Opening a New Door for the Canadian Performing Arts

Created by: Chloe Monette and Ryan Tonelli


The National Arts Center in Ottawa is much more than a building, it is where Canadians unite through the performing arts. G. Hamilton Southam, who headed the creation of the NAC, was indeed an elitist but he also had a passion for the arts which pushed an impossible project to completion.

The center was designed by architect Fred Lebensold who was inspired by the rugged landscapes of Canada. The brutalist building is now a landmark in Ottawa where dance, music, and theatre come together and represent the country. The original design depended on the future developments of the canal as well as what is now Confederation Park. As the city developed differently than planned, the NAC ended up with its back to the world.

In 2017, major renovations were implemented to the NAC to modernize the building and to give their patrons a better experience overall. These changes include the renewal of Southam Hall which houses the prestigious National Arts Center Orchestra. Most importantly, the renovations created a welcoming doorway for Canada to come together.