Parliament Hill Facts

Canada's Democracy

Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill is where Canada and its politicians govern the country and conducts most of its business. It is located in Ottawa, Ontario (Wellington Street). The main buildings on Parliament Hill are: the Centre Block, West Block, East Block, and a few other offices. The Centre Block is the home of the House of Commons and Senate chambers. The main room in the Centre Block is where debates take place and where laws are created. The Senate chamber is also found there.

5:26 mins video of Parliament Hill

  • 1. The current site of Parliament Hill was a military base in the mid-1800s, which was abandoned.
  • 2. The first Parliament buildings on Parliament Hill were built in 1859, but they didn't last because of fire.
  • 3. The Centre Block was built in the 1870s and was meant to be a replica of the British House of Commons. The West Block is where the offices of ministers are situated, along with a library and a reading room for MPs. There are also two dining rooms for MP's and guests in the West Block. It also has an underground vault for records that were destroyed in fire in 1922, and it has tunnels that lead to other buildings on Parliament Hill (notably the Library).
  • 4. The East Block was built in the years 1866-1875. It contains offices for ministers and also houses a dining room and kitchens, as well as a few meeting rooms.
  • 5. The Peace Tower stands at 99 metres tall (328 ft.) on Parliament Hill and was completed in 1927. In the tower are bells that are rung on Victoria Day, Canada's national day.
  • 6. There is an outdoor skating rink set up on Parliament Hill every winter to give children a place to skate so they don't have to go down to the Rideau Canal Skateway, which is popular with adults too for ice skating.
  • 7. The Centre Block was almost burned down in 1916 because of a fire that was started by a window washer.
  • 8. There are paintings of Queen Victoria, the Queen of Canada, and King George VI hanging in House of Commons.
  • 9. There are three main statues on Parliament Hill: "Justice" by sculptor Hamilton Hartland Sise, "Abraham Lincoln" by Henry Leonard O'Donovan, and an unnamed bronze figure for the memory of the fallen men who died in World War I.
  • 10. The war with the United States is not commemorated on Parliament Hill because the government did not want to upset Americans.
  • 11. The government has a plan to build a new central library for the city of Ottawa, which will be put in place of the East Blocks.
  • 12. The Centre Block, West Block, and East Blocks were all built in different styles: Richardsonian Romanesque for the Centre Block, Neoclassical style for the West Block and Second Empire Style for the East Blocks. Each building's interior was also built differently because each one had different functions.