Friday, March 21, 2008

The Most Beautiful Room in Canada

Yesterday I was able to personally thank the young Simon Fuller for his extraordinary contribution to our Parliament Buildings. Since I have seen this documentary done by the CBC, I have been trying to get into the Parliamentary Library in Ottawa. I never seem to have time when visiting my home town for one reason or another. Next time I go to Ottawa, I will make this a priority.

The video clip National Parliamentary Libraryis a bit long,(14 mins.) but this is something of such utmost importance, I hope that you will take time to view it, and become as fascinated by the details as I have been.

A few details on the original designer of our Parliament buildings:
Thomas Fuller (March 8, 1823 – September 28, 1898) was a Canadian architect.

He was born in Bath, England where he trained as an architect. Living in Bath and London he did a number of projects. In 1845 he left for Antigua, where he spent two years working on a new cathedral before emigrating to Canada in 1857. Settling in Toronto, Ontario he formed a partnership with Chilion Jones with Fuller responsible for design work. The company first won the contract to design the church of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields.

In 1859, The Legislative Assembly in Ottawa voted the sum of £75,000 for the erection of a "Parliament House" and offered a premium of $1000 for the best design within that budget. The winning bid was made by Fuller and Jones for a neo-gothic design. In Hand Book to the Parliamentary and Departmental Buildings, Canada (1867), Joseph Bureau wrotes, "The corner stone was laid with great ceremony by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in September, 1860, on which occasion the rejoicings partook of the nature of the place, the lumber arches and men being a novelty to most of its visitors, bullocks and sheep were roasted whole upon the government ground and all comers were feasted."

In 1867 he won the contract to build the New York State Capitol building in Albany, New York, and spent the next several years in the United States. The project ran into severe cost overruns, and an inquiry blamed Fuller. Fuller thus returned to Canada, and unable to work in the more lucrative private sector, in 1881 became Chief Dominion Architect, replacing Thomas Seaton Scott. In this capacity, which he held until 1896, he played a role in the design and construction of every major federal building.

On his death in 1898, Thomas Fuller was interred in the Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa.

His son Thomas Fuller II also became a prominent Canadian architect.

Several of his buildings in Bath have been threatened with demolition and other impressive works, such as his Bradford-on-Avon Town Hall, have been converted into other uses (the Town Hall is now the R.C. Church of St Thomas More).

In 2002, Thomas Fuller Construction Company, operated by Fuller's great-grandsons, was awarded a contract to renovate the Library of Parliament in Ottawa which he originally designed.[1]
[1]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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