North Perimeter Wall Rehabilitation on Parliament Hill (Phase 3)
Parliament Hill is an area of Crown Land located on the northern boundary of the nation’s capital along the Ottawa River. The complex of buildings in the style of the Gothic Revival movement is home to the Parliament of Canada and has architectural elements of national symbolic importance, attracting approximately 3 million visitors each year. Originally known as Barracks Hill, this strategic military site was subsequently developed by Lieutenant-Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers in 1826 as a staging area for the construction of the Rideau Canal; designed specifically for steam powered vessels, providing a 202 km navigable waterway connecting the Ottawa River to Lake Ontario.
The North Perimeter Wall, defining the northern edge of the hilltop site, is a historical landscape feature that acts as a separation between the public grounds and the wild landscape of the escarpment. This wall was the last type of barrier constructed along the perimeter at the edge of the escarpment (former constructions included: wooden fence, shrub hedge, metal fence). Construction of the North Perimeter Wall was likely part of the Scott and Vaux landscape plan for Parliament Hill, however, the wall was constructed during Thomas Fuller’s term as Chief Architect between 1886 and 1916.
The main objectives for Phase 3 of the North Perimeter Wall Rehabilitation were to provide a design solution to resolve root causes of existing deficiencies, address health and safety concerns, and ensure the long term sustainability of a significant segment of the wall, while respecting the heritage character of the structure through an approach consistent with the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. The project scope included complete landscape replanning and rehabilitation of the stone wall and iron guardrail, reusing as much of the original material as possible. A cohesive design was developed, balancing solutions for raising the height of the wall, managing drainage, and providing universal accessibility, while being respectful of the heritage character of the wall and greater site.