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Canada's Parliament Buildings

Photograph of the original Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings, featuring the Victoria Tower, completed in 1878 and destroyed by fire in 1916

Photograph of the original Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings, featuring the Victoria Tower, completed in 1878 and destroyed by fire in 1916
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Floor plans of the Centre Block of Parliament, identifying the offices of administrators, senators and members of Parliament, 1867

Floor plans of the Centre Block of Parliament, 1867
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Floor plans of the Centre Block of Parliament, identifying the offices of administrators, senators and members of Parliament, 1867

Floor plans of the Centre Block of Parliament, 1867
Source

In this section:

Construction of Canada's Parliament Buildings began at Ottawa in 1859. By 1867, the year of Confederation, the buildings were occupied by members of Parliament and their accompanying agents of government. Members of the civil service were initially housed in the West Block, while the East Block contained the offices of the governor general, the prime minister and the Privy Council. The House of Commons, the Senate and the Library of Parliament formed the Centre Block. These symbolic buildings would remain regular subjects of orders-in-council, which addressed such issues as security, land maintenance, staffing, furnishing and renovations. Orders-in-council dealing with the Parliament Buildings thereby provide a detailed history of the Canadian government's most familiar landmarks, from the disposition of the parliamentary grounds to the daily needs of parliamentarians who contended with poor lighting, snow removal and the supply of firewood.