Speech from the throne now a uniquely Ottawa traffic issue

There's a new parade in town this afternoon and you can thank Centre Block construction for that.

Ceremony now has to take Wellington Street between House, Senate

The Usher of the Black Rod Greg Peters makes his way to the House of Commons ahead of the speech from the throne on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday October 16, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Good morning commuters!

There was a dusting of snow overnight. Holy smokes, it sure is pretty.

Perhaps a little slippery, though.

Truthfully, the real spectacle happens this afternoon when the Governor General delivers the speech from the throne.

Normally, this happens with a short procession from the House of Commons down the hall to the Senate chambers.

Watch Greg Peters the Usher of the Black Rod summon MPs to the Senate to hear the Throne Speech

7 years ago
Duration 4:41
Watch Greg Peters the Usher of the Black Rod summon MPs to the Senate to hear the Throne Speech

But as we know, the Senate is now about two blocks east of Parliament Hill in the old central train station.

So around 3 p.m. expect road closures on Wellington Street as a vehicle carries the Usher of the Black Rod, who's officially the Queen's messenger in Parliament, to knock on the Commons' door.

Dressed in a black tailcoat and bicorne hat, he raps three times with the gold-tipped ebony cane and summons the MPs to the Senate to listen to the speech.

A caravan of mini buses will carry the the MPs roughly 600 metres down the street to the Senate, causing more road closures.

All of it at the start of the afternoon peak period.

That's bound to cause some tie-ups.

Have a great day!


Doug Hempstead

CBC Ottawa's traffic specialist

Doug Hempstead is CBC Ottawa's traffic specialist and can be heard on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning and All In A Day. Sometimes, he even sleeps. Originally from the Ottawa Valley, he is a musician and family man - married with two daughters. Doug is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years experience in the region covering all types of news. He welcomes your input on traffic issues and can be called directly while the shows are airing at 613-288-6900. Tweet him at @cbcotttraffic or @DougHempstead. His e-mail is


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