Embassy of Canada, Washington, D.C.

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Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C.
Arthur Erickson's combination of modernism and neoclassicism evokes I.M. Pei's design for the National Gallery of Art's East Building across Pennsylvania Avenue.
Coordinates 38°53′35″N 77°1′6″W / 38.89306°N 77.01833°W / 38.89306; -77.01833
Location Washington, D.C. 20001
Address 501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Ambassador Gary Doer

The Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C. (French: Ambassade du Canada à Washington) is Canada's main diplomatic mission to the United States. The embassy building is located at 501 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C. between the Capitol and the White House, just north of the National Gallery of Art.[1] The Embassy additionally handles consular services for the immediate surrounding states of: Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.


The embassy had long been based in a mansion on Embassy Row that had been purchased in 1927. The house had been built in 1909 for Clarence Moore, a financier who was killed in the sinking of the RMS Titanic. It was at this building that the Queen of Canada, Elizabeth II, hosted a return dinner for President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the end of her state visit to the United States in 1959. (The building now houses the Embassy of Uzbekistan).

Main entrance to the Embassy of Canada

Over time, the Canadian delegation outgrew this building and spread to other structures scattered throughout Washington. In the 1970s the Embassy of Canada began to search for a new home. At the same time the federally chartered Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation was looking to revitalize the avenue. In 1978, the Canadian Crown-in-Council purchased a vacant lot for $5 million; the site had previously been a Ford dealership and a public library. Canada is the first, and so far only nation, to build an embassy so close to the Capitol. The two nations share a close relationship due to their cultural similarities, geographic proximity, and the volume of trade across their borders.

The new building was designed by British Columbia architect Arthur Erickson. This decision generated some controversy as Erickson was handpicked by his friend, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, but the building itself was much acclaimed. Erickson biographer Nicholas Olsberg described the design as "making fun of the ridiculous terms to which buildings must adhere in Washington… He was mocking the US and all of its imperial pretensions".[2]

The new chancery was officially opened by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in May 1989. The building currently houses about 135 Canadian diplomats and 150 locally engaged staff.

The site is decorated with the large sculpture Spirit of Haida Gwaii by Bill Reid.[3] The 'Rotunda of the Provinces' on the embassy courtyard's southeast corner has a domed roof that is supported by 12 columns, one for each of the ten provinces and two territories in existence in 1989. If a person is standing in the center of the area under the dome, any noise they make is reflected and focused back. The magnified volume is only appreciated by the person in the centre. Persons at the perimeter do not experience the same effect.[citation needed]

The ambassador, currently former Manitoba Premier Gary Doer, lives in an official residence on Rock Creek Drive, just off Embassy Row in the northwest sector of the city. This large brick mansion and spacious grounds were purchased in 1948, and Lester B. Pearson was the first ambassador to reside there. The embassy also owns several other residences.


Protests were held there in July 2010 against the Keystone Pipeline.[4]

Consulates General[edit]

The ambassador is also ultimately responsible for the 12 regional consulates:[5]

  1. Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta, representing the states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee
  2. Consulate General of Canada in Boston, representing the far Northeastern (New England) states and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon of France
  3. Consulate General of Canada in Chicago, representing the states of Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Quad-Cities portion of Iowa
  4. Consulate General of Canada in Dallas, representing the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
  5. Consulate General of Canada in Denver, representing the states of Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, Utah
  6. Consulate General of Canada in Detroit, representing the states of Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio
  7. Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles, representing the states of California (southern area), Nevada, Arizona
  8. Consulate General of Canada in Miami, representing the U.S. state of Florida, and U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  9. Consulate General of Canada in Minneapolis, representing the states of Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa (except the Quad-Cities portion which is covered by the Chicago Consulate General)
  10. Consulate General of Canada in New York City, representing the states of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania
  11. Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco/Silicon Valley, representing the states of the Hawaiian islands, Nevada (except Clark County/Las Vegas), and California (northern)
  12. Consulate General of Canada in Seattle representing the states of Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon


  1. Canadian Consulate in Houston,
  2. Palo Alto,
  3. San Diego,


See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.embassy.org/embassies/ca.html
  2. ^ Schelling, Steven. "Arthur Erickson, 1924-2009." Xtra, Friday, May 22, 2009.
  3. ^ "Canadian Embassy". The Washington Post. 
  4. ^ Mark Guarino (June 4, 2011). "US: Canadian oil pipeline hazardous to the environment". The Christian Science Monitor. 
  5. ^ "Canadian Government offices in the U.S". Canadainternational.gc.ca. 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 

External links[edit]