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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2012, 3:00 PM
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Parliament Hill

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/travel/...400/story.html

Government plans $50M subterranean visitors’ centre on Hill

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Even as it is preaching austerity and cutting programs and jobs, the federal government is planning a $50-million underground visitors’ centre on Parliament Hill.

Sitting three storeys deep, the Visitor Welcome Centre is designed to accommodate the growing number of visitors to Canada’s seat of government. To be constructed in three stages, the first phase is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017 and cost $48.9 million. According to the Request for Proposals released by Public Works Canada, the centre will connect “the West Block, the Centre Block and the East Block Underground Service buildings.”

Initially, the centre will primarily serve the renovated West Block, which will be refitted as the temporary chamber of the House of Commons while the Centre Block undergoes extensive renovations. But with future expansion, it will “form a fully interconnected subterranean Visitor Welcome Centre.” The project is part of the 25-year $5-billion modernization of the Parliament Buildings that the government has committed to.

But at the same time the government is building a multimillion-dollar centre to enhance visitor experience, the federal government is also cutting back on the number of people who take guided tours. About 355,000 people take guided tours of the Parliament Buildings every year, with 20,000 doing so in the evenings. Officials confirmed that budget cuts to the Library of Parliament, which is responsible for tours, mean the evening tours would end effective Saturday, when the last tour is finished at 4:30 p.m.

Nancy Durning, communications adviser to the Library of Parliament, said the elimination of the evening tours would have limited impact, since they are only offered in the summer.

Officials believe that when the new centre opens, it will more than make up for the elimination of the evening tours.

One of the problems on the Hill, especially in the summer, is the lack of space required to screen and orient the large number of visitors, often frustrating them and ruining the experience. Officials believe the new and enlarged centre will not only help ease the security screening bottleneck, but allow large numbers of tourists and visitors enjoy the tours.

“The Visitor Welcome Centre is really the place where we want to welcome Canadians to Parliament, and for us, it is all about enhancing the experience of people visiting Parliament,” Durning said.

“It will have an interpretive aspect, whether that means interpretive panels or information about Parliament and parliamentarians. It will include the security detail as well.”

Public Works Canada issued a request for proposals Thursday, asking for bids from architectural firms that will act as primary consultant to lead a team of builders for the project. Bidders have until Aug. 9 to hand in their proposals.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2012, 11:44 PM
OTSkyline OTSkyline is offline
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I think this is way too much money for what it is...
But I do agree it's time to expand and build something more for visitors in the Parliament Buildings... Last time I went there, we were held in a tiny room in the basement for screening & such...
And then we ask why nobody visits Ottawa... -__-
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  #3  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2012, 2:03 AM
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That's a lot of coin. For $50M does it include an underground tour bus parkade?
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  #4  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2012, 3:47 AM
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My thoughts exactly; good idea, but it seems way overpriced, especially when we consider that is will only connect the West Block and that a subway station comes to about the same price.

At least if they moved the NCC info centre in there and if it connected to Downtown East OLRT station (via old NCC info centre/Re Hotel).
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  #5  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2012, 4:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTSkyline View Post
I think this is way too much money for what it is...
But I do agree it's time to expand and build something more for visitors in the Parliament Buildings... Last time I went there, we were held in a tiny room in the basement for screening & such...
And then we ask why nobody visits Ottawa... -__-
Interesting. In my last visit to Centre Block I pretty much just walked right through the door. It doesn't surprise me that policy has changed however.

Doesn't Parliament Hill need - quite literally - billions in renovations? That's a lot of money to spend in light of the needs of those beautiful old buildings.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2012, 2:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTSkyline View Post
I think this is way too much money for what it is...
But I do agree it's time to expand and build something more for visitors in the Parliament Buildings... Last time I went there, we were held in a tiny room in the basement for screening & such...
And then we ask why nobody visits Ottawa... -__-
Many people do visit Ottawa each year.
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  #7  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2012, 3:48 PM
OTSkyline OTSkyline is offline
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Originally Posted by jaydog0212 View Post
Many people do visit Ottawa each year.
According to latest figures (from 2011), tourists per year:
New-York City: 50.6 million
Paris: 27 million
Toronto: 10 million
Montreal: 7.6 million
Ottawa: 4.1 million

I think Ottawa should build a landmark (like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or the Empire State Building in New-York or even CN Tower in Toronto) that would bring attention, tourists and money to Ottawa..
What's our biggest asset now? The Parliament? ...
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  #8  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2012, 4:09 PM
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Originally Posted by OTSkyline View Post
According to latest figures (from 2011), tourists per year:
New-York City: 50.6 million
Paris: 27 million
Toronto: 10 million
Montreal: 7.6 million
Ottawa: 4.1 million

I think Ottawa should build a landmark (like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or the Empire State Building in New-York or even CN Tower in Toronto) that would bring attention, tourists and money to Ottawa..
What's our biggest asset now? The Parliament? ...
Canada's big 3 eastern city's tourism figures seem fairly proportional to each of their population.

As for current investment in Parliament hill;

Quote:
25-year $5-billion modernization of the Parliament Buildings
We could save 42 million on the temporary House of Commons/Senate Chamber in the West Block's courtyard if we just used Place de Ville's top floor instead.
That might also encourage the useless idiots to show up for the view and keep them awake during the meetings due to the abundant sunlight.

Last edited by J.OT13; Jul 1, 2012 at 4:34 PM.
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  #9  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2012, 6:38 PM
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Originally Posted by J.OT13 View Post
Canada's big 3 eastern city's tourism figures seem fairly proportional to each of their population.

