Parliament Hill and Buildings

Parliament Hill and Buildings

Parliament Hill and Buildings
4.5
About
Three Gothic Revival-style buildings, located on a 170-foot bluff overlooking the Ottawa River, house the offices of the members of Parliament, the House of Commons and the Senate. Free guided tours delve into Canadian history and explain the workings of the political system.
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  • Kiwidreamer
    Auckland, New Zealand396 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful Buildings and Space
    This area was close where we were staying so we visited several times and just loved the architecture. We were amazed at how extensive the buildings were. Lots of security around while we were there with roads around it closed most days we were there. Not sure if this is usual or something was going on but we felt very safe there anyway.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written April 17, 2023
  • Bucko007
    Sudbury, Canada639 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Outstanding
    Great tour of the temporary House of Commons. Our guide Hermine was very well informed and answered all our questions. We did the French tour and we were only 3 couples. Nice and quaint. Parliament Hill itself has personnel to help explain the huge hole and updates on the construction. Can't wait to see the finished product. But in the meantime, this is a great temporary site.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written June 3, 2023
  • Dubes13
    Peterborough, United Kingdom29 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Book the free tours in advance
    Parliament building is under renovation until 2032 so at the moment you are unable to go inside. We did take the three tours of the current homes to Parliament and the Senate and the East Block. Definitely book in advance online. The tours are free but get booked up quickly. The Parliament tour was the best, closely followed by the Senate. The guides were knowledgeable and entertaining and there was a lot to see. The East Block tour was supposed to be 50 minutes but was over in 30 and we only saw around five rooms. It was OK if you have a spare half an hour to kill. Definitely check out where the entrances are in plenty of time as they aren't easy to find and you have to be there 25 minutes before to go through stringent security.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written July 21, 2023
  • Mark H
    Fond du Lac, Wisconsin3,007 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The House of Commons tour was great
    We booked our free tour of the House of Commons about a week in advance and we're glad we did. Our guide was an earnest young woman who had her talking points down pat and provided a great overview of how the national legislature works. The House of Commons is in a temporary location while restoration work takes place in its normal home. Do not let that discourage you from doing the tour. The temporary chamber is stunning. It'll be a shame for it disappear a decade from now. We also caught an army regimental pipe and drums performance outside as well at 10 a.m. Not sure it it's every day, but be sure to ask.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 24, 2023
  • Michelle H
    Novi, Michigan256 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    House of Commons Tour Guide Justin is Fantastic!
    Couldn't have asked for a better House of Commons tour guide than Justin! He was enthusiastic, energizing and did a great job explaining how the Canadian government works. We also did the East Block tour, but our guide was not nearly as engaging and the tour was not as interesting. Tip: Reserve your free tours online ahead of time. Tip: Go see the night laser show on Center Block if they are still showing it - interesting depiction of Canada's history.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written August 5, 2023
  • PhotoDudeIII
    Toronto, Canada59 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Don't Overlook the Senate Building Tour
    Over the years, I have toured all the Parliament buildings, and wanted to tour the temporary Senate building for a while. Located in the old railway station building across the street from the Chateau Laurier, they have done a remarkable restoration job. I loved the old Senate chamber in Centre Block (preferring it over the House of Commons), but they did a good job here while the renovations happen in Centre Block. If you enjoyed touring the other buildings, put this on your list. FYI - you have to go through airport-style security to enter the building. And show up early for your online pre-booked tour to go though said security screening.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written August 5, 2023
  • MrsDonnaW
    Blairgowrie, United Kingdom117 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Light show and Military Band
    We didn't do the guided tours of the buildings. We watched the light show, which was spectacular, taking the audience through Canada's history and not shying away from the more negative aspects. We went back the following morning to view the changing of the guard - as we were aware - but essentially it was a military band playing tunes, narrated so you knew what was playing and who wrote it. The Star Wars theme was the highlight for me. How the personnel didn't melt in the heat in their military outfits amazes me. It was around 10am in the morning and it was rather hot.
    Visited July 2023
    Written August 8, 2023
  • KayLee H
    41 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent tour
