OTTAWA — The ceremonial keys to Parliament’s West Block have been turned over to the speaker of the House of Commons as the seat of government prepares to move to the 19th-century building in the new year.
Speaker Geoff Regan accepted the building on behalf of members of Parliament, who are set to move into the rehabilitated space after they break for the Christmas holidays.
The West Block renovation took seven years, with a price tag approaching $1 billion. The House of Commons is moving in to accommodate renovations in Parliament’s Centre Block that are expected to last at least a decade.
Public Services Minister Carla Qualtrough, who turned over a large, carved bronze key to Regan as a symbolic gesture, says the renovations bring together old and new, capturing the history of the stately West Block while incorporating new technologies, including a glass ceiling over a temporary House of Commons that is designed to capture heat in the winter and expel it in the summer.
The building was constructed between 1859 and 1906.
The restored West Block is double its original size and will house offices and meeting rooms for members of Parliament, along with the interim Commons.