The N.W.T. government celebrated the 20th birthday of its legislative assembly building Friday with a mortgage-burning ceremony.

The legislative chamber and the caucus room were open to the public for the event from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., which included the unveiling of portraits of former premiers and Speakers.

Yellowknife architect Gino Pin, who was part of the team that designed the building, says they got a lot of input from members at the time on what the building should be like.

Royal Tour Canada Yellowknife 20110705 TOPIX

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge take part in a meeting in the legislative assembly chamber in Yellowknife in 2011. (The Canadian Press)


Pin says the site near downtown Yellowknife was a chance to integrate a government building with nature.

"It's been a joy in the design process and also watching it grow, and slightly change and morph and see what effects it has on members, in terms of decision making," says Pin.

He says the Great Hall, the gathering space between the entrance and the chamber, was very important to the design team and they fought to keep it. At the time, it wasn't seen as a functional part of the legislature. Now, he says the hall really belongs to the people. It is often used for events, presentations and even weddings.