Five of Canada's most iconic architectural buildings

Ask the average person to name Canada's most famous building and the answer you'll most often get is the CN Tower. Built in 1975, the 1,815 ft spire enjoyed a 35-year reign as the world's tallest tower and still remains Toronto's most recognizable landmark. But it's worth remembering that from coast to coast, Canada is home to many other examples of world-class architectural design. The CN Tower aside, we thought it would be interesting to compile a list of some of our country's most iconic buildings.

1. Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill
Asif A. Ali on Flickr

From a limestone perch overlooking the Ottawa River, this majestic Gothic-inspired complex was developed in 1858 after Queen Victoria declared Ottawa our nation's capital. Parliament Hill is the official seat of the federal government and houses the Senate, House of Commons and an extensive library in a trio of “blocks”. The complex's most recognizable feature is undoubtedly Centre Block's Peace Tower, the famous clock tower that presides over July 1 Canada Day celebrations, which take place annually on Parliament Hill's sprawling front lawn.

2. Canada Place

Canada Place

Reminiscent of Sydney, Australia's iconic Opera House and situated on the banks of Vancouver's main harbour, Canada Place contains a hotel, convention centre, cruise ship terminal, as well as many shops and offices. Its design evokes Canada's nautical heritage and from afar, the building's white-peaked roof resembles a fleet of sailboats skimming the ocean. Every day at noon, the famous Heritage Horns play the first four notes of our national anthem, “O Canada.”

3. Château Frontenac

Chateau Frontenac
By [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Château Frontenac claims to be the world's most photographed hotel. And for good reason—this grand old building, built by the Canadian Pacific Railway company in 1893, is not only the most prominent feature in Quebec City’s skyline but also offers visitors the very best in luxury accommodations and five-star dining. Famous guests over the years include Queen Elizabeth, Grace Kelly and Ronald Reagan.

4. The Bow

The Bow
Via Bernard Spragg. NZ on Flickr

This magnificent skyscraper in downtown Calgary has a curved exterior made from triangular glass panels. Completed in 2012, The Bow serves as a office building for two of Canada's most prominent oil and gas companies. At 774 ft, it's Calgary's highest building and the second-tallest in Canada after the CN Tower.

5. Confederation Bridge

Confederation Bridge
Via Jamie McCaffrey on Flickr

While not technically a building, there is no better example of Canadian architectural brilliance than this 12.9 km-long cantilever bridge, which spans the Northumberland Strait between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Completed in 1997, the bridge marked an important milestone in connecting PEI (previously accessible mainly by ferry) to the rest of Canada. The Confederation Bridge is nothing short of an engineering marvel; strong enough to withstand brutal winter conditions, high winds and complex tidal patterns but light enough to allow large boats to pass through its arches. Since the two-lane highway can accommodate millions of vehicles every year regardless of weather, the Confederation Bridge has been transformational in boosting trade and tourism throughout the Atlantic provinces.

Honourable mention: the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Via AJ Batac on Flickr

Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) has the distinct honour of being the only national museum found outside of the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Designed by American Antoine Predock and completed in 2014, CMHR is a marvel of contemporary architecture: a circular nest of curved, overlapping glass panels enveloping the symbolic 328-ft Tower of Hope. The Museum is not only visually striking but also an important place of learning where students from across Canada are invited to reflect on the history of human rights both at home and abroad.

The REALTOR® community raised $2 million to support the establishment of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights and the human rights education it now provides. A prominent sign recognizing the contributions of REALTORS® welcomes visitors as they approach the main entrance of the museum via Israel Asper Way.

Post a Comment