Centre Block of Parliament, Ottawa, Ontario
Canada had not celebrated its first half-century when tragedy struck. On February 3, 1916, near 9 p.m., a small fire started in the Commons Reading Room in the Centre Block. It soon grew to a raging blaze that claimed seven lives and reduced all but the northwest wing and the Library to a charred shell. Had an employee not closed the Library’s iron doors in time, thousands of irreplaceable books would also have been lost.
Canada began rebuilding the Centre Block while still fighting in the First World War. The new structure, designed in the Modern Gothic Revival style by John Pearson and Jean Omer Marchand, was completed by 1922. The Peace Tower was finished later in 1927