Virtual experience brings historic Parliament building to life

A new online virtual reality (VR) experience is opening the doors to a landmark building that was the site of debates and decisions that shaped Canada for almost 100 years.

“We are thrilled to bring this innovative experience of Parliament to people across Canada while they remain at home. Though we find ourselves in the midst of challenging times, this experience is a unique opportunity to go beyond our walls and step into the heart of Canadian democracy,” said Dr. Heather Lank, Parliamentary Librarian.

Image provided by the NFB

Parliament: The Virtual Experience offers a 15-minute look inside Centre Block, which closed last year for long-term rehabilitation, by highlighting key public spaces, including the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament and Peace Tower. Each chapter provides a new perspective on Parliament – its history, its art and its role in the lives of Canadians.

Parliament: The Virtual Experience is a co-production by the Library of Parliament and the National Film Board of Canada’s (NFB) Interactive Studio. The creative team includes Émilie F. Grenier (creative direction), Dpt. (conception, design and programming), David Drury (music and sound design) and Stéphane Poirier (illustrations). The experience is offered online at no charge.

VR users can download an immersive 3-D journey into the space, which blends photorealism with elements, including vivid sound, colour and light.

Once the public health crisis has passed, teachers across Canada will be able to register for the Classroom Experience and take their students on the ultimate virtual field trip.

This one-of-a-kind learning program will send free VR kits to schools across Canada. The kits will contain equipment that allows an entire class to view the VR experience of Parliament simultaneously, as well as lesson plans and in-class activities designed to enhance the experience.

“The NFB is very pleased to have collaborated with the Library of Parliament and shared its expertise in the creation of engaging experiences with cutting-edge audiovisual technologies. Now, more than ever, democracy, the institutions that embody it and their role in our society have taken on a vital importance. The public will discover our democracy in a new way,” said Claude Joli-Cœur, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NF.

Parliament: The Virtual Experience (Trailer 60s) from NFB/marketing on Vimeo.