Visiting Parliament Hill, Ottawa

Ottawa is the capital of Canada and home to Parliament Hill, its political center. Centre Block contains the Senate and House of Commons chambers, Library of Parliament, and the Peace Tower – buildings that are done in the Gothic Revival design complete with gargoyles and unicorns.

Stop by to take a look and admire the architecture if you’re short on time, or better yet take a tour. Same day tickets are available and completely free. Lines queue up early at 90 Wellington Street and issued on a first-come, first-served basis. The tour can last up to an hour long and is extremely informative. Just walking through the halls of the building is an aesthetic dream.

From the ceilings

to the hidden faces,

and no shortage of mystical creatures,

this alone is worth your time. The stained glass windows in the chambers are breathtaking, illuminated even on a rainy day.

In the hall there is another window, a newer addition. It is an ode to indigenous peoples of Canada recalling the trying history and breathing hope into a more promising future.

On the tour our guide told us that Canada is not a perfect country. If the members of parliament are not in session, enter the chambers. The first thing you’ll notice is red

and green.

Learn about the legislative process and how Canada strives to have a transparent government. In 1916 a fire burnt the original building to the ground. The only area that was spared was the library, because an employee closed the steel doors protecting the room.

The area is stunning and different, done in the Victorian that the original design of the complex.

The last stop on the tour is to the Peace Tower, built after World War I in memory of the sacrifice of men and women serving their country. It stands over 300 feet tall and the carillon has 53 bells. There is a 360 degree view from out the windows spanning over the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

Then down to the Memorial Chamber whose centerpiece is the Books of Remembrance listing all Canadians who lost their life in service before exiting the building.

Good to know:

+The tour is completely free and offered daily

+Lines to acquire tickets begin before opening time – 9AM and can be lengthy on busy weekends

+Over the summer watch the Changing of the Guards in the morning and the Sound and Light show at night

+Carillon concerts occur year round

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