Located on Parliament Hill, the Centennial Flame commemorates Canada’s 100th anniversary as a Confederation. The Flame was first lit as the climax of the centennial celebrations of January 1, 1967, in the presence of then Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. He was joined on the hill by then Leader of the Opposition and former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker as well as thousands of onlookers. The Flame is fuelled by natural gas and surrounded by a fountain whose ledge contains the shields of 12 of Canada’s provinces and territories—Nunavut is absent as it was not created until 1999.
This Centennial Flame was erected as a temporary monument, but due to great public support it still stands today. It is located near the Queen's Gates (the centre gate), in front of the stairs leading to the Peace Tower and Centre Block. The Centre Block is home to the House of Commons, the Senate and serves as an office building for MPs and Senators.
The Centennial Flame is encompassed by a fountain into which many visitors to Parliament Hill throw coins for luck. That change is gathered, washed, dried and sorted by maintenance before it is put into a government bank account. From there the money is given to the winner of the Centennial Flame Research Award. The award, which was begun in 2005, is given “to a person with a disability to enable him or her to conduct research and prepare a report on the contributions of one or more Canadians with disabilities to the public life of Canada or the activities of Parliament.” The 2011 recipient, Andrew Morrison-Gurza, received $5,500. The 2012 recipient, Andrew St. Kitts, is a Masters student with cerebral palsy who plans on using the $5,000 he received to research “attitudes of able-bodied Canadians when they see people like him.“
Because of the fire that burns above the water, the fountain doesn't freeze, even in the middle of the winter.
24 hours a day!
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