Last week, the Ontario government introduced the Queen’s Park Restoration Act, 2023, which, if passed, will establish a ministry called the Queen’s Park Restoration Secretariat to oversee the planning and renovation of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park, including the temporary re-location of operations.
The restoration project includes careful interior deconstruction to preserve heritage elements while modernizing building systems to address safety and accessibility issues. In addition the project will include securing and preparing a temporary place to conduct parliamentary business.
“Our government’s proposal strikes an important balance between the need to leverage the infrastructure expertise, fiscal transparency, and accountability of the government with the independence and oversight of our Legislative Assembly,” said Paul Calandra, Minister of Legislative Affairs. “While much work lies ahead, I am confident the restoration of Queen’s Park will make it a functional place of business for another 130 years and a symbol of our democracy of which all Ontarians can be proud.”
The Legislative Building has only undergone piecemeal repairs since its construction in 1893. Critical building systems such as plumbing, heating, electrical, and IT services are at or beyond end of life and at risk of total failure. A full restoration of the Legislative Building is needed to bring it up to modern safety and operational standards, to meet the needs of parliamentarians, and to serve the people of Ontario for years to come.
The proposed legislation would, if passed, establish the foundation of a comprehensive restoration project and temporary relocation of parliamentary operations while the project is underway. In collaboration with the Assembly, and with the oversight of an all-party committee of parliamentarians, the government will plan and execute the restoration of the building, leveraging its expertise in managing large-scale infrastructure projects.
Ontario’s Legislative Building first opened its doors on April 4, 1893, and has not undergone a major renovation in over 100 years.