"Canada's Capital" Parliament Hill Tip by Bwana_Brown

Parliament Hill, Ottawa: 110 reviews and 280 photos

  In front of the Centre Block and Peace Tower
by Bwana_Brown
 
  • In front of the Centre Block and Peace Tower - Ottawa
      In front of the Centre Block and Peace Tower
    by Bwana_Brown
  • Another view of Canada's main Parliament building - Ottawa
      Another view of Canada's main Parliament building
    by Bwana_Brown
  • The flag, the clock and the gargoyles - Ottawa
      The flag, the clock and the gargoyles
    by Bwana_Brown
  • 1877 fire damaged bell from Victoria Tower - Ottawa
      1877 fire damaged bell from Victoria Tower
    by Bwana_Brown
 

At the modest peak of Parliament Hill stand both the Centre Block and a separate Peace Tower. This is where the Canadian government carries on its daily business in both the House of Commons and Senate Chambers portions of the building. The original building and its Victoria Tower were completed on this site in 1878 but were subsequently destroyed by a fire in 1916. The present structures, completed by 1927, are the replacements for those originals, using the Gothic Revival style of architecture similar to that used in Britain's capital.

Because reconstruction was started in the middle of the First World War, the Peace Tower was named to honour the thousands of Canadian men and women who sacrificed their lives for Canada during that war. The 92-m (300-ft) tower is constructed of sandstone from a nearby quarry and it houses both a clock and a carillon for chiming out tunes on its various bells. I was impressed by the four gargoyles jutting out from high above, with these 2.5-m (8-ft) rainspouts being carved from Quebec granite (3rd pic).

As we continued our walk to the left, around to the Ottawa River side of the building, we came upon one of the few relics of the first Parliament building, a large bell (4th pic) that had originally been installed in the Victoria Tower in 1877. It shows a few dents and scars from its ordeal, but has been lovingly restored to a new place of rest, sitting at an angle just the way it was found after the fire of 1916.

Security at the Parliament Buildings was unobtrusive, no concrete barriers, fences, soldiers or para-military guards barred the public from wandering in off the streets. All there was were a couple of Mounties sitting in their cars in the expansive area in front of the Centre Block. We walked up and opened one of the huge doors for a look inside, but there was a security guard inside and a sign pointed to a different Visitor's Entrance off to one side. However, we had child-minding duties coming up shortly, so gave it a miss.

Directions: Beside the Library of Parliament Building on the Ottawa River side of the Centre Block
Phone: 1-800-0Canada

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2011
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