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Credit: City of Ottawa

Parliament Hill

Wellington St, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A9

613-239-5000 | Website

These buildings bear witness to important events that have crafted the history of our country.



Type | Historic Building


Neighbourhood | Centretown
Cross Street | Metcalfe


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Profile Last Updated: September 03, 2008

Historic Ambience
Legend has it that when Queen Victoria decreed that Ottawa was to become to capital of Canada, she had the current site of Parliament Hill in mind. Originally called Barracks Hill, the stately plateau overlooking the Ottawa River was home to soldiers' barracks. The three original buildings (West Block, East Block, and Centre Block) were built between 1859 and 1866. While the East and West blocks are the original buildings, the original Centre Block was destroyed by fire in 1916, leaving the library as the only original part of the building. These stately buildings, built in Gothic Revival and Victorian Neo-Gothic styles, house the offices of members of Parliament, Senators, as well as the House of Commons and the Senate themselves. A tour will reveal the intricate carvings both inside and outside the buildings. Tours of the Centre Block go on year-round. The East Block is still used, but parts of it have been restored to reflect how the offices of Sir John A. MacDonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier looked in 1872. Tours of the East Block are available from July to September.

Covering a Lot of Grounds
Even if you don't take a tour of the inside of the buildings, there are many things to see and do on the grounds. The grounds, which are well-kept and open to the public, are decorated with a number of statues of Fathers of Confederation, members of the monarchy, former Prime Ministers, and most recently, the Famous Five - five women from Western Canada who made great strides in women's rights with their "Persons Case," in which women were finally considered "persons" by the Supreme Court. Don't miss the Summer Pavilion, a re-creation of the original structure where ladies and gentlemen could take some refuge from the hot sun and admire the view of the Ottawa River. You may also be surprised to see a number of cats roaming the Hill - these are cats that call the Cat Sanctuary their home. They are cared for by an elderly gentleman who volunteers his time to make sure they are fed and sheltered.

Visiting the Hill
A visit to Parliament Hill is a must for all Canadians, and is also a great learning experience for visitors to our country. Take the elevator to the top of the Peace Tower and admire the view, learn about Canadian history and the workings of the Canadian political system, and meet other Canadians and people from around the world who enjoy a visit to one of the most famous landmarks in Canada.


Wheelchair Accessible: Yes