Library of Parliament

Last updated
Library of Parliament
Library of Parliament (Canada) (emblem).png
Ottawa - ON - Library of Parliament.jpg
Library of Parliament, Ottawa
TypeInformation repository and research resource for the Parliament of Canada
Established1876
Coordinates 45°25′32″N75°42′01″W / 45.425466°N 75.700296°W / 45.425466; -75.700296 Coordinates: 45°25′32″N75°42′01″W / 45.425466°N 75.700296°W / 45.425466; -75.700296
Collection
Size650,000 items
Criteria for collectionParliamentary business, research publications
Other information
DirectorDr. Heather Lank
Staff300
Website Official website

The Library of Parliament (French : Bibliothèque du Parlement) is the main information repository and research resource for the Parliament of Canada. The main branch of the library sits at the rear of the Centre Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, and is the last untouched part of that larger building's original incarnation after it burned down in 1916. The library has been augmented and renovated a number of times since its construction in 1876, the last between 2002 and 2006, though the form and decor remain essentially authentic. The building today serves as a Canadian icon, and appears on the obverse of the Canadian ten-dollar bill.

Contents

The library is overseen by the Parliamentary Librarian of Canada and an associate or assistant librarian. The Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate is considered to be an officer of the library.

Main branch characteristics

The main reading room of the Library of Parliament Canadian Parlimentary Library Interior.jpg
The main reading room of the Library of Parliament

Designed by Thomas Fuller and Chilion Jones, and inspired by the British Museum Reading Room, [1] the building is formed as a chapter house, [2] separated from the main body of the Centre Block by a corridor; this arrangement, as well as many other details of the design, was reached with the input of the then parliamentary librarian, Alpheus Todd. [3] The walls, supported by a ring of 16 flying buttresses, are load bearing, double-wythe masonry, consisting of a hydraulic lime rubble fill core between an interior layer of dressed stone and rustic Nepean sandstone on the exterior. [4] Around the windows and along other edges is dressed stone trim, along with a multitude of stone carvings, including floral patterns and friezes, keeping with the Victorian High Gothic style of the rest of the parliamentary complex. The roof, set in three tiers topped by a cupola, used to be a timber frame structure covered with slate tiles, but has been rebuilt with steel framing and deck covered with copper. [5] The initial overall combination of colours—grey Gloucester limestone and grey Nepean, red Potsdam and buff Ohio sandstones, as well as purple and green slate banding—conformed to the picturesque style known as structural polychromy. [6]

The main reading room rises to a vaulted ceiling and the walls and stacks are lined with white pine panelling carved into a variety of textures, flowers, masks, and mythical creatures. In the galleries are displayed the coats of arms of the seven provinces that existed in 1876, as well as that of the Dominion of Canada, and standing directly in the centre of the room is a white marble statue of Queen Victoria, sculpted by Marchall Wood in 1871. [5] The northern galleries are also flanked with the white marble busts of Sir John Sandfield Macdonald; Prince Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII); Alexandra, Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra); and Sir Étienne-Paschal Taché. [7]

The library's collection comprises 650,000 items, covering hundreds of years of history and tended by a staff of 300. [2] Access to the facility is generally restricted to those on parliamentary business, but research publications are produced by the library and are available to the public. The main branch on Parliament Hill is only the central hub of a larger complex that spreads to other parliamentary buildings, where services are offered in a number of branch libraries and reading rooms. [5]

History

The Library of Parliament's roots lie in the 1790s, when the legislative libraries of Upper and Lower Canada were created; these operated separately until the creation of the Province of Canada in 1841 and the collections were amalgamated and followed the provincial capital as it moved between Kingston, Montreal, Toronto, and Quebec City. The library was to be established in Ottawa after, in 1867, Queen Victoria chose Bytown as the new seat for her crown in the Dominion of Canada, and the Library of Parliament Act formed the institution in 1871. [8]

