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“The ground upon which the buildings stand varies somewhat in elevation, that forming the site of the Parliament Building being the highest. The basement floor of the buildings is assumed to be 250 feet [76 m] above the ordinary summer level of the river, while that of the Eastern and Western blocks is 135 and 142 feet respectively [41 and 43 m]. The increased elevation, however, improves very much the general effect of the buildings.”
from Hand Book to the Parliamentary and Departmental Buildings, Canada, by Joseph Bureau (1867)