Parliament Hill is where the capital of Canada is located. It’s beautifully situated between the Ottawa River and downtown Ottawa. All three impressive neo-Gothic buildings were originally completed in 1866, but Centre Block, which holds the House of Commons and Senate chambers as well as the Library of Parliament, was gutted by a 1916 fire. The current building was completed in 1929.
The clock tower at Centre Block is called the Peace Tower. It’s 92.2m high and includes over 370 gargoyles, grotesques, and friezes. Located inside the tower is the Memorial Chamber, which contains the names of every Canadian service member to die at war.
East Block contains the offices of several senators, members of parliament, and other ministers. Historic offices include: the office of Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald; the Governor General of Canada, Lord Dufferin; the office of Sir George-Étienne Cartier; and the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada. West Block contains the offices of several parliamentarians.
Free tours of the Centre Block and East Block are available in either English or French. Tickets are distributed across the street from Parliament in a small shop at 90 Wellington Street. Tours of Centre Block are given year-round while East Block is open from July to early September. It’s also possible to visit only the Peace Tower and Memorial Chamber on a self-guided tour. West Block is closed to the public.
The grounds of Parliament Hill contain various monuments. On the path leading to Centre Block is the Centennial Flame. It was lit in 1967 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the independence of Canada. The flame is surrounded by a fountain that never freezes in winter.
To the east of Centre Block is an equestrian monument of Queen Elizabeth II as well as a small square with statues that people like to pose with for photos.
At the edge of the hill, there are excellent views of the Ottawa River, Gatineau, and the Alexandra Bridge.