Monday, June 6, 2016

Parliament Buildings - Ottawa

Parliament Hill
We visited Ottawa during March Break and had a great time.  I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a short getaway with lots to do for kids and adults.  While we were there we did our patriotic duty and visited Parliament Hill.
The Centennial Flame fountain
One of the best things about Ottawa is that lots of the tourist attractions are free or have free days, including Parliament Hill which offers guided walking tours of the Centre Block year round and tours of the Eastern Block during the summer.  The tours last between 20 - 50 minutes depending on what is in session and are surprisingly interesting for kids.  My kids didn't understand everything the guide said but they know a fancy building when they see one and they always like checking those out.
I swear my daughter did like her tour of the Parliament building although you'd not know it by looking at her here!
My youngest daughter liked the Library and somewhat surprisingly, the Memorial Chamber which commemorates Canadians who have lost their lives in wars, and my oldest daughter liked the Peace Tower which gives a nice view of Ottawa.
Checking out the view from the Peace Tower.
Tours are on a first come first serve basis and can't be booked in advance (unless you are in a group) but you can get them starting at 9:00 a.m.  I suggest going early.  We were there right at 9:00 and we had no trouble getting in and nothing else was open yet anyway.  We did the tour and still made it to the National Gallery of Canada by just after 10:00 a.m. when it opened.    They are only about a 15 minute walk from each other.  I have heard from other people that if you go on a busy day they will run out of tickets so even if you want to go later in the day it might be worth picking up tickets first thing and then going back.
Checking out the library
Things to keep in mind:

  • You do have to go through a security check.  Similar to what you go through at the airport.
  • You can't bring any big bags in with you but they do have a coat/bag check
  • They do have a gift shop.
  • They have special events such as the changing of the guard and fireworks on Canada Day.  

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