Parliament Hill
June 2001 018

Parliament Hill, June 2001 018

Five after Three, Peace Tower.
June 14, 2001. Photo: Andy Sorfleet

Gargoyles & Grotesques

Approximately 370 carvings — gargoyles, grotesques, carvings, friezes and bosses — can be found on the Peace Tower. Gargoyles proliferated on great cathedrals between the 11th and 13th centuries. Later, gargoyles were also found on other important buildings. The word "gargoyle" comes from the French "gargouille," which means "throat" or "pipe".

Most gargoyles are portrayed as frightening figures meant to scare away evil spirits, however some were meant to be a "sermon in stone," illustrating biblical stories for an illiterate population.

The Government of Canada's official sculptor, Maurice Joanisse, is currently researching, documenting and photographing every carving on the exterior facades of the buildings on Parliament Hill in order to produce a historic chronicle.


Gargoyle, Peace Tower

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Created: MAR. 18, 2002
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