Former Bank of Montreal becomes $99.5 million ceremonial parliamentary ceremonial site
Ottawa Construction News staff writer
The former Bank of Montreal building at Wellington and O’Connor streets has been converted to serve Parliament for ceremonial functions as the Sir John A. Macdonald Building.
The 3.5-year heritage building renovation and construction of an adjacent annex cost $99.5 million, or about $1,680 per sq. ft. Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) officials said at the June 16 grand opening ceremony that the work has been completed on time and budget.
“EllisDon was proud to complete the project as per PWGSC plans and schedule,” said Michael Lelacheur, the contractor’s Ottawa operations manager.
At the opening, Ezio DiMillo, PWGSC’s director general of long-term planning for the parliamentary precinct, described the new structure as comparable to a small conference centre, with support functions such as loading docks, cloakrooms, washrooms and food-service facilities.
The old bank interior has a 60-foot-high ornate and vaulted ceiling, bas-relief coats of arms for the provinces and territories, original art deco lights (the building originally opened in 1932), and intricate tile floors.
Architect David Clusiau said the building’s original architect, Montreal’s Ernest Barott, received a Royal Architectural Institute of Canada award for its design. He said the recent work sought to restore it as much as possible to its original state, while updating seismics, acoustics and accommodating other technical requirements.
“At the time, the building was an investigation into a new style, a modernist classical facade treatment,” the Ottawa Citizen quoted Clusiau as saying. “the grand space has incredible decorative and noble materials, beautiful terrazzo; all these components working together . . . in an incredibly coherent vision,” he said.