Parliament Hill


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Canada's Most Famous Building

Published by Mina Trandafilovski — 4 years ago

Parliament Hill was the first official building built in the newly founded country of Canada. The Peace Tower - the most famous part of the building dates all the way back to the late 19th century, to symbolize peace, finally. After much fighting between the French and the English settlers who came to Canada, as well as bravely defending our land from our neighbours to the south, the Americans in the year 1812, it was time for Canada to become a unified country.

Hence, the Parliament building in Canada's capital, Ottawa, has a lot of significance for people, from the east coast to the west coast. Parliament Hill is the building that unites all the people from our massive country.

Parliament Hill is located in downtown Ottawa. It is Ottawa's tallest building, so it is quite impossible to miss. It is also very, very easy to get to and access, as it is literally the centre of the city of Ottawa.

The Parliament buildings are absolutely beautiful to look at. They are very European looking buildings - majestic, grandiose, and symmetrical. The Peace Tower has a clock and a bell that rings at every hour, and at every quarter hour. You always know the time when you're in downtown Ottawa - simply because of the Peace Tower. On the straight path that leads to the doors of the Peace Tower, you will see the Eternal Flame. The Eternal Flame has all the Canadian provinces and territories, in a circle, to show unity. The flame never stops burning - regardless of wind, rain, or cold. It is very symbolic to Canadians.

This fire is perfect for warming up during the cold and windy winter months!

There are always many tourist attractions happening on Parliament Hill, regardless of the season. But since you are in Canada, you probably want to experience a true, Northern, and Canadian winter.

In December, there is a ceremony with candles, music, hot chocolate, and candy-canes, for the annual lighting of Parliament Hill. This is great to attend with friends, because it really is a fun night! There is also a musical show put on by ringing the bells in the Peace Tower - it is a truly unique experience!

Also, for the entire Holiday season, there are short, thirty minute light shows on Parliament Hill that are very cute, and fun for people of all ages. They are also very beautiful, and very artistic, and capture the Canadian spirit and Canadian culture perfectly.

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The best part of the winter is that for the most part of it, the lights are on, so you can always come and visit with your family and friends. Parliament makes a great photo-op!

Now, let us talk about the summer events, as there are plenty of them.

Do you like yoga? Do you like doing yoga outdoors? Well then, you are in luck! Starting in May or June, and going until August, the fancy sports apparel store, Lululemon, hosts Parliament Hill Yoga for free, every single Wednesday at noon! It is very, very fun, and very relaxing! You also get a great tan as well! The best part is that thousands of other people do it. It really is quite a sight to see. You can read more about Parliament Hill Yoga here.

There is also a Parliament Hill light-show that happens during the summer. It happens every night from mid-July until mid-September. It is called Northern Lights. It is a thirty-minute-long light show that is in both French and English, that shows Canada's rich history, Canada's diverse cultures, and Canadian customs and traditions. This lightshow is great for learning a little bit about Canada, as well as for entertaining yourself, your family and friends. You can read more about Northern Lights here.

In addition to this, there are year-round free guided tours of Parliament Hill. These tours can last anywhere from twenty minutes to fifty minutes, depending on how much activity is happening on Parliament. On these tours, you get to see how the government of Canada goes about daily decision-making, and you get to see the beautiful and intricate architecture and decorations inside Parliament Hill. I would strongly recommend that everyone goes on these tours - as they are quite educational, and very fun! They are great for people who live in Ottawa, tourists, and exchange and international students alike. There are two separate tours, as Parliament Hill actually has two parts to it. There is the Centre Block, and there is the East Block. Free tickets are available year-round at 90 Wellington Street, right across the street from Parliament Hill.

Tip: as the lines for the Parliament Hill tours can get very long because there are free, I would strongly recommend that you make your reservation online ahead of time, just so that you maximize your time on Parliament Hill. You can see schedules and make reservations on the website here.

Although all the above mentioned things that happen on Parliament Hill are great, I decided to save the best for last. The absolute biggest day on Parliament Hill is Canada Day, July 1st.

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Canada Day is when the entire city comes to Parliament Hill to celebrate The Confederation: the day Canada became a nation, in 1867. People from all across Canada come to Ottawa to celebrate Canada Day on Parliament Hill. Everyone is covered in red and white, the colours of Canada's flag. There is all day programming on Parliament Hill. In the morning there are more formal and ceremonial processions with the Prime Minister and his family, the Governor General of Canada, and many other officials. There are military processions happening, as well as military plane fly-overs with red and white smoke! What a sight! After this, there are concerts, comedy shows, plays, and so, so much more happening all afternoon and all night on Parliament Hill. The headliners, or the most favourite performers, come on in the evening.

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After this, there are amazing, and beautiful fireworks on Parliament Hill. The firework can last anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour. It truly is something worth to see. While the fireworks are going off, the main stage plays the Canadian national anthem, O' Canada. This event really shows you how patriotic Canadians really are. So if you can extend your stay in Ottawa, Canada to include Canada Day, July 1, I suggest you do!

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Safety tip: As we are all aware, there has been a rise in terrorism all over the world. As sad and as frustrating it may be, we cannot deny it. Terrorist attacks are more likely to happen in areas and during events with large crowds of people. There is no guarantee that anything will happen on Canada Day, nor has anything ever happened on Canada Day, on Parliament Hill in the past. If you are planning on attending Canada Day on Parliament Hill, please exercise necessary security cautions. Report anything suspicious to a police officer, as they are everywhere on Canada Day. Do not take things from strangers, and always be aware of your surroundings.

Have fun on Parliament Hill, and enjoy everything the Nation's building has to offer!

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