Building Canada

Canada is filled with amazing stories and experiences. It is through those stories and experiences that we can learn how each individual has helped to shape our country and the communities within it. In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, PCL’s three-part series will tell a story through the eyes of a ten-year old: Michael, and his grandfather as they take a trip to visit Canada’s Capital Region.

A young boy’s eyes trail from the seat in front of him to the car window; he speaks excitedly.

“Grandpa! What’s that?”

“That, Michael, is the Canadian War Museum​. We have arrived in Ottawa, Canada’s Capital Region.”

Grandpa’s eyes lock onto the building. Despite his 30 years spent with PCL managing projects, he is still able to study the building’s features as if he has never seen them.. . . His eyes follow the aluminum-framed glazed entrances to meet with the tall copper fin emerging from the roof top. From the side of the building he recognizes “Lest we forget” printed by tiny windows in Morse code in English, then in French. He feels a presence of strength and remembrance.

“This building was built to honor and remember. The Canadian War Museum recognizes and highlights defining moments in Canada’s history. Our history not only symbolizes the past, but it also helps us to understand what has shaped today and what will shape tomorrow.”

 The man and his grandson continue in the car. The young boy’s eyes wander furiously and meet with a passing building.

“What about this building, Grandpa, does it pay tribute too?”

“Indeed it does, but in a different way. This is The National Arts Centre​, a home that celebrates our Canadian artists through theatre, dance, and performing arts. It also showcases arts from around the world!”

He too begins to study the new hexagonal tower of glass and steel emerging from the NAC design. Sunlight is reflected from the top of the tower back to him and his grandson.

 “Grandpa, did you build these?”

“Certainly not alone, Michael. PCL has built and rejuvenated these buildings, but they are much more than brick and plaster. They are designed to be used by and for the communities that make up our home here in Canada. If there is one thing I remember from my time working at PCL, it is our spirit to give back to the community that continues to give us so much."

“So you build the community to help build Canada?”

To be continued . . . ​