We’re inching closer to the day Members of Parliament will move into their new temporary home in the West Block of Parliament.
MPs are set to move out of the Centre Block, which will undergo its own massive upgrade, over their Christmas holiday break and begin deliberating government business in the transformed West Block once they return on Jan. 28.
The West Block renovation took seven years, with a price tag approaching $1 billion.
Refurbishing Parliament’s Centre Block, including the intricate cleaning and restoration of its exterior stones, is expected to take at least a decade.
Renovations to West Block include a glass ceiling over the temporary Commons that is designed to capture heat in the winter and expel it in the summer, according to Public Services Minister Carla Qualtrough.
“The idea that the heat is captured by the ceiling and then distributed across (the floor) really helps reduce the (energy) output,” said Qualtrough.
“And then in the summer the heat that accumulates in the roof can be vented to reduce air-conditioning expenses,” added assistant deputy public services minister Rob Wright, who has helped lead the renovation project.
The building was also designed to be more accessible, including ramps into a new welcome centre built below ground between the west and centre blocks where visitors will go through security screening before entering.
The West Block building was constructed between 1859 and 1906 and included a centre courtyard. Including that green space in the renovation’s design, along with four new levels below ground, has nearly doubled the building’s usable space to 26,000 square metres.