One of the interesting features of Ottawa is its architecture and Ottawa has many heritage sites. Parliament Hill with its historical neo-Gothic buildings was an area I wanted to discover in more detail.
The Chateau Laurier, a former railway hotel
Friday night, just after we arrived in town I was able to snap a few pictures, just before the sun went down. Saturday morning I got up and out by 7:30 am and it was a crisp morning, with perfect blue sky. It was definitely on the cold side, not a good idea to venture out without a hat or a thick scarf. So it was going to be a bad hair day again, but who cares….
I started off with the area immediately in front of the Lord Elgin Hotel, which includes the National Arts Center, the Government Conference Centre (the former Union Station, Ottawa’s main railway terminal), the War Memorial and the Chateau Laurier.
The War Memorial with the Chateau Laurier in the background
Then I marched up to Parliament Hill from where you have an absolutely perfect view over to Hull and the Gatineau Hills. I admired the sculptures “ Women are Persons” (referring to women being recognized as their own human beings), and took a number of pictures and video clips of the Parliament Buildings.
Walking up Elgin Street
Parliament Hill is the seat of Canada’s Government and consists of the Centre Block, the West Block and the East Block. The Senate and the House of Commons are also located here. Free tours are generally available every day, except my own discovery was a little bit too early to take the tour.
The East Block
Incidentally Canada’s Parliament Buildings have an interesting history. Lower Canada (today’s Quebec) and Upper Canada (today’s Ontario) joined together to form the Province of Canada in 1841. The seat of government alternated for many years until Queen Victoria was asked to select a permanent capital in 1857.
To the surprise of many, the Queen selected the rough lumber town of Ottawa instead of the established cities of Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City or Kingston. One of the reasons was that Ottawa was close to both provinces and located at a safe distance from the American border.
A peak at the National Gallery of Canada through some ironwork