Archeologists find historical military complex under Parliament Hill

Archeologists found a military complex dating back to the Rideau Canal’s construction in the 19h century.

Anthony Daoud Montreal QC

Canada’s rich history is set to become even more intriguing.

An excavation team has found a historical military complex beneath Parliament Hill, according to the CBC.

Ongoing work

The excavation project began this April, as the Parliament’s Centre Block continues to undergo much-needed renovations. The government hired Centrus, to help uncover the historical ruins.

Prior to the arrival of European explorers, the land on which our Parliament stands was likely inhabited by indigenous populations.

Canada’s indigenous people have a glorious history that has directly contributed towards the nation’s fabric; from its early beginnings, up to contemporary times.

Now, this week’s discovery provides historians with more tangible evidence that can serve useful in analyzing Canada’s pre-colonial and colonial past.


The complex predates both confederation and the city of Ottawa.

It had Ottawa’s first jail, with a guardhouse, barracks, stables also amongst the findings. Outhouses that were once given to soldiers and their wives, were also unearthed.

The complex played an instrumental role during the Rideau Canal’s construction, which began in 1827, under the provision of Lieutenant Colonel John By. He was a member of the Royal Engineers, a branch of Britain’s military.

Excavating the site led to the discovery of many items. The list includes chin straps, tags, gorgets, and coins. All once mundane, they now serve as testament to Canada’s past, and serve to further enhance our historical timeline.


History is a fundamental component of any country’s culture, national identity, and legacy. Archeological projects should be encouraged by elected officials, academics, and professionals alike.

The excavations are expected to cost taxpayers $1.2 million. Both the guardhouse and barracks will be completely excavated by the fall.


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