Sir John A. Macdonald Building

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144 Wellington St., facade of the bank

The Sir John A. Macdonald Building is a former bank building in Ottawa now owned by the federal government of Canada. Located at 144 Wellington Street, at the corner of O'Connor Street, with a third frontage on Sparks Street, just in front of West Block of Parliament. Its façade indicates its former heritage as a Bank of Montreal branch location.

It is an example of Beaux-Arts architecture. Designed by E.I. Barott, it was built in 1930. It reflects the integration of several styles including classical elements that had long been used to design Canadian banks. The Doric columns or the classical structure are flattened. Rather than classical figures the exterior of the building is carved with scenes depicting Canadian industry and architecture. As the building is on a slope the Sparks Street entrance is a storey below the Wellington Street one. This below grade section is made of granite, while the upper level is of limestone.

The Government of Canada ordered the Bank of Montreal to vacate the building before May 2005. It currently remains empty since the government has not yet determined a new long-term use for the building. The Bank of Montreal was the last commercial building on this downtown street, just in front of the Parliament buildings. Now all buildings on Wellington Street between Elgin Street and the Ottawa River Parkway are Federal Government property.

As of 2010 plans are being prepared for renovations expected to begin in 2012 that will turn the building into "the new permanent home of West Block’s ceremonial room (known as Confederation Room 200), which is used for parliamentary business and reception functions".[1]

On 11 Jan 2012, the building was renamed the Sir John A. Macdonald Building.[2][3]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Former bank renamed after Sir John A. Macdonald", CBC News
  3. ^ "Sir John A. Macdonald Building a Fitting Name for Former BMO Main Branch in Ottawa", Marketwire

Coordinates: 45°25′20″N 75°41′59″W / 45.422225°N 75.699765°W / 45.422225; -75.699765