Though construction of the present library began in 1859 and the collection arrived in Ottawa in 1866, work was halted in 1861 and was not completed until 1876, when the 47,000 volumes—including several donated by Queen Victoria—were installed. Around 1869, the builders discovered that they didn't have the technical knowledge to build the domed roof, meaning that Thomas Fairbairn Engineering Co. Ltd. of Manchester had to be contracted to provide a pre-fabricated dome within a few weeks; this gave the Library of Parliament the distinction of being the first building in North America to have a state-of-the-art wrought iron roof. Further, in 1883, the library's 300 gas lights were converted to electricity. [6] However, such additional costs brought the library's price to $301,812, a sum added on top of the total cost for all the parliament buildings, which had already gone far above the original allotted budget. [9] Within only 12 years, the entire roof was stripped of its slate shingles in a tornado that hit Parliament Hill in 1888, since then the roof has been clad in copper. [6]

The library's contents grew over the next five decades and were saved from the 1916 fire that destroyed the majority of the Centre Block; the building was only connected to the main complex by a single corridor and the library clerk at the time, Michael MacCormac, secured the library's iron doors before the fire could spread into that area. [2] Fire eventually broke out in 1952, in the library's cupola, and caused extensive damage through smoke and water. It was then necessary to perform structural work, as well as to install a replica of the inlaid parquet floor and dismantle the wood panelling and ship it to Montreal for cleaning and partial fireproofing. [8] The Centre, East, and West Blocks subsequently received extensive climate control and electrical upgrades, but the library was largely overlooked.

The deficiencies, plus conservation, rehabilitation, and upgrading, were addressed when a major, $52 million renovation was researched in 1996 and undertaken between 2002 and 2006. [10] Public Works and Government Services Canada contracted the Thomas Fuller Construction Company (operated by the building designer's great-grandsons) to manage a project that fixed leaks in the roof and crumbling mortar in the walls on the exterior, [11] [12] as well as extensive repairs to the wood and plaster work and the installation of climate control systems on the interior. [13] Also done at the time was a nine metre deep excavation of the bedrock beneath the library building, in order to provide more storage space, mechanical areas, and a link to an existing loading dock. [14] The project used precision survey, laser measurement, photogrammetry, and the then fledgling technology of Computer Aided Three Dimensional Interactive Application. [6] After four years of work, the library was opened to the public, with tours of the library resuming on 5 June 2006, [15] though Thomas Fuller Construction filed a $21 million lawsuit against the Crown for cost overruns. [14]

Parliamentary librarians

Partnerships and collaboration

The Library of Parliament is a member of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries.

See also

Related Research Articles

Governor General of Canada representative of the monarch of Canada

The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. The person of the sovereign is shared equally both with the 15 other Commonwealth realms and the 10 provinces of Canada, but resides predominantly in her oldest and most populous realm, the United Kingdom. The Queen, on the advice of her Canadian prime minister, appoints a governor general to carry out most of her constitutional and ceremonial duties. The commission is for an unfixed period of time—known as serving at Her Majesty's pleasure—though five years is the normal convention. Beginning in 1959, it has also been traditional to rotate between anglophone and francophone officeholders—although many recent governors general have been bilingual. Once in office, the governor general maintains direct contact with the Queen, wherever she may be at the time.

Parliament of Canada the federal legislative branch of Canada

The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislature of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the national capital. The body consists of the Canadian monarch, represented by a viceroy, the Governor General; an upper house, the Senate; and a lower house, the House of Commons. Each element has its own officers and organization. By constitutional convention, the House of Commons is dominant, with the Senate and monarch rarely opposing its will. The Senate reviews legislation from a less partisan standpoint and the monarch or viceroy provides royal assent to make bills into law.

Parliament Hill Site of the Canadian Parliament buildings, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Parliament Hill, colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Its Gothic revival suite of buildings is the home of the Parliament of Canada and has architectural elements of national symbolic importance. Parliament Hill attracts approximately 3 million visitors each year. Law enforcement on Parliament Hill and in the parliamentary precinct is the responsibility of the Parliamentary Protective Service (PPS).

