition

Our goal is to transform this mix of aging buildings and 2 vacant parcels of land into an innovative complex that will meet the needs of Parliament and the public.

The redesigned block will provide office space for the Senate and the House of Commons and will allow for the future consolidation of parliamentary accommodations, including space for the Library of Parliament. It will also include renovated retail space on the Sparks Street Mall.

Through an architectural design competition, we invited 12 prequalified architectural firms to submit design proposals for the area that will complement the image of Canada and its capital on the world stage. An independent and professional jury will recommend the winning design and team to the department, and will award prizes for the top designs.

Two of the 11 buildings in Block 2 have been dedicated for the development of an Indigenous Peoples’ Space. While these buildings currently stand independently from the design competition, we will ensure the design and construction for the entire block honours and respects the significance of the space, which sits at the heart of Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct.

How we carried out the Block 2 design competition

Video: Block 2 architectural design competition

View the video: Block 2 architectural design competition

This video gives an overview of the design process for Block 2. Key players in the project explain the importance of the competition and how this multi-year redevelopment plan fits into the long-term vision for the Parliamentary Precinct (click to see the video).

Video: Government of Canada launches design competition for city block facing Parliament Hill

Why a design competition

Architectural design competitions support variety and are among the most effective ways to achieve excellence in building design and architecture. They are often used to generate innovative new ideas. Canada's original Parliament buildings were the result of a design competition in 1859. Competitions have produced many culturally significant buildings in Canada and around the globe, such as:

  • the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization), located across the river from the Parliament buildings
  • Toronto City Hall
  • the Sydney Opera House
  • the Centre Pompidou
  • the Tokyo International Forum

More information

For more information or to watch a video of the competitors talking about their designs, please visit the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada’s page: Renewal of Block 2—virtual presentation.

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