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Parliament buildings, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada photo
Change of the guard, Parliament buildings, Ottawa, Ontario

Building the parliament buildings in Ottawa, then a small industrial town, was the biggest construction project ever attempted by the Canadian government at the time.

During his Royal Tour, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales arrived in Ottawa late in the summer of 1860 to lay the cornerstone of the new legislature.

The main type of stone used in all three buildings was Nepean sandstone, a warm ochre-coloured stone which was quarried locally. Other types were used to add colour to the design. Red sandstone from Potsdam, New York and grey Ohio freestone were used to accent windows and decorative details. Grey and green slates were used for the roofs.

The scale of the construction project under way in Ottawa in 1860 was mind-boggling. Nothing this big had ever been done in North America and it was large even by European standards. Following huge cost overruns, the costruction site was closed down in September 1861, and the partly finished walls were covered with tarpaulins to protect them from the weather. 1,300 men were thrown out of work, until 1863, when construction resumed following a commission inquiry and management changes.

SOURCE: Ottawa Tourism, courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission.



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