The Government of Canada, officially Her Majesty's Government, is the corporation responsible for the federal administration of Canada. In Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council. In both senses, the current construct was established at Confederation through the Constitution Act, 1867—as a federal constitutional monarchy, wherein the Canadian Crown acts as the core, or "the most basic building block", of its Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. The Crown is thus the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Canadian government. Further elements of governance are outlined in the rest of the Canadian Constitution, which includes written statutes, court rulings, and unwritten conventions developed over centuries.

Library and Archives Canada National library and archive of Canada

Library and Archives Canada is a federal institution tasked with acquiring, preserving and making Canada's documentary heritage accessible. It is the fourth biggest library in the world. LAC reports to Parliament through Pablo Rodríguez, the Minister of Canadian Heritage since August 28, 2018.

Oath of Allegiance (Canada) a promise or declaration of fealty to the Canadian monarch

The Canadian Oath of Allegiance is a promise or declaration of fealty to the Canadian monarch, as personification of the Canadian state, taken, along with other specific oaths of office, by new occupants of various federal and provincial government offices, members of federal, provincial, and municipal police forces, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, and, in some provinces, all lawyers upon admission to the bar. The Oath of Allegiance also makes up the first portion of the Oath of Citizenship, the taking of which is a requirement of obtaining Canadian nationality.

The Peace Tower, also known as the Tower of Victory and Peace, is a focal bell and clock tower sitting on the central axis of the Centre Block of the Canadian parliament buildings in Ottawa, Ontario. The present incarnation replaced the 55-metre (180 ft) Victoria Tower after the latter burned down in 1916, along with most of the Centre Block; only the Library of Parliament survived. It serves as a Canadian icon and had been featured prominently on the Canadian twenty-dollar bill directly adjacent the queen's visage, until the change to polymer.

National War Memorial (Canada) Canadian war memorial

The National War Memorial, titled The Response is a tall, granite memorial arch with accreted bronze sculptures in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, designed by Vernon March and first dedicated by King George VI in 1939. Originally built to commemorate the Canadians who died in the First World War, it was in 1982 rededicated to also include those killed in the Second World War and Korean War and again in 2014 to add the dead from the Second Boer War and War in Afghanistan, as well as all Canadians killed in all conflicts past and future. It now serves as the pre-eminent war memorial of 76 cenotaphs in Canada. In 2000, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added in front of the memorial and symbolizes the sacrifices made by all Canadians who have died or may yet die for their country.

Centre Block Main building of Canadas parliament

The Centre Block is the main building of the Canadian parliamentary complex on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario, containing the original House of Commons and Senate chambers, as well as the offices of a number of members of parliament, senators, and senior administration for both legislative houses. It is also the location of several ceremonial spaces, such as the Hall of Honour, the Memorial Chamber, and Confederation Hall.

Ontario Legislative Building

The Ontario Legislative Building is a structure in central Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It houses the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and the viceregal suite of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and offices for members of the provincial parliament (MPPs). The building is surrounded by Queen's Park, sitting on that part south of Wellesley Street, which is the former site of King's College, and which is leased from the university by the provincial Crown for a "peppercorn" payment of CAD$1 per annum on a 999-year term.

East Block

The East Block is one of the three buildings on Canada's Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario, containing offices for parliamentarians, as well as some preserved pre-Confederation spaces.

The Legislative Council of the Province of Canada was the upper house for the Province of Canada, which consisted of the former provinces of Lower Canada, then known as Canada East and later the province of Quebec, and Upper Canada, then known as Canada West and later the province of Ontario. It was created by The Union Act of 1840.

Canadian royal symbols are the visual and auditory identifiers of the Canadian monarchy, including the viceroys, in the country's federal and provincial jurisdictions. These may specifically distinguish organizations that derive their authority from the Crown, establishments with royal associations, or merely be ways of expressing loyal or patriotic sentiment.

Monarchy in Saskatchewan

By the arrangements of the Canadian federation, the Canadian monarchy operates in Saskatchewan as the core of the province's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy; As such, the Crown within Saskatchewan's jurisdiction is referred to as the Crown in Right of Saskatchewan, her Majesty in Right of Saskatchewan, or The Queen in Right of Saskatchewan. The Constitution Act, 1867, however, leaves many royal duties in Saskatchewan specifically assigned to the sovereign's viceroy, the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, whose direct participation in governance is limited by the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy.

