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The Glory of Ottawa: Canada’s First Parliament Buildings

In The Glory of Ottawa Carolyn Young takes the reader on an architectural tour of Canada’s first parliament buildings. In the early 1860s these remarkable buildings – particularly the monumental Centre Block, which was destroyed by fire in 1916, and the magnificent polygonal library – became a tangible symbol of Canada’s emerging nationhood and one of the most progressive and eclectic examples of the British secular Gothic Revival style. rnrnThe competition to design and construct the government buildings in Ottawa, the new national capital, was one of the most important architectural events in nineteenth-century British North America and the finished buildings inspired a major movement in Canadian federal architecture. The Glory of Ottawa focuses on the 1859 design competition for the parliamentary complex, from which these unrivalled buildings emerged. rnrnYoung includes an investigation of the architectural climate in which the parliament buildings were conceived, providing insight into the practice of architecture in pre-Confederation Canada. The aftermath of the contest is also explored, including changes to the plans, the problem of costs, the critical reception of the buildings, and their place in the aesthetics of the time.

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