Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of icon be­gins

Restora­tion of stone ma­sonry part of Cen­tre Block work

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Ottawa - Jesse Cnock­aert

The most iconic build­ing in Canada, the Cen­tre Block of Par­lia­ment, is set to be­gin its 10-year long re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion next year, but be­fore the build­ing en­ters the mod­ern age, or­ga­niz­ers of a walk­ing tour of the build­ings thought it was worth re­flect­ing on the im­pres­sive his­tory found there, still carved into its stone.

In a tour or­ga­nized by Her­itage Ottawa, Philippe Smith, a stone carver who has worked on Par­lia­ment Hill since the restora­tion of the Li­brary of Par­lia­ment in 2001, took guests around the Par­lia­ment build­ings yes­ter­day for an in-depth look at the Gothic or­na­men­ta­tion.

Smith ex­plained the Cen­tre Block, orig­i­nally built with a Gothic Re­vival style, con­tains some stone work you won’t find in the com­pan­ion East or West Blocks.

“When the orig­i­nal cen­tre block burned in 1916, they re­built it and then they went a lit­tle more, what I would call Cana­dian Gothic. Then you started to see or­na­men­ta­tion that re­flects more of Canada; some beavers, some moose, wood­peck­ers, which you won’t find in East or West Block,” he said.

Smith’s com­pany, Smith & Bar­ber - Sculp­ture Ate­lier Inc., is in the midst of com­plet­ing the mas­sive restora­tion of the West Block, which is ex­pected to be open for oc­cu­pancy for the open­ing ses­sion of Par­lia­ment in fall of 2018.

Work on the Cen­tre Block and East Block will follow.

Smith ex­plained his com­pany will cer­tainly be one of the com­pa­nies who will be bid­ding to work on the Cen­tre Block project, which will in­clude restora­tion of stone ma­sonry, new roof­ing and re­in­forced struc­tural in­tegrity.

When the orig­i­nal

cen­tre block burned in 1916, they re­built it and then they went

a lit­tle more, what I would call Cana­dian Gothic.

Philippe Smith

JESSE Cnock­aert/for METRO

Philippe Smith, co-owner of Smith & Bar­ber, stands with a stone pier at the north west tower en­trance of the East Block on Par­lia­ment Hill. Smith con­ducted a walk­ing tour, called Through the Eyes of a Stone Carver, on June 18, or­ga­nized by Her­itage Ottawa.

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