West Block

The West Block is one of the three buildings on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario. Since 28 January 2019, it has housed the interim House of Commons Chamber, installed to accommodate the House while the Centre Block is closed. The West Block also houses offices for parliamentarians, a branch of the Library of Parliament, committee rooms, and some preserved pre-Confederation spaces.

Queens Gates

The Queen's Gates is the formal entrance to Parliament Hill, the location of the Canadian parliament buildings, in Ottawa, Ontario. Built in 1872 and set into the fence, known as the Wellington Wall, between piers designed in the Victorian High Gothic style that was fashionable in Canada at the time, the gates sit on the central axis of the hill's landscaping, in line with the Centennial Flame and Peace Tower beyond, and open onto Wellington Street.

Phil R. White is a Canadian artist and sculptor. He is the Dominion Sculptor of Canada, a position whose duties include the creation of original works of art in sculpture. It is likely the only such government-salaried permanent position in the world. Primarily, his works are figurative art. He is an architectural sculptor and carver and creates works in stone, wood, and bronze.

Thomas Stent was an architect in New York City. He assisted Alexander Saeltzer on the Astor Public Library and was the architect for the 1879–1881 expansion.

The Parliament Hill Rehabilitation is a series of ongoing rehabilitation and preservation projects at the complex on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario. The $3-billion project aims to preserve and rehabilitate the Parliament of Canada and various buildings within the Parliamentary Precinct.

Canadian Parliament Buildings

The Canadian Parliament Buildings are the parliament buildings housing the Parliament of Canada, located on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

References

  1. Public Works and Government Services Canada. "A Treasure to Explore > Parliament Hill > History of the Hill > Library of Parliament > Exterior". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2010-02-06. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
  2. 1 2 3 Public Works and Government Services Canada. "A Treasure to Explore > Parliament Hill > History of the Hill > Library of Parliament > Interior". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
  3. Public Works and Government Services Canada. "A Treasure to Explore > Parliament Hill > The History of Parliament Hill > Construction, 1859-1916 > The Library". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  4. Library of Parliament. "Parliament Hill > Modernization of the Buildings > Library of Parliament > Exterior Work > Masonry". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  5. 1 2 3 Library of Parliament. "Parliament of Canada > Library of Parliament". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Chodikoff, Ian (September 2006). "Parliamentary Briefing". Canadian Architect. Toronto: Business Information Group (September 2006). Retrieved 2009-01-02.
  7. Baker, Wendy. "Restoration of a Marble Sculpture from the Library of Parliament". CCI Newsletter, No. 35, June 2005. Canadian Conservation Institute. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  8. 1 2 Landry, Pierrette (1 August 2001). "The Library of Parliament Today" (PDF). Office of the Parliamentary Librarian. Retrieved 2008-12-29.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. City of Ottawa. "Residents > Heritage > Archives > A Virtual Exhibit: Ottawa Becomes the Capital > Building the Physical Reality". City of Ottawa. Archived from the original on 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
  10. Williams, Patricia (30 June 2006). "Canada's heritage top of mind in library restoration". Daily Commercial News. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011.
  11. "37th Parliament, 1st Session". Hansard. Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada (138). 4 February 2002. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  12. Public Works and Government Services Canada. "Parliament Hill > Modernization of the Buildings > Library of Parliament > Exterior Work". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2010-02-14. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  13. Public Works and Government Services Canada. "Parliament Hill > Modernization of the Buildings > Library of Parliament > Interior Work". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  14. 1 2 Payton, Laura (3 November 2008). "Ottawa's Library of Parliament at centre of $21M lawsuit". National Post.[ dead link ]
  15. Public Works and Government Services Canada. "Parliament Hill > Modernization of the Buildings > Library of Parliament". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  16. Parliament of Canada. "Officers and Officials of Parliament". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  17. Office of the Prime Minister of Canada. "PM nominates next Parliamentary Librarian". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 4 April 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2012.