Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Parliament Hill, officially known in French as Colline du Parlement, is a scenic location on the banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Canada. Its Gothic revival suite of buildings serves as the home of the Parliament of Canada. The best known building is the Centre Block, with its prominent Peace Tower, a national symbol. The richly decorated interior of the centre block contains allegorical scenes.
The entire parliamentary precinct measures 112,360 square metres. It is bounded on the north by the Ottawa River, on the east by the Rideau Canal, on the south by Wellington Street, and on the west by Bank Street.
The current Parliament Buildings were built between 1865 and 1927. The West Block was built in 1865 and the East Block in two stages in 1867 and 1910. The Library of Parliament was opened in 1876, and the original Centre Block completed in 1878. The Legislature of the Province of Canada met for the first time in the new building on 8 June 1866, and the new Parliament of the Dominion of Canada began its first session there on November 6, 1867.
The Centre Block burned in 1916; the edifice was entirely destroyed except for the Library of Parliament, whose treasures were preserved by a quick-thinking librarian who was able to close its massive doors. The Centre Block was immediately rebuilt, being completed in 1920, with the Peace Tower, commemorating the end of the First World War, being completed in 1927. The centerpiece of the new building: the Hall of Honour.
Sometimes the Confederation Building and the Justice Building are also considered to be on Parliament Hill.
The Peace Tower is the most prominent part of the buildings. It replaced the 55-metre Victoria Tower, burned in the 1916 fire. Like the entire interior and exterior of the building, the tower is decorated with approximately 370 stone carvings, including gargoyles, grotesques, and friezes.
World War II footage of Parliament with Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was used in Star Trek: Enterprise season four's episode "Storm Front Part II", making Canada's Parliament one of the rare real-life legislatures to appear in Star Trek.
In 2012, the Centre Block is scheduled to be closed for five years for an extensive interior renovation. In preparation, the other buildings are being renovated and expanded first; the inner courtyards of the West and East Blocks will be enclosed, and temporary chambers for the Commons and Senate installed.
Every July 1, Canadians gather on Parliament Hill to celebrate Canada Day. During the summer months, people gather to watch the Changing of the Guard on the lawn in front of the Parliament Buildings. A similar ceremony is also performed at Rideau Hall, the governor general's residence.
Among the major events Parliament Hill has hosted:
- the millennium celebrations
- Canadians lying in state in the Hall of Honour (among them former prime minister Pierre Trudeau and Canada's Unknown Soldier, both of them in 2000)
- Canada's memorial service to honor the victims of the September 11 attacks in 2001, which Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, and U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci presided over and over 100,000 attended. 
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