May 13, 2020 – Ottawa – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
A new experience is opening the doors to the historical seat of Parliament in virtual reality (VR), online and in the classroom. It provides Canadians who are at home during the COVID-19 pandemic with a new way to step inside the centre of federal democracy.
Parliament: The Virtual Experience offers an innovative look inside Centre Block, which closed last year for long-term rehabilitation. This landmark building was the site of debates and decisions that shaped Canada for almost 100 years, a rich legacy that is showcased to the public in this new work.
The 15-minute experience highlights key public spaces, including the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament and Peace Tower. Each chapter offers a new perspective on Parliament – its history, its art and its role in the lives of Canadians.
Parliament: The Virtual Experience is a co-production by the Library of Parliament and the National Film Board of Canada’s (NFB) Interactive Studio. The creative team includes Émilie F. Grenier (creative direction), Dpt. (conception, design and programming), David Drury (music and sound design) and Stéphane Poirier (illustrations).
The experience is offered online at no charge. Full details are available at experienceparliament.ca.
In VR and Online
VR users can download an immersive 3-D journey into the space, which blends photorealism with magical elements, including vivid sound, colour and light. Anyone with Internet access can also explore the complementary online experience, in which a richly illustrated version of this architectural landmark reveals itself as they scroll.
In the Classroom
Once the public health crisis has passed, teachers across Canada will be able to register for the Classroom Experience and take their students on the ultimate virtual field trip. This one-of-a-kind learning program will send free VR kits to schools across Canada. The kits will contain equipment that allows an entire class to view the VR experience of Parliament simultaneously, as well as lesson plans and in-class activities designed to enhance the experience.
The Classroom Experience has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will launch once compatible with public health guidelines. Interested educators are invited to browse the program website and to check back for updates.
“We are thrilled to bring this innovative experience of Parliament to people across Canada while they remain at home. Though we find ourselves in the midst of challenging times, this experience is a unique opportunity to go beyond our walls and step into the heart of Canadian democracy.”
– Dr. Heather Lank, Parliamentary Librarian
“The NFB is very pleased to have collaborated with the Library of Parliament and shared its expertise in the creation of engaging experiences with cutting-edge audiovisual technologies. Now, more than ever, democracy, the institutions that embody it and their role in our society have taken on a vital importance. The public will discover our democracy in a new way.”
– Claude Joli-Cœur, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB
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Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopses: Parliament: The Virtual Experience
The National Film Board of Canada
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French press release here | Communiqué français ici.