• The original, smaller parliament buildings, constructed in 1865. (Photo: National Archives)

Canada's birthday is upon us. Next year will be a landmark one – the big 150 – and it got us thinking about what it must have been like when the country reached the century mark.

To celebrate Canada's centennial, the Canadian Geographical Journal (as Canadian Geographic was then known) published photos of Canada's very first parliament building.

Constructed between 1859 and 1865, the original centre block was meant to house the legislature of the Province of Canada, which was made up of Upper and Lower Canada (present-day southern Ontario and Quebec).

Alas, it was destined to accommodate a broader geographical dominion. According to the article in the January 1967 issue, only one session of the provincial legislature was held in the building before the Dominion of Canada came into being on July 1, 1867 and needed a home.

Unfortunately, that home caught fire in February 1916, and everything but the Parliamentary Library was destroyed. A larger version of the original Parliament was built in 1917 and those buildings still stand today.