Ottawa Gatineau Geoheritage

The Ottawa-Gatineau Geoheritage Project promotes greater public knowledge and appreciation of the geology and related landscapes in and around Canada's National Capital Region

24. Building Stones and Monuments of Downtown Ottawa

A walking tour of the geology of Ottawa's buildings and monuments


Downtown Ottawa

Parliament building

Photo by Q. Gall.

A variety of rocks have been used as building stone in downtown Ottawa. Next time you're downtown or in the Market area, look at the following buildings from a geological perspective.

Many more buildings are described in an excellent guidebook to the geology of the buildings of Ottawa, "A walking guide - Ottawa's building and monument stones" by Quentin Gall, available from the bookstore of the Geological Survey of Canada.


  • Parliament Buildings: Nepean Sandstone, Potsdam sandstone, Wallace Sandstone, Ohio Sandstone, Tyndall Limestone, Ottawa Limestone, Missisquoi Black Marble (actually limestone), Stanstead Granite, Grenville Marble, Tennessee Marble
  • Paving stones around Centennial Flame: Tadoussac Granite Gneiss
  • Entrance to stairs descending to locks, Wellington St.: Deschambeault Limestone
  • Chateau Laurier and Old Union Station (Conference Centre), 1 & 2 Rideau St.: Granite, Indiana Limestone
  • British High Commission, 80 Elgin St.: Baltic Rapakivi Granite (ovoid feldspars with halos), black Norwegian Anorthosite
  • Lord Elgin Hotel, 100 Elgin St.: Deschambeault Limestone
  • Hope Building, 61-63 Sparks St.: Stanstead Granite and Italian Marble
  • E.R. Fisher Building, 117 Sparks St.: Serpentine Marble
  • TD Bank, 212 Sparks St.: Queenston limestone
  • Scotia Bank, 118 Sparks St.: Adair Marble
  • Bank of Montreal, 161 Sparks St.: Queenston Limestone, Stanstead Granite, Floor tiles of Cararra Marble. Mexican Onyx (Travertine)
  • The Shoe Box, Le Papillon, 189 Sparks St.: Lac St. Jean Anorthosite
  • Hallmark, 203 Sparks St.: Serpentinite
  • Wellington Building, 180 Wellington St.: base of Stanstead Granite, faced with Indiana Limestone
  • National Press Club, 150 Wellington St.: Indiana Limestone
  • Langevin Block, 50 Wellington St.: Miramichi sandstone


  • Nepean Sandstone (Cambro-Ordovician, Kanata)
  • Potsdam Sandstone (Cambro-Ordovician, Kingston, New York State)
  • Wallace Sandstone (Carboniferous, Nova Scotia)
  • Old Red Sandstone (Devonian, Scotland)
  • Ohio Sandstone (Berea Formation, Mississippian, Wakeman, Ohio)
  • Tyndall Dolomitic Limestone (Ordovician, Garson, Manitoba: contains Receptaculites, Maclurites, other gastropods, burrows, orthocones, and corals)
  • Ottawa Limestone (Ordovician, local)
  • Cobourg Limestone (Ordovician, local)
  • Adair Marble (actually dolostone: Amabel Formation - Silurian, Wiarton, Ontario)
  • Eramosa Dolostone (Silurian, Wiarton, Ontario; stromatolitic; used mainly as "Waterfall Rock" in landscaping)
  • Queenston Limestone (Niagara)
  • Deschambault Limestone (Lowville, Quebec)
  • Missisquoi Black Marble (actually limestone, Philipsburg, Quebec)
  • Indiana or Salem Limestone (Mississippian, Bedford, Indiana: main source of dimension stone in USA)
  • Tennessee Marble (Knoxville, Tennessee)
  • Italian Marble, Carrara Marble
  • Mexican Onyx (travertine)
  • Tadoussac granite gneiss (Precambrian, Saguenay, Quebec)
  • Stanstead Granite (Beebe, Quebec)
  • Vermillion Bay Granite
  • Lac St. Jean Granite
  • Standstead Granite
  • Peribonka Granite (actually gabbro, Lac St. Jean)
  • Tadoussac Granite Gneiss
  • Rapakivi Granite ("Baltic Brown", Finland)
  • Labradorite Anorthosite ("Norwegian Blue Pearl")
  • Larvakite (Labradorite Syenite)
  • Serpentinite
  • Vermont Slate
  • Verde Antique (Roxbury, Vermont