    I booked in advance to take all three tours (West Block, East Block, Senate) in one morning. The tours were excellent and informative, and I would highly recommend. My one small complaint is that the website strongly advised to leave a certain amount of time between each tour, and that ended up being unnecessary, so we were stuck waiting for almost an hour between each tour, when we easily could have visited the three sites with much less time in between. It is also worth noting that the tours are shorter than the website indicated. West Block was supposed to be 40 minutes, but was over in 30, and East Block was supposed to be 50 minutes, but was also done in 30 minutes. Security to enter is quite stringent. They searched our bags by hand, which included going through wallets. I'd recommend bringing as little as possible with you.
    Visited August 2023
    Written August 10, 2023
  • Linda S
    14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful tours of Parliament Hill!
    We visited the old parliament building, the House of Commons (temporary), and the senate. Our guides, in order, were Matthew, Haley, and Sasha. All three were wonderful. We’re from the U.S., so we don’t totally understand the parliamentary system of government. Our guides changed that! They were so knowledgeable and also patient with everyone who had questions. I recommend these tours to all Ottawa visitors! Another nice part of the visit to Parliament Hill is the 10:00 military band performance. The band wear the bright red uniforms that are very similar to British uniforms. It is a wonderful opportunity to hear great music!
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written September 21, 2023
  • nwaynesworld
    1,859 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Parliament Hill
    The Parliament of Canada comprises three buildings, East Block, West Block and Centre Block or Parliament Hill. Centre Block is under construction until 2031. As a result, a temporary Parliament has been constructed within West Block. A free tour of the temporary Parliament is available; however, you must obtain your ticket in advance (online). Arrive before you tour time as you must pass through a security check. The tour lasts just over an hour. Our tour guide, Kennedy, was very knowledgeable. Kennedy was well spoken and very professional. Photographs are permitted inside and around the outside of the buildings. The building has stairs and elevators. In addition, there is a gift shop.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written October 7, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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mabellejee
Mount Vernon, IL139 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
Book a tour to see how Canadian Parliament operates. Currently being held in West Block as they complete major renovations on Centre Block, Guide was informative. The newly created structure was beautiful and so many aspects to take in. For free, this tour was appreciated by all of my family. A win!
Written March 31, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Helen E
London, UK59 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
We booked a tour of the House of Commons (West Block), online several weeks in advance, but unfortunately had to cancel the day before the tour due to sickness (see my review of Zak’s diner in the Byward market). The cancellation process was very easy- just a phone call. During the call I was told not to worry about rebooking because additional tickets always become available overnight. Sure enough at 8:00 am on the day we decided to go, there were four places available for each time slot. Again, the online booking process was easy. When we finally did the tour we were well-rewarded. It was simple, straightforward, informative and definitely worth the time investment!
Written March 12, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bea
703 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
Wonderful complex of Gothic revival buildings situated on the southern banks of the Ottawa River. it is a place where Canada's federal government is located.
Peace Tower is absolutely amazing. The bronze clock was crafted in its present form in 1879.
All is situated on a beautiful, well-taken of ground.
Written December 11, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brenda S
Winnipeg, Canada108 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
We saw the awesome Winter display on the parliament buildings (Ottawa) in December last year (2022). . Sadly there were none this year (December 2023)….pity…it really was something too see.
Written December 9, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PhilipLeic
Leicester, UK1,542 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Family
We did a tour of the senate but had a lot of difficulty understanding where the entrance was and how to access the tour. There is signage but totally confusing, not only to us but to others we met also having difficulty. The actual tour was interesting and informative. It was also confusing as there were signs saying no photographs inside but our guide said it was no problem taking them? There are three tours that can be done all free but must be booked in advance due to security.
Written December 2, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PookyCake
Victoria, Canada13,892 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Couples
I don’t know why, but “Parliament Hill and Buildings” seems like such a lazy TripAdvisor entry akin to “Vancouver Downtown” or “The Strip.” I guess it’s just because so much is encompassed in entries like these – it almost feels counterproductive to try and describe them in very few words exactly because you know your descriptions will be inadequate . . . like stones skipping across the water: Moving quickly, but leaving a lot out. Nevertheless, I’ll give “Parliament Hill and Buildings” the old college try.

