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West Block Rehabilitation - Parliament Buildings

Beaubois gets a major contract as part of the Canadian Parliament renovation project

Beaubois, one of North America's leaders in architectural woodwork, has won the largest woddworking contract ever awarded in Canada as part of the rehabilitation work of the Canadian Parliament's West Block Building in Ottawa, a mandate valued at $17 million.

This project, one of the most complex ever undertaken in the Parliamentary Precinct, requires advanced expertise in high-end architectural woodwork, which Beaubois has developed and mastered, along with the large production capacity it has built up. With its strong team of 280 employees, Beaubois is set to craft and install products for the temporary offices of Parliamentarians, meeting rooms, the Visitor Welcome Centre and the House of Commons.

Opened in 1866 and designated a Classified federal heritage building in 1987, the West Block was completely emptied to prepare for the rehabilitation that would ensure it continues to meet the needs of Parliament over the coming decades.

Working in a 150-year-old building has its share of challenges and requires great flexibility. The many variations in the dimensions of the building require ongoing attention, making the work even more complex.

The acoustics are particularly important: no sound must leak from the offices and meeting rooms. Beaubois will produce several types of acoustic panels designed to meet the different levels of soundproofing. Acoustically rated doors and frames will first be tested in a lab, then again on location once they are installed. Wall panelling, wainscoting, window ledges, doors and frames, cabinets, heating unit covers and moulding are among the many architectural woodwork elements that Beaubois will be responsible for.

The building's many arches and walls of stone and brick will be trimmed in oak. No exotic woods will be used, only wood that grows in Canada - maple, oak and cherrywood. The original Gothic Revival characteristics and finishing details of the building will be preserved, with adjustments to meet current standards.

This large project is a perfect fit for Beaubois, a company that combines talent and exceptional experience to guarantee the best results.

Some history

In 1857, the city of Ottawa became the capital of the United Province of Canada. In May 1859, the department of public works invited interested architects to submit proposals for the new parliamentary buildings. The department received 298 drawings, and just three months later, on August 29, 1859, the selected project was unveiled.

That same year, construction started on the Parliament Buildings: one building for the legislative body to the north (Centre Block) and two administrative buildings to the east and west of Barrack Hill, which would be called Parliament Hill from then on.
Built of Nepean sandstone with a mansard copper roof and iron cresting, West Block opened in 1866. It housed federal public service staff, but with time, Parliamentarians needed more space. West Block was enlarged in 1873 with a wing and the imposing Mackenzie Tower, named after the man who launched the expansion, Canada's prime minister, Alexander Mackenzie.

In 1906, Laurier Tower and the link were built. These additions were also named after a prime minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Close to 60 years later, in 1965, the West Block was thoroughly renovated.

Although less well known than Centre Block, the West Block's picturesque shape graced a previous version of Canada's five-dollar bill.


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Date d'impression : Friday 17 August 2018
Phone : 418 228-5104
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