National Arts Centre opens its doors for 2nd time

On Canada Day afternoon, Prince Charles will officially cut the ribbon to signal the opening of the new glass atrium at the National Arts Centre. We look back on how it compares with the centre's opening in 1969.

48 years after original grand opening, newly renovated centre open for tours beginning Canada Day afternoon

In 1969, people in Ottawa, including then prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, celebrated the grand opening of the NAC. Here's a segment of Opening Night at the Arts Centre with host Bruno Gerussi. 1:03

On Canada Day afternoon, Prince Charles will officially cut the ribbon to signal the opening of the new glass atrium at the National Arts Centre.

The first phase of the $110.5 million renovation open to the public includes the newly renovated Elgin Street entrance, the relocated box office and the main floor of the north atrium.

Starting at around 3 p.m., about an hour after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the public is invited to line up at the statue of Oscar Peterson to visit the new spaces and enjoy free activities. There will be NAC orchestra concerts at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and the NAC will also welcome a 300-voice youth choir from across Canada.

The pomp and fanfare, however, will likely pale in comparison to 1969, when the NAC first opened its doors.

The video above captures that event, while below you can see both how the Elgin Street entrance has changed, and how the NAC (and then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau) drew a crowd in 1969.