This is Centre Block, the main building of Parliament Hill – the home to Canada’s federal government and where Justin Trudeau makes
great decisions. Just kidding, I’m indifferent to Justin but everyone hates him.
At Parliament Hill they do free tours of the main facility, but in early 2019 they are beginning renovations and closing the building for an entire decade! We did not want to miss the chance for a tour through a historical political building, plus, free is something we can get behind.
It was December 22nd, so of course it was all done up in the spirit of Christmas. Our Tour Guide was hilarious with his comedic annunciation and whimsical demeanour. Overall, it was well worth the cost.
The architecture was as close to being in a castle as I’ve ever been, and castles/pirate ships are my idea of a good time. The building was built in 1866, one year before Canada become it’s own country, but then a fire in 1916 destroyed everything besides the library. Not like I could tell the difference between a building from 1866 or from 1916 though.
It also had awesome paintings of people from the past.
These photos are from the Senate chamber. The Senate’s purpose is to consider and revise legislation, investigate national issues, and most crucially according to the Constitution — give the regions of Canada an equal voice in Parliament. This is not something I knew, this is straight from Wikipedia.
This is where politicians hang out and have beers and flip coins to make nation-changing decisions until the wee hours of the morn. It usually has some lawn chairs inside with those fancy beer can holsters in the armrest, but they had to remove all the furniture since they’re renovating. They’ve moved everything to a new location so the crew can still hang out for decision making time. I thought it was pretty neat when they pointed out all the rows of seating behind the iron throne. They let anybody come in and listen to their deliberations – lower class peasants like me up to other rich people like them.
They have another kids-themed fun room called the House of Commons. These representatives have wide-ranging responsibilities which include work in the Chamber, committees, their constituencies and political parties. Once again, that info is from Wikipedia.
The statues in Parliament are pretty neat also. They said that once the building was created, they would never allow it to be taken down or removed. One of the sculptors helping to create the interior heard this piece of information, and decided that he would sculpt a picture of his own face into the wall, preserving his legacy for all of eternity.
They also had sculptures of other people and animals.
Great quotes were in no shortage in this place…
The previously mentioned library preserved from 1866 was quite splendid. Somehow the whole unit made entirely of wood with books made of paper was the one place that didn’t go up in flames, weird isn’t it?
One of the best parts was having a high up viewpoint to gaze upon Ottawa from. It’s not the most breathtaking city, and one of the reasons is because there are rules in place so that buildings in the downtown core are not able to be built taller than Parliament. This way, it’ll preserve it’s brilliance instead of being overshadowed by Shopify, for example.
We took an elevator up to the top of the main tower. On the way up, the clear elevator doors allow you to see the inside of the tower, and the bells that toll within it.
Gazing South towards the city centre, you see this:
And to your left, East Block:
And to your right, West Block:
North of Parliament Hill you look over towards Gatineau:
That was the last stop before we made our way out of that castle-like masterpiece. The art, architecture, and cold beauty within the layers of stone and brick gave Parliament a unique feel, like being in a well-lit, well-decorated cave of history.
It’s pretty neat to say I’ve seen such a historic monument in my home country of Canada. I had never felt such a feeling of patriotism as I did when visiting Parliament Hill. It almost made me feel, American.