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, Minister of Foreign Affairs and local Member of Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean, 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 Canada’s 18th prime minister.
“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 Aboriginal people to vote and appointing the first woman to federal cabinet.
During the naming ceremony, Minister Ambrose and Minister Baird unveiled a plaque that will adorn the building.
“This is an important and symbolic gesture for our community and the whole nation.” said Minister Baird. “John Diefenbaker’s passion and dedication to democracy has helped make this country a nation we can all be proud of.”
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. The building comprises three linked pavilions. Its original section, the Sussex Pavilion, was built in 1958. The Rideau Pavilion and the Bytown Pavilion are near full occupancy. The main clients currently using the facilities are Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada Events and Conference Management and the Canada School of Public Service.
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.