As for current investment in Parliament hill;



We could save 42 million on the temporary House of Commons/Senate Chamber in the West Block's courtyard if we just used Place de Ville's top floor instead.
That might also encourage the useless idiots to show up for the view and keep them awake during the meetings due to the abundant sunlight.
To do that they would have to invest millions in Place De Ville in terms of attractions yes Ottawa has the hill plus the canal but the other key attractions are the museums etc.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2012, 7:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jaydog0212 View Post
To do that they would have to invest millions in Place De Ville
No we wouldn’t have to invest much of anything; just take out the cubical and computers, separate the floor into 2 with the cubical walls and buy a bunch of folding chairs. They can use these chairs to beat the crap out of one another.

All kidding aside, I don't think we need to spend 42 million dollars on a fancy atrium/pod type thing in the middle of the west block when we have a bunch of empty buildings/spaces within the CBD. All they need is two big rooms and chairs; I'm sure they could find that in any office building/old American Embassy/ Union station or the BMO building across the street. Regular maintenance/renovations aside in those potential existing buildings, we don’t need to invest more than 1 million TOPS to accommodate the HOC/Senate.
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Old Posted Jul 1, 2012, 8:13 PM
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Originally Posted by J.OT13 View Post
No we wouldn’t have to invest much of anything; just take out the cubical and computers, separate the floor into 2 with the cubical walls and buy a bunch of folding chairs. They can use these chairs to beat the crap out of one another.

All kidding aside, I don't think we need to spend 42 million dollars on a fancy atrium/pod type thing in the middle of the west block when we have a bunch of empty buildings/spaces within the CBD. All they need is two big rooms and chairs; I'm sure they could find that in any office building/old American Embassy/ Union station or the BMO building across the street. Regular maintenance/renovations aside in those potential existing buildings, we don’t need to invest more than 1 million TOPS to accommodate the HOC/Senate.
It would be more then a million in many cases it would cost more to fix buildings up then build new ones.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2012, 8:22 PM
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Originally Posted by jaydog0212 View Post
It would be more then a million in many cases it would cost more to fix buildings up then build new ones.
We need to fix them anyway. As an example, they are fixing the old BMO branch on Wellington for 66 million dollars to be used as a "Confederation room to host ceremonial events and large meetings for parliament".

http://miracledreamhomes.com/ottawa-...d-after-first/

Instead of just using it for ceremonial events a few times a year, it could be used as the HOC/Senate as well and save the 42 million for a glass bubble over the West Block courtyard.
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  #13  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2012, 2:53 PM
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Originally Posted by J.OT13 View Post
We need to fix them anyway. As an example, they are fixing the old BMO branch on Wellington for 66 million dollars to be used as a "Confederation room to host ceremonial events and large meetings for parliament".

http://miracledreamhomes.com/ottawa-...d-after-first/

Instead of just using it for ceremonial events a few times a year, it could be used as the HOC/Senate as well and save the 42 million for a glass bubble over the West Block courtyard.
Having worked in Parliament, I can attest that such a room will be used for events many times per day, not "a few times a year."
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  #14  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2012, 4:04 PM
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Originally Posted by gjhall View Post
Having worked in Parliament, I can attest that such a room will be used for events many times per day, not "a few times a year."
The former bank chamber is also smaller than either of the Houses of Parliament.

Too bad it's not still a bank.
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  #15  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2012, 7:39 PM
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I will fully admit that I don't know everything. I don't know what sort of events are held in the old Union Station or what sort of events will be held in the old BMO branch (or the difference between the two venues in terms of usage, but I would be interested to find out). I also don't know the exact dimensions of any of these buildings or the commons/senate.

But I still think we could use an existing building, be it government owned or rented space in a CBD office tower instead of spending millions on a west block bubble.

I also still think that it's a shame that we close so many architectural gems to the public to have a bunch fancy meeting place for diplomats and politicians.

The government has done a fine job killing city streets thru expropriation, security measures and exclusive usage of some historic buildings
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Old Posted Jul 2, 2012, 8:32 PM
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But I still think we could use an existing building, be it government owned or rented space in a CBD office tower instead of spending millions on a west block bubble.
I agree. Or even, if a temporary chamber is required, building it into the renovations in Wellington Building, which is being rebuilt almost entirely from scratch.

Also heard ugly rumours that the glass dome on West Block is going to be made permanent.
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  #17  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2012, 9:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Uhuniau View Post
I agree. Or even, if a temporary chamber is required, building it into the renovations in Wellington Building, which is being rebuilt almost entirely from scratch.

Also heard ugly rumours that the glass dome on West Block is going to be made permanent.
Definitely enough room in the Wellington building.

As for the dome and west block's temporary chambers, they are to be converted to committee rooms once the centre block is reopened (according to a Citizen article a few years back).
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  #18  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2012, 3:28 AM
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July 1, 2012. Happy Canada Day!



from southfacing
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  #19  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2012, 3:37 AM
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Let's hope that for the 2017 celebrations, Parliament Hill and Wellington Street are free of any scaffolding.

And thank you for the picture, now I can respond to Uhuniau comment "Wellington Building, which is being rebuilt almost entirely from scratch". Holy Christ!!! The building is hollow! I didn’t realize it was to that extent. Was it really necessary!?

Now I understand why they boarded up the window openings and the crane.
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  #20  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2012, 9:48 AM
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Originally Posted by J.OT13 View Post
Let's hope that for the 2017 celebrations, Parliament Hill and Wellington Street are free of any scaffolding.

And thank you for the picture, now I can respond to Uhuniau comment "Wellington Building, which is being rebuilt almost entirely from scratch". Holy Christ!!! The building is hollow! I didn’t realize it was to that extent. Was it really necessary!?

Now I understand why they boarded up the window openings and the crane.
What Wellington buildings are you talking about?
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