Long Weekend in Montreal and Ottawa: Part 5 Parliament Hill

We are wrapping up this 3-day long weekend in Ottawa. Gosh, this has been a long drawn out post – over 5 posts so far and there is still one more following this one. But, we’re almost at the end. What can I say about Ottawa? It is the capital city of Canada and home to the Parliament of Canada. It’s about a 4 to 5 hour drive from Toronto. So definitely a perfect long weekend getaway.

This was Cousin Mel’s first visit to Ottawa so we had to make Parliament Hill our first stop. We tried to take the tour but Parliament Hill was closed for maintenance at that time. It’s too bad because it’s a pretty good tour. Oh well, I suppose she’ll have to come back for another visit. I offer you some photos of the outside of Parliament Hill instead. The clock and bell tower in the middle is called the Peace Tower.

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Here’s a view from the base of the Peace Tower. See the gargoyles sticking out?

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What to do but goof around with shots when the tour is unavailable. So, here’s Cousin Mel peeking over the edge.

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At the base of the Peace Tower stands two guards. The first below is a lion with the Union Jack flag flying above its head, representing, of course, England.

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On the other side is a unicorn representing Scotland and France.

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The Centennial Flame

The flame was lighted by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson on the eve of New Year’s Day 1967, to mark the first 100 years of Confederation. The coat-of-arms of the provinces and the territories encircle the flame. Flowers of the provinces and territories, and the dates they joined Confederation are carved on the coping of the fountain.”

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The Library of Parliament

This gem is hidden towards the rear of the Centre Block and it happens to be my favourite part of Parliament Hill. If you know me, that wouldn’t be a huge surprise because of my love for books! Here’s some info from the Parliament of Canada site – “The Library building, designed in the High Victorian Gothic Revival style by Thomas Fuller and Chilion Jones, opened in 1876. Its circular shape and the use of galleries and alcoves were the inspiration of the first Parliamentary Librarian, Alpheus Todd. He recommended that the building be “spacious and lofty” and wisely advised that it be separated from the Centre Block by a corridor to protect it from fire.”

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Since we couldn’t take the tour, here is a photo from Wikimedia Commons of the interior of the library.

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So, as you wander along the rear of Parliament Hill, take a moment and admire the view. Across the Ottawa River is Hull, Quebec. You’ll see the Canadian Museum of Civilization (it’s the series of buildings on the left on the photo below). If you ever get a chance to visit, absolutely do it. I personally loved it and so has everyone I’ve recommended it to.

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The glass building in the photo below is the National Gallery of Canada (Musée des beaux-arts du Canada) located at 380 Sussex Drive. You can walk there from Parliament Hill. I remember when it used to be free. Oh well, there’s now an entrance fee of $12 for adults which is still not bad. This is another one I highly recommend. We didn’t get a chance to see it when we were there, so I think we need to plan another trip to Ottawa.

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This is Louise Bourgeois’ Maman (circa 1999) which stands outside the National Gallery of Canada’s main entrance. It didn’t turn out too bad for a photo taken from a moving car! By the way, all the photos on this post were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S2 phone camera. It’s now considered an old phone but I think it still takes pretty good photos.

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About May Dayao

Carpe diem!
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