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Road closures underway for Brian Mulroney's lying in state

A framed portrait of former prime minister Brian Mulroney leans against the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill as Canadians mourn his death on March 1. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press - image credit)
A framed portrait of former prime minister Brian Mulroney leans against the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill as Canadians mourn his death on March 1. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Several streets in downtown Ottawa will be closed to traffic later Monday in preparation for the lying in state of former prime minister Brian Mulroney at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building.

According to Canadian Heritage, the following street closures will be in effect from 6 p.m. Monday until 6 p.m. Wednesday:

  • Wellington Street from Elgin Street to Bank Street.

  • Sparks Street from Elgin Street to Bank Street.

  • O'Connor Street from Wellington Street to Queen Street.

  • Metcalfe Street from Wellington Street to Queen Street.

Mulroney, who served as Canada's 18th prime minister, died Feb. 29.

A family spokesperson said he was surrounded by relatives in a Palm Beach, Fla., hospital, where he'd been staying since a recent fall.

The former prime minister will lie in state for two days in Ottawa. Visitors can pay their respects from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Starting Thursday, Mulroney will lie in repose in Montreal's Saint Patrick's Basilica for two more days. His funeral ceremony will begin 11 a.m. Saturday at the Notre-Dame Basilica, also in Montreal.

Eulogies will be performed by Caroline Mulroney, Pierre Karl Péladeau, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Wayne Gretzky, James Baker and Jean Charest.

Is there a dress code?

Visitors to the Sir John A. Macdonald Building will be allowed to wear casual attire, said Stephanie Milligan, a manager with the state ceremonial and protocol team at Canadian Heritage.

However, T-shirts with slogans that could be considered offensive will not be permitted.

Visitors will have to undergo security screening prior to entering the building, said Mike Steinhauer, the team's acting director.

To expedite the process, Canadian Heritage is recommending members of the public refrain from bringing bags or other items.

Milligan recommended against bringing flowers since they could be damaged during the security process. Instead, people who wish to bring wreaths can place them on Parliament Hill next to the Centennial Flame.

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney will lie in state at the Sir John A. Macdonald building, left, on Wellington Street in downtown Ottawa.
Former prime minister Brian Mulroney will lie in state at the Sir John A. Macdonald building, left, on Wellington Street in downtown Ottawa.

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney will lie in state at the Sir John A. Macdonald building, left, on Wellington Street in downtown Ottawa. (Matéo Garcia-Tremblay/Radio-Canada)

How should visitors behave?

The atmosphere will be solemn and there will be a pre-established route to follow that will allow visitors to walk alongside the coffin, Steinhauer said.

Books of condolence will be available to sign, according to Canadian Heritage.

Milligan said visitors will have as much time as they want to pay their respects.

Steinhauer said the Mulroney family is expected to be there to greet visiting dignitaries on Tuesday morning.

A bouquet of flowers at the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill, not long after the death of Queen Elizabeth II was announced on Thursday.
A bouquet of flowers at the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill, not long after the death of Queen Elizabeth II was announced on Thursday.

Members of the public are not recommended to bring flowers or wreaths into the building where Mulroney will lie in state, but they may leave them at the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill. (Buntola Nou/CBC)