“The Hill,” as it is colloquially known, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1976. The major buildings that make up the site – East Block, Centre Block, West Block and Library – have been recognized as such because of their Gothic-Revival architectural style: The copper roofs, sandstone, symmetrical features, stained-glass work (Centre Block), and gargoyles all highlight a style that is at once common in Canadian government institutions (Provincial) yet unique (relationship of the buildings to the land that surrounds it). The architecture is second-to-none and is synonymous with the country, whether you’re into politics or not. In this regard, the Centre Block; or, Peace Tower, is often our focus. We see it on our old paper currency and, famously, on the Loonie. Indeed, the symbolism of government, of country, runs thick throughout The Hill.

As someone who’s spent many a year in university studying our Westminster system of government, it was almost surreal to finally amble about the grounds where our laws are made and our elected representatives sit. Okay, the external grounds. I did not actually enter any of the buildings, but it was still a rich experience: The Peace Tower is awe-inspiring (even with the ugly construction equipment surrounding it); the historic East Block looks impressive; and the West Block – home of the temporary House of Commons until 2030-31 – beckons and calls to those political science nerds like myself. No longer was Parliament Hill just pictures in a textbook – it was real.

While I didn’t walk through the hallowed halls on Parliament Hill, the periphery proved to be just as rich, if not more so. The 20+ monuments and statues that dot The Hill provide the keen observer with a fairly comprehensive political and social history lesson: The Victoria Tower Bell is a physical link to the original Parliament Building and the fire that brought it crumbling down (see my earlier review on this site); the statue of Queen Victoria pays homage to our first monarch and her role in assisting the fledgling country (again, see my earlier review); the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald needs no explanation, though I am surprised it’s still standing given recent retroactive outrage to some of his policies; and, the Centennial Flame celebrates Canada’s centennial year and beyond. There are, of course, a host of other monuments around the grounds – to other Prime Ministers and major events – but you get the picture. It’s easy for one to spend hours exploring the physical and symbolic heart of our Nation!

And, hey, if you want to protest, feel free! There were a few quiet protests about random things back in May and there are many protests ongoing due to current world events. Indeed, it is truly a wonderful thing to live in a free and democratic society.

Whether you’re just in it for the architecture, or you want to learn more about our government, Parliament Hill is a “must visit” site in Ottawa for a plethora of reasons! Enjoy!
Written November 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

spud0018
Mississauga, Canada813 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Family
Interesting and very organized tours. There are 3 different free tours. We were able to attend both the Senate and West Block tours. Wish there were better instructions on the website for where you're supposed to go for the tours - ended up asking Parliamentary Security agent. Neat to see the architecture of the spaces where they have now housed the Senate and House of Commons temporarily. Make sure you book tours on-line. You need to show up early for your tours to go through a security checkpoint.
Written November 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dimitris L
Sydney, Australia45,568 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
We visited the Parliament buildings and were pleasantly surprised by the lovely architecture. There are several buildings on "the Hill", but pre-booking is required in order to enter and tour any of them. As we were in Ottawa only for one day we missed out!
Written October 11, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SonnySY
Vancouver, Canada17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
Good walking tour of the capital. Parking around the area is rather difficult with lots of one way streets. Overall, a great walk. Parliamentary building is undergoing upgrades. Tour inside the buildings are limited and must be booked ahead
Written October 9, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nwaynesworld
Nova Scotia1,859 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Friends
The Parliament of Canada comprises three buildings, East Block, West Block and Centre Block or Parliament Hill. Centre Block is under construction until 2031. As a result, a temporary Parliament has been constructed within West Block. A free tour of the temporary Parliament is available; however, you must obtain your ticket in advance (online). Arrive before you tour time as you must pass through a security check. The tour lasts just over an hour. Our tour guide, Kennedy, was very knowledgeable. Kennedy was well spoken and very professional. Photographs are permitted inside and around the outside of the buildings. The building has stairs and elevators. In addition, there is a gift shop.
Written October 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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