• 50 Sussex Drive

    There’s more to this building than a pragmatic modernist arrangement of stone, glass and steel overlooking a waterfall, three rivers and two provinces. (Photo: Ben Powless/Canadian Geographic)

Winston Churchill once said “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Location, of course, adds to that effect.

This is how the new headquarters of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Canadian Geographic at 50 Sussex Drive in Ottawa is transforming the 90-year-old organization’s ability to carry out its mandate: bringing knowledge of Canada’s physical landscapes, people and innovations to a national and global audience.

There’s more to this building than a pragmatic modernist arrangement of stone, glass and steel overlooking a waterfall, three rivers and two provinces. “This building ranks with the iconic landmarks home to the Royal Geographical Society in London and the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.,” says John Geiger, the CEO of the RCGS. “It takes the RCGS, which has always done a great deal to promote geographical literacy, to another level altogether.”

Watch the videos below for a peek at how 50 Sussex — Canada’s new Centre for Geography and Exploration — blends an iconic natural backdrop, a historic chunk of the National Capital and a who’s who of trailblazing scientists, explorers, educators, Indigenous leaders and other cultural innovators from across the country to change how we understand our homeland.