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House of Commons Chamber

House of Commons Chamber

Located on the west side of the building, the House of Commons Chamber is the most spacious room of the Centre Block. The architects made provisions for 320 members, and the galleries were designed to accommodate 580 people. Careful planning also resulted in three new surrounding spaces which had not existed in the original Parliament Building: the antechamber, and the Government and Opposition lobbies located on the east and west sides of the Chamber, respectively.

The Chamber's grand design and high level of decoration - its rich and varied materials, fine art embellishments, exquisite craftsmanship, handsome furnishings - are in keeping with the prestige of a plenary meeting room for Canada's most important democratic institution. The architects envisioned an elegant and dignified assembly hall of Gothic Revival style.

Construction of the House of Commons Chamber

The Opening of Parliament on February 26, 1920 took place in the new House of Commons Chamber: an exceptional occurrence, undertaken only because the Senate Chamber had not yet been constructed. A local newspaper declared that the architectural beauty of the splendid room, enhanced by the presence of the social elite in a formal evening affair, made for quite an impressive scene. The high level of interest in this event came largely from the public's desire to see inside the new Parliament Building, even though it was incomplete.

The Chamber's decorative finishing touches were also far from being completed. Carpenters had just finished installing the woodwork the week before the Opening of Parliament. As a result, old furniture from the Victoria Memorial Museum - the temporary seat of Parliament from 1916 to 1919 - was used for the occasion. The room's complex decorative program unfolded during the 1920s, resuming again at the beginning of the 1970s with the installation of stained glass windows and sculpture series.

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