About the East Block project

The Government of Canada is restoring and modernizing Parliament Hill’s East Block. We are doing this in 2 phases. The first phase of the East Block project has been completed. We are now further assessing the condition of the building and preparing for phase 2.

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A historic building

The East Block is one of the world’s finest examples of High Victorian Gothic architecture. The first portion of the building was completed by the Government of Canada in 1865, but is referred to as the 1867 wing. A second wing was added in 1910.

History and architecture of the East Block

In need of repairs and updates

At more than 150 years old, the East Block needs to be restored and modernized. We last performed major work on the 1867 wing in the 1970s and repaired further issues as they arose. Short-term fixes are no longer a cost-effective option for preserving the building. It needs major repairs to bring it up to modern safety, environmental and accessibility standards. The East Block has outdated systems. The water pipes are old. The heating system is reaching the end of its useful life, and there is no central cooling. The electrical system cannot safely handle all the modern technology needed to support the operations of Parliament.

The building needs to be updated so that it can better withstand earthquakes and meet modern building codes. Security also needs to be addressed.

Phased approach

We are restoring and modernizing the East Block in 2 phases. We are now in the second phase of the project.

Phase 1: Exterior work

The first phase began in 2017 and was completed in early 2022. It focused on restoring and repairing the exterior of the 1867 wing, and addressing the areas of greatest concern. This included urgent repairs to the southwest and southeast towers as well as the south and main entrances.

In phase 1, we:

  • rehabilitated the heritage stone masonry and reinforced the masonry walls to better withstand earthquakes
  • preserved the stained glass, leaded windows, exterior doors and ornamental ironwork
  • replaced some of the copper roof
  • started planning for phase 2

For phase 1, the design contract was competitively awarded to Arcop/DFS in a joint venture. The construction management contract was competitively awarded to Pomerleau Inc..

The budget for planning, design and construction was $97.5 million (excluding harmonized sales tax). This includes all security, health and safety measures.

Infographic: Facts about phase 1 of the East Block project

Phase 2: Fully restoring and modernizing the East Block

Now that urgent repairs have been completed in phase 1, we are assessing options for the full restoration and modernization of the East Block. Phase 2 will begin after the assessment.

In phase 2, we will address the exterior work that we did not complete in the first phase, including the 1910 wing. We will also complete the seismic upgrade for the entire building.

Phase 2 will link the East Block with the Parliament Welcome Centre. This will allow visitors to go through the security screening and easily make their way to the East Block.

Parliament Welcome Centre

The mechanical, electrical and safety systems in the East Block are outdated. We will replace them as part of the East Block project. We will upgrade the building to meet modern building codes and the needs of the Senate.

The building will be vacated during phase 2. We have not yet established the budget nor awarded the contracts for the second phase. The budget for this stage of the project will be established, and contracts will be awarded once the assessment portion of the phase 2 work has been completed.

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