The most notable and famous site to visit is probably the Canadian Parliament Buildings. Parliament Hill, or “The Hill” as locals call it, is a scenic spot on the banks of the Ottawa River on Wellington Street in the downtown area.
The architecture of the Canadian parliament buildings is impressive in its Gothic Revival style, and the suite of buildings has served as the home of the Parliament of Canada since 1857.
Three Parts of Parliament Buildings
The best known building is the Centre Block with its national symbol of the Peace Tower. This building houses the House of Commons and the Senate.
Visitors can watch either chamber in action from the visitor galleries at the Canadian parliament, take a tour of the building, or go up the Peace Tower for a spectacular view of the city. The Peace Tower also houses the Memorial Chamber which honours Canada’s war dead.
The East Block of the Canadian Parliament Buildings looks much the same now as it did in the time of Confederation. You can tour the restored offices of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, and other early statesmen, and you can interact with historical characters from that period.
The other building of the Canadian parliament buildings, the West Block, which houses offices for members of parliament is closed to the public.
When to go to Canada Parliament Buildings
One of the best times to visit Parliament Hill would be on Canada Day, July 1st, where many activities take place, including street parties, live music, performing and athletic shows, an air show performing aerial manoeuvres over Parliament Hill, the RCMP Musical Ride, and a major fireworks event.
There are children’s activities from face painting and crafts to poster competitions, as well as cooking demonstrations, art shows and comedy reviews. It is a fun grand event that is well worth attending.
From the Ottawa airport it is a short drive to downtown Ottawa and then the Canadian parliament buildings are just a short walk from downtown. Give yourself lots of time to look around, picnic and hopefully even see parliament in session.