Senate of Canada Building

  • © east addition detail - Tom Arban Photography
  • © east facade looking towards Chateau Laurier and Parliament Hill - Tom Arban Photography
  • © south west facade - Tom Arban Photography
  • © north west facade of the Senate of Canada Building from Sir Wilfrid Laurier Statue on Parliament Hill - Tom Arban Photography
  • © west facade facing the Rideau Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site - Tom Arban Photography
  • © copper clad committee chamber in the general waiting room - Tom Arban Photography
  • © committee chamber in the general waiting room - Tom Arban Photography
  • © 1970s general waiting room additions
  • © general waiting room - Tom Arban Photography
  • © staff lounge above the committee room - Tom Arban Photography
  • © senate chamber - Doublespace Photography
  • © maple leaf detail in the senate chamber - Doublespace Photography
  • © senate foyer - Tom Arban Photography
  • © senate foyer stair - Doublespace Photography
  • © ‘famous five’ bronze monument in the redefined forecourt

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award




Local Authority Area

Not in UK/ROI

Information about this scheme

The building is a prominent component of the Confederation Square National Historic Site and is located within the Rideau Canal World Heritage Site’s buffer zone. Together with the Chateau Laurier Hotel across the street, the building forms a symbolic gateway to the Parliamentary Precinct.

Rescued from demolition when the station closed in 1968, the building was repurposed as the Government Conference Centre (GCC). The program brief required creating a new Senate chamber, new committee rooms, leadership offices, reading rooms, reception, and ceremonial spaces for government functions.

A critical part of the program required a complete replacement of all major building systems as well as compliance with current seismic requirements and life safety upgrades.

Major restoration and rehabilitation work were required to re-establish the character-defining elements of the original building that were lost to decades of expedient and ad hoc renovations. Against this backdrop, the design team inserted a contemporary language of new volumes and insertions, both interior and exterior. Drawing on the precedents of the classical language of the original building and the rich Gothic representation evident in Centre Block, a new layer of material expression is introduced. Innovative explorations in wood, bronze, glass and stone contemporize iconic Canadian symbols and motifs as well as celebrate images of Canadian landscapes.

An important cultural and historic landmark in Ottawa is now the interim home to the Senate of Canada. This project presented many unique opportunities: to restore the historic Beaux-Arts train station; to insert the functions for a Senate program; to upgrade the facilities to a modern 21st- century building; and to give voice to a narrative of Canadian culture and identity.

The project embraces innovative techniques in craftsmanship & fabrication, invokes a contemporary approach to new interventions, and both complements and juxtaposes the character-defining elements of the original building.



Diamond Schmitt Architects and KWC Architects, Architects in Joint Venture


Public Services and Procurement Canada

Conservation Architect

ERA Architects

Interior Designer

Diamond Schmitt Architects

Construction Management


Structural Engineer

John G. Cooke & Associates

M&E Engineers

Crossey Engineering

M&E Engineers

Crossey Engineering

Landscape Architect


Specialist Sub-Contractor

MCM 2001

Specialist Sub-Contractor

BermanGlass/Forms and Surfaces


Dominion Sculptor of Canada

Specialist Sub-Contractor


Lighting Design

Gabriel Mackinnon Lighting Design

Lighting Design


Acoustic Consultant

State of the Art Acoustic Inc.

Civil Engineers


Environmental Consultant


Access Consultant

Designable Environments






4TE Inc.


Entro Communications

Primary Use Class

Sui Generis - Other Use Class not listed above