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Ottawa, Ontario, September 19, 2011 – The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, along with the Honourable John Baird, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and local Member of Parliament for Ottawa West–Nepean, today announced the naming of a prominent Ottawa building. The former Ottawa City Hall building at 111 Sussex Drive has been named the John G. Diefenbaker Building in honour of the 13th person to be Prime minister in Canada.
“The naming of this building in honour of Prime Minister John George Diefenbaker recognizes his influence on Canadian history,” said Minister Ambrose. “This iconic leader was chosen for his many contributions in shaping our country, such as extending the Bill of Rights to allow Native people to vote and appointing the first woman to federal cabinet.
During the naming ceremony, Minister Ambrose and Minister Baird unveiled a plaque and portrait that will adorn the building.
“Prime Minister Diefenbaker’s passion and dedication to all Canadians has helped make this country a nation we can all be very proud of,” said Minister Baird. “Yesterday would have marked his 116th birthday, and this honour is a very fitting tribute to his legacy.”
The building at 111 Sussex Drive is located along the National Capital Commission’s Ceremonial Route and is in close proximity to the prime minister’s residence (24 Sussex), the governor general’s residence (Rideau Hall) as well as Earnscliffe, the residence of the British high commissioner. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada Events and Conference Management and the Canada School of Public Service presently occupy space in the building.
John George Diefenbaker was Prime Minister of Canada from June 21, 1957, to April 21, 1963. During his term, he championed the Canadian Bill of Rights and gave all Aboriginal people the right to vote. He appointed the first woman to the Cabinet and the first Aboriginal person to the Senate. A lawyer by profession, John Diefenbaker was born in Neustadt, Ontario, on September 18, 1895, and died in Ottawa, Ontario, on August 16, 1979.
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For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Office of the Honourable John Baird
Public Works and Government Services Canada
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The 111 Sussex Drive Building
The building at 111 Sussex Drive is an office complex, also known as the former Ottawa City Hall, that is comprised of three linked pavilions totaling 29,687.6 rentable square metres. It has specialized conference and meeting facilities as well as underground parking.
The complex is located immediately east of Ottawa’s downtown core and was acquired by the federal government from the City of Ottawa on December 31, 2001. It is strategically located along the National Capital Commission’s Ceremonial Route along with other high profile facilities and residences.
The original 8-storey Sussex Pavilion was built in 1958. Designed by John Bland of the firm Rother, Bland and Trudeau, it is considered one of the most important International Style buildings in Canada and won the Massey Medal for design in 1959.
Modifications were made in 1992-93 with the construction of the 3-storey Rideau and Bytown Pavilions. A second renovation in 2004-2005 was focused on replacing interior finishes and tenant fit-ups. Most of the Sussex Pavilion’s roofing has been replaced in the last two years. Necessary systems upgrades were also performed in the 3 pavilions in the last year.
The complex’s current main clients are: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) – International Trade Canada; PWGSC Events and Conference Management; and Canada School of Public Service.