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Classic and contemporary design meet in the Government Conference Centre
September 28, 2018

This article is part of a series about the Senate of Canada’s move to the Senate of Canada Building, formerly known as the Government Conference Centre. In 2018, the Senate began to move into the building, a former train station built in 1912, while Parliament’s Centre Block — the Senate’s permanent home — is rehabilitated. The Senate will begin operating from the Senate of Canada Building in early 2019. 

The savings to taxpayers will be approximately $200 million compared to the original proposal to find an alternative location on Parliament Hill. The Senate is expected to occupy its temporary location for at least 10 years.

Ottawa's former train station will soon be reborn as the temporary home of the Senate and many of its design features are worth a second look.

The restoration will reintroduce the building's grand public spaces, including the intricately detailed general waiting room and concourse. The grand columns, windows and coffered ceilings are some of the original design features that will be on display when the building reopens.

But the 105-year-old building also boasts fresh features that evoke our country’s rich history. The intersection of existing historical finishes and contemporary design make for a truly unique space in the nation’s capital.


The original train station clock, hanging above the entrance to the former ticketing block, was restored and has stood the test of time.


The General Waiting Room to the interim home of Canada's Senate has a heritage plaster ceiling that was rehabilitated from the building's days as Ottawa’s train station. 


Walnut-wood doors open into the Senate Chamber. They are decorated with a pattern of maple leaves — a symbol of the country that Parliament serves. The doors were carved by machines at a workshop in Quebec’s Beauce region, south of Quebec City.


Carved Canada flag walnut-wood panels hang on the East Wall of the Senate Chamber. The flags form a backdrop to the thrones in the new Senate Chamber. The curve and contour of the carvings give a sense of movement, as though the flags are fluttering in the wind.


The antechamber is separated from the chamber by a translucent glass partition etched with different varieties of maple leaves.