Peace Tower Carillon

The Parliament Building’s 53-bell carillon, located in the Peace Tower, was commissioned to commemorate the Armistice of 1918 and the sacrifice made by Canada in the First World War.

Between 1925 and 1927, the world-famous bell foundry of Gillett & Johnston in Croydon, England, cast and tuned the Peace Tower Carillon’s 53 bells. The carillon belfry in the Peace Tower is in two sections, located between the Memorial Chamber and the observation deck and clock. The keyboard room, where the player sits, is 45 metres above ground level, situated between the upper and lower sections of the belfry.

The Peace Tower Carillon was inaugurated on July 1, 1927, the 60th anniversary of Confederation. The inauguration ceremony was a major event that marked the first live carillon radio broadcast across Canada and internationally. It is estimated that several million people heard the inaugural concert.

Quick Facts

Inauguration date: July 1, 1927
Number of bells: 53
Musical range: 4 ½ octaves
Bourdon (largest bell):
weight: 10,090 kg
diameter: 2.5 mmeter
height: 2.1 mmeter
actual note: E
keyboard note: G
Smallest bell:
weight: 4.5 kg
diameter: 16.6 cm
height: 14.2 cm
actual note: A
Weight of carillon clapper in the bourdon: 229 kg
Weight of the clock hammer on the bourdon: 254 kg
Total weight of all 53 bells: 55 tton
Weight of steel bell frame: 12 tton
Interior height of the belfry: 14.6 mmeter

The Percival Price Symposium

The Percival Price Symposium was an annual conference that took place from 2009-2018, to acknowledge the legacy of the first Dominion Carillonneur, Percival Price, through performance, teaching, and understanding of the history of the Peace Tower Carillon and carillon art in North America. The event was held in October to correspond with the month of Price’s birth and death (October 7, 1901, and October 1, 1985, respectively). The themes of the Symposium placed the history of the Peace Tower Carillon within the context of the North American carillon culture.

2018

Wylie Crawford, past president of the World Carillon Federation, carillonneur at the Chicago Botanic Garden, senior university carillonneur at the University of Chicago, past carillonneur of the Millennium Carillon in Naperville, IL, and past performer on the mobile carillon in the Cast in Bronze production.

Topic
Renaissance Carillon: looking forward to the Peace Tower Carillon’s future.

2017

Roy Lee, carillonneur at the Metropolitan United Church in Toronto and regular carillon performer at Soldiers’ Tower, University of Toronto.

Topic
Canadian Carillon

2016

Patrick Macoska, director of music and carillonneur at St. Mary's of Redford Catholic Church in Detroit, Michigan, and Chairperson of the Tower Construction and Renovation Committee for the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America.

Topic
The Singing Tower

2015

Richard P. Strauss, past carillonneur of the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., and City Hall, Albany, NY, and leading carillon technician and designer.

Topic
Grand Carillon

2014

Robin Austin, carillonneur, Springfield, Illinois and past University Carillonneur, Princeton University.

Topic
The Carillon as a Civic Voice

2013

Carlo van Ulft, carillonneur, Centralia, Illinois, past professor of the Royal Carillon School, Mechelen, Belgium, and founder and director of the North American Carillon School.

Topic
The Evolution of North American Carillon Music: Old World to New

2012

George Gregory, carillonneur of Central Christian Church, San Antonio, TX, music professor, honoured GCNA musician, and past student and close friend of Ronald Barnes.

Topic
The Music of Ronald Barnes

2011

Gordon Slater, Dominion Carillonneur, 1977–2008.

Topic
Robert Donnell, Dominion Carillonneur, 1939–1975, and his own tenure

2010

Milford Myhre, past president of the GCNA and World Carillon Federation (WCF), carillonneur emeritus of the Bok Tower.

Topic
Émilien Allard, Dominion Carillonneur, 1975–1976

2009

William De Turk, last student of Percival Price, past President of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA), GCNA Archivist, former carillonneur of the Bok Tower, Florida.

Topic
Percival Price, Dominion Carillonneur, 1927–1939