Construction begins to add Nunavut to Centennial Flame

Nunavut joined the Canadian federation nearly two decades ago, but it's only now taking its place among the other territories and provinces surrounding the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill.

Territory's shield, official flower to be added to Parliament Hill attraction

People take shelter from the rain on Parliament Hill as the Centennial Flame burns on July 1, 2017. The popular monument is being rebuilt to include Nunavut's symbols. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Nunavut joined the Canadian federation nearly two decades ago, but it's only now taking its place among the other territories and provinces surrounding the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill.

It's no small job: the 12-sided stone fountain at the foot of the walkway leading to the Peace Tower will have to be dismantled and reconstructed to add a 13th side and a new brass shield bearing Nunavut's coat of arms. Nunavut's official flower, the purple saxifrage, and 1999, the year it became a territory, will be engraved on the basin.

The monument, a popular backdrop for tourist photos, was fenced off Tuesday in preparation for the project. The flame at its centre has been extinguished.

The Centennial Flame was first lit for Canada's centennial celebrations in 1967, 32 years before Nunavut became the third territory.

CBC News learned this spring of the plan to adapt the monument to add Nunavut.

The Department of Canadian Heritage confirmed Wednesday the monument will be under construction throughout most of the fall, with completion expected in December.

The Centennial Flame was fenced off and partially dismantled Tuesday. (Andrew Foote/CBC)
By Wednesday, the fencing had expanded and large purple construction hoarding had been set up around the flame. (CBC)