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from Hand Book to the Parliamentary and Departmental Buildings, Canada, by Joseph Bureau (1867)
“Ottawa having been selected by Her Majesty as the Capital of Canada, the sum of £75,000 was voted by the Legislative Assembly, for the erection of a Parliament House, and a premium of $1000 offered for the best design not to exceed that amount. Messrs. Fuller and Jones were the successful architects, and although the design was considered by many as too costly, responsible contractors were found who tendered within the government vote.”
Parliament Hill Evolves
“Upon examination, however, of the spot selected for the erection, formerly known as the Barrack Hill, it was found from the inequality of the ground, that immense excavations were necessary, which made in solid rock added enormously to the original cost, and could not have been foreseen by builders nor architects. The government finding no provision for this work in the grant, and fearing it would cost a large portion of the original sum voted, stopped works, and for some considerable time there was no progress. A commission of inquiry was appointed, fresh contracts were signed, and the whole of the works placed under the superintendence of Mr. Fuller, under whose management the present highly creditable structures have been completed.
The corner stone was laid with great ceremony by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in September, 1860, on which occasion the rejoicings partook of the nature of the place, the lumber arches and men being a novelty to most of its visitors, bullocks and sheep were roasted whole upon the government ground and all comers were feasted.”
Decoration and Design
“The site of these buildings has been very happily selected in the most elevated part of the city; they consist of the Parliament and two Departmental Buildings, forming three sides of a large square facing the city, and from their position overlooking most of the houses. In the rear of the Parliament Building the rock descends almost perpendicularly to the river Ottawa; from here the view is truly magnificent, and cannot be surpassed on this continent nor in Europe. The broad river is in itself a beautiful object, but the vast extent of distant forest and hill completely absorbs every attention. From this point the Chaudière Falls are distinctly seen, and by some considered more romantic than those of Niagara; beyond can be traced the island-dotted rapids of the Upper Ottawa.
The group of buildings form a most picturesque object from every approach to the city, and can be seen at a great distance. The splendor of these Buildings, their fine commanding site, together with the beauty of the surrounding scenery, place them in a very enviable position -- compared with all other structures used for similar purposes on this continent, and some say, even in Europe -- and must ever make them objects of interest to the tourist and the stranger.”
Views of Parliament Hill