Ottawa

Visitors line up for Centre Block's farewell tour

People lined up in the snow early Friday morning for a final chance to visit Centre Block before it closes for a decade for renovations.

Friday's your last chance to visit before Parliament Hill landmark closes for 10-year renovation

People lined up across the street from the Peace Tower Friday morning to secure tickets for one last chance to tour Centre Block before it closes for renovations. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

People lined up in the snow early Friday morning for a final chance to visit Centre Block before it closes for a decade for renovations. 

Pierre-Olivier Phan-Lachapelle took the day off work and travelled from Montreal to take his first-ever tour of the Parliament Buildings. 

Pierre-Olivier Phan-Lachapelle took the day off work and travelled from Montreal to take his first-ever tour of Centre Block. (Radio-Canada)

"I wouldn't have the opportunity for 10 years. It made me really want to come," he said. "I'm a proud Canadian."

Darlene Svendsen also took the day off work to tour the soon-to-be-shuttered landmark. At almost 60, Svendsen said she's not sure when she'll get another chance.

"Who knows where I might be or what condition I might be in to walk around in there? So I thought, I'm not going to miss the opportunity if I can help it," Svendsen said.

Mario Desrochers was among the first in line at the ticket office across Wellington Street, arriving with his wife 45 minutes early.

"It will be closed for a long time, and I hope I will see the improved building in 10 years, so I would like to compare," Desrochers said.  

Hayden Liao and her boyfriend, Sincere Wang, happened to be visiting Parliament Hill Friday morning when they heard it was the last day to visit Centre Block, and rushed to join the line for tour tickets. 

Hayden Liao, left, and Sincere Wang happened to be visiting Parliament Hill when they found out it was the last day for tours and joined the ticket line. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

"We're very lucky," Liao said. "We want to have a look."

Brigette Gomes lined up for tickets with her baby daughter tow. 

Brigette Gomes said she's lived in Ottawa for 13 years, but had never toured Centre Block. (Radio-Canada)

"We haven't been yet and I've lived in Ottawa for about 13 years, so I figured now's the best time because it won't be there for another 10 [years]," Gomes said. "I figured, we can't start them too young on learning about their civics."

"We just wanted to see it with her before it's gone," said 15-year-old Ruby Kofoed, there with her sister Faye, 13. Their mother used to work in the building as a Parliamentary intern.

Sisters Ruby, left, and Faye Kofoed wanted to see where their mom once worked as a Parliamentary intern. (Radio-Canada)

The House of Commons will be back in session on Jan. 28 in the newly restored West Block.

Guided tours of that temporary location, and of the Senate of Canada Building just down the street, start in February.

About the Author

Krystalle Ramlakhan is a multi-platform journalist with CBC Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I., Winnipeg and Iqaluit.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.