Thursday, February 8, 2018

Heading For The Deadline

In late January, I photographed the government Conference Centre from Plaza Bridge while running errands. The one time main train station, it dates to 1912 and is in the Doric Roman Revival style. It has been used for conferences for decades by the federal government, so Canadians have seen the interior of this building on the news from time to time, even if they didn't know it. I have been inside before, when the building was open for Doors Open, so I know what it looks like inside. In recent years, however, the building has been completely closed off, under rehabilitation work in order to house the Senate here for some years beginning later this year, while Centre Block gets its work done.

Much of the work is done, aside from some final details outside and inside. Had you come here a year or two ago, you would have seen this building mostly surrounded by scaffolding. That started to come down last year. There is still a perimeter fence around the whole building, however.

This view is on the east side of the building. The sidewalk comes here to two different paths- a ramp and a staircase- which go into a pedestrian underpass to head over to the Rideau Centre.

The staircase is this one- and it's been only recently reopened, having had been completely rebuilt as part of the work going on at this site. Equipment and supplies are still on the other side of the fence, as some work is still being done on the exterior wall here, though on this particular morning, a Saturday, there weren't any work crews in sight yet.

The pedestrian underpass often features large scale photography mounted on one wall, and at present, the theme of that involves Canada Day. Over the years, a photographer has managed to get a multitude of people to agree to come downtown, usually early in the mornings on that date, dressed in red and white, and create a crowd-sourced maple leaf flag that they can photograph from above. Several examples of this from recent years are displayed on the wall. This is one of them.


  1. Wow, getting folks to dress in red and pose in formation! Impressive feat.

  2. Quite a majestic building. And it looks secure. Would y'all mind if we housed our Republican senators there for oh, 200 years of so?

  3. It wlil be interesting to see if you can ever get back inside it.


  4. I remember the building from my days in Ottawa. Love the human flag.

  5. @Linda: that takes a lot of organization.

    @Tom: it definitely is, all the more so inside.

    @Lowell: I think the bulk of your Republican Senators need to be dropped on an island in the Aleutians with no supplies and no electricity and just let nature take its course.

    @Francisco: thank you!

    @Janis: I believe that when the Senate is in session, it'll include public galleries. I'm hoping that in advance, the building is opened up for the public to come on in and have a look. Beforehand, because it was used so extensively, the only real opportunity to come in was on those Doors Open weekends in June.

    @Nancy: it definitely is.

    @Marie: it's a distinctive building.

    @Bill: I do too.

  6. Hello, it is an impressive building. Great series of photos. Have a happy day!

  7. very cool flag ... nice! very cool building design 2. ( :

  8. I can see how that building could have been a train station when it was built. It has that utilitarian look about it.

  9. A great building & I love the crowd photo of the Canadian flag!

  10. @Eileen: it certainly is.

    @Beth: just the logistics of getting that 'flag' organized is astounding!

    @Lois: so do I.

    @Sharon: it's stunning inside. I know the Senate modifications are supposed to be temporary.

    @Christine: it was quite a thing to see the building for months on end clad in scaffolding.

  11. That's a grand building!
    I love the photo of maple leaf made with crowds :-)

  12. Those crews better get cracking! Time's movie' on.

  13. It is so sad, I suppose, when you see our new utilitarian modern construction and the beautiful architecture of days gone by. The train station (used to be) in Seattle is so ornate and beautiful and tragic it is not used as it used to be anymore.

  14. It looks like they have done a good job getting it ready for the Senate.

  15. Love the columns and the arch.

  16. @Tamago: I've seen other cities do the human flag thing, including Winnipeg.

    @Revrunner: they have to have it done by summer's end. I think they'll get there. I am hoping it might be included in this year's Doors Open, and if not, that it might have an open house before the Senate starts up in there.

    @MB: our current train station is very utilitarian. And it's a bit out of the way.

    @Jenn: it definitely is.

    @RedPat: they have indeed.

    @Joe: I do as well.

  17. A very impressive old building. I like it!

  18. Fascinating building and great shots of it!

    Happy Weekend to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  19. That building will have had many lives. It looks as if that fencing is going to be a permanent feature.

  20. It is a most imposing building William! That was quite an organizational feat to get everyone together for the maple leaf photo shoot ☺

  21. It always makes me happy to see old historic buildings re-purposed and used.

  22. It's good the building will be opened again.

  23. @Bill: so do I.

    @Carol: thanks!

    @Mari: it was quite a job. I have to get inside and have a look.

    @Kay: since I took these shots the fencing has been removed.

    @Jennifer: so do I.

    @Grace: yes, I wonder how they manage it.

    @Pat: it's a good building to house the Senate.

    @Klara: yes, it's now being used for Senate sessions.