Ottawa’s Parliament Hill is abuzz with activity any time of year, but the seat of Canadian government really comes alive each summer. In addition to Canada Day celebrations on July 1, the warmer months include the popular Changing of the Guard ceremony each morning (late June through August) and the Northern Lights Sound and Light Show (nightly at sundown, July to September).
Another major happening on Parliament Hill this year is the debut of new tours at the West Block and the Senate of Canada Building. These guided walks replace tours of the Centre Block, which were discontinued at that site because of the decade-long renovation of the historical structure that began in January.
Starting last month, new tours were offered at two sites: West Block, the interim home of the House of Commons, and the Senate of Canada Building, the temporary meeting spot for the Senate. They are available on days when Parliament isn’t sitting, and guests check in at a new visitor center that’s located between West Block and Centre Block.
During the 40-minute walks at West Block, guides offer narrative on the inner workings of the House of Commons and about the history, art and architecture of the newly restored building. Tours at the Senate of Canada Building, which also served for many years as Ottawa’s historical train station, last 30 minutes and detail the role and traditions of Canada’s Upper Chamber.
Top photo: Senate of Canada Building
Photo by Senate of Canada