The project is the biggest and most complex in Canada and perhaps the world. It is expected to be complete by 2030 or 2031, with a budget of nearly $5 billion.
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It would be hard to miss the massive construction project underway at Centre Block on Parliament Hill, what with the cranes, the coverings, the scaffolds and the huge excavation pit that will eventually be home to a new visitor welcome centre.
In fact, the project is the biggest and most complex in Canada and perhaps the world. It is expected to be complete by 2030 or 2031, with a budget of nearly $5 billion. Built nearly a century ago after the original Parliament Building was destroyed by fire, Centre Block houses Canada’s Senate, House of Commons and Library of Parliament. It also includes the Memorial Chamber that commemorates Canadian citizens who gave their lives in military service. As defined in the “Long-Term Vision and Plan for Ottawa’s Parliamentary Precinct,” the Centre Block rehabilitation project emerged from two decades of planning. The vision is to modernize the physical setting, security and support infrastructure while honouring Centre Block’s heritage as the epicentre of Canadian democracy. The design entails reorganizing and renovating the entire 1922 Beaux Arts Parliament Building, its iconic 302-foot Peace Tower and adjacent grounds. This includes the construction of a new underground visitors welcome centre and several ancillary projects. While it’s hard to miss the beehive of activity, what has gone largely unnoticed is the unusually high number of women leading the project, from both the public and private sectors, in what some might consider non-traditional roles. OBJ spoke to four of the women to get their perspective on the work.