Rehabilitation of icon begins
Restoration of stone masonry part of Centre Block work
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, 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.