The masonry work on the Canada Parliament’s Centre Block has begun, with repairing or replacing over 140,000 of the building’s 400,000 stones. While this is being done, decorative tarps – known as a “trompe l’oeil” – featuring a realistic image of the Centre Block, will be installed.

Trompe l’oeil translates to “trick of the eye.”

According to Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), a key aspect of the Centre Block project is restoring the building’s heritage masonry. Over the years, Ottawa’s extreme weather conditions deteriorated the masonry. About 35 per cent of the building’s  stones must be removed for repair or replacement.

PSPC said the decorative tarps printed with a realistic image of the Centre Block will be installed to:

  • hide the visible impacts of construction activities
  • protect workers against the elements such as wind, rain, and snow
  • ensure visitors can continue to see the Centre Block

The image of the Peace Tower clock on the trompe l’oeil will be set to 11:45 a.m. This represents the start time of the ceremony in 1927 to inaugurate the Peace Tower.

The installation of the trompe l’oeil will begin in spring 2022, starting with the north façade. It will then be extended around the other façades of the building as the masonry work progresses.

Featured image: A computer drawing of the Centre Block with a decorative tarp covering scaffolding. The tarp is printed with an image of the building’s façade. An inset image at the top-right corner shows the face of the Peace Tower clock at 11:45. (PSPC)

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