The Bank’s head office at 234 Wellington Street in Ottawa is located near some of the country’s most important institutions and landmarks, such as the Parliament of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada. Wellington Street is on the ceremonial and discovery route through downtown Ottawa and Gatineau called Confederation Boulevard.
The Bank of Canada building is known for its unique architectural elements, balancing modern and classical styles and combining granite, steel, glass and concrete materials.
The original classical granite building that opened in 1938 was partially enclosed in the 1970s by two glass office towers and a large indoor atrium designed by renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erickson.
The head office provides a modern and efficient work environment for some 1,500 Bank of Canada employees.
2016 Head Office Renewal
The Bank undertook a major renewal of the Wellington Street head office between 2014 and 2016. The project was completed in November 2016 within its construction budget of $460 million.
Internal spaces were upgraded to meet current building standards, focusing on
- ventilation, heating, plumbing and electrical systems;
- seismic strengthening;
- health and safety codes;
- energy efficiency and environmental sustainability; and
- security systems.
Workspaces were modernized to improve efficiency and meet the Bank’s business needs. Open-concept office floors are complemented by a variety of meeting rooms and collaborative spaces throughout the building.
The Bank’s external spaces around Wellington, Bank and Sparks streets were also redesigned and landscaped to improve accessibility, safety and functionality. The Bank of Canada Plaza on the property’s east side was redeveloped for multi-season use by Bank employees, Ottawa residents and visitors. Three landscaped pyramid structures provide seating and two glass ventilation pillars add visual interest and lighting to the plaza.
Bank of Canada Museum
The design and construction of the new Bank of Canada Museum was a key component of the Head Office Renewal project. The completely reimagined museum will open in July 2017.
The museum’s exhibition spaces—as well as a conference centre for Museum and Bank events—occupy 17,000 square feet underneath the Bank of Canada plaza.
New interactive programs and exhibitions have been designed to help Canadians learn about the Bank’s important role in the Canadian economy.
Artifacts from Canada’s National Currency Collection are also on display, in keeping with the museum’s origins as the nation’s Currency Museum.
The museum entrance is located in the large pyramid on the Bank of Canada Plaza at the corner of Bank and Wellington streets. Admission is free. More information is available on the Bank of Canada Museum website.
The original head office building, completed in 1938, was designed by Toronto architecture firm Marani, Lawson and Morris. It was constructed with grey granite from Quebec in the classical style popular for banks at the time of the Depression, when solidity, tradition and stability were primary values.
The atrium and glass towers were added in the 1970s to complement and encircle the centre building. Arthur Erickson’s modern design, rendered in partnership with Marani, Rounthwaite and Dick, spoke to the concepts of transparency and openness favoured by modern central banks.
The 2016 architectural plan, guided by Perkins+Will Canada, preserved the cultural and historical significance of the building while addressing business needs that were not anticipated in the 1970s, such as the wide¬spread use of digital technology.
The Bank consulted with government agencies and members of Canada’s architectural and landscape community on the designs for the building and plaza.
While the exterior of the centre building was left unchanged, considerable work was done to restore its interiors, which had been modified over time. The original marble lobby on Wellington Street, damaged in the 2010 Ottawa earthquake, was carefully rebuilt and heritage experts were brought in to help restore its art deco ceiling.
Many structural improvements and system repairs were also made to the towers and atrium, though most are not visible. For example, the Bank maintained the exterior aesthetics of Erickson’s reflective glass “curtain walls” by adding a layer of interior glass to accommodate upgraded heating and cooling systems.
Erickson’s original design for the atrium, featuring three mounds of Canadian-style greenery and a large pergola, was reinterpreted to create a more versatile space for informal Bank meetings and events. For security reasons, public access to the atrium is limited to special events only.
Canada’s central bank was founded in 1934. Since then, the Bank of Canada Act has been amended many times, but the preamble to the Act has not changed. The Bank still exists "to regulate credit and currency in the best interests of the economic life of the nation."
Find out more about the Bank’s past, how it has worked and who shaped